Recap: Space, Food, and Imagination

How can solving for food challenges on Earth and solving for those challenges as humans venture further and further into space benefit us all? Quite a bit, as people found out at Space for Food’s Space, Food, and Imagination event held on April 13th.


At this event, presented by the Yield Lab Institute and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, experts from over a dozen organizations and institutions shared their work in areas like:

  • Controlled environment agriculture - a world class research facility and a automated garden at the South Pole that informs how we’ll produce food on Mars and our Moon

  • Food geographies - how food innovations and trends spread on Earth and as we venture into space

  • Microbial opportunities - we don’t have to raise animals or large plants when bacteria, funghi, and algae can perform many of the same functions

  • Technological development - how researchers, entrepreneurs, funders, and regulators are developing these technologies step by step


Highlights included:

  • Thoughtstarter sessions to inspire innovation and collaboration, with lightning talks by experts in food, space, and ag to inspire innovators around 4 themes:

Food as System and Experience - How can we ensure the newest food tech makes the greatest impact for individuals and us all?

Measured Progress for Food System Development on Earth and Space - How will stakeholders and investors measurably drive progress toward scale?

  • See the lightning talks by:

  • Lightning Talk - Cynthia Bouthot of Space Commerce Matters

  • Marni Karlin of CEA Food Safety Coalition (note: due to production issues, Marni was not able to join us)

  • Lightning Talk - Tom Laurita - Director of Entrepreneurship at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Co-Founder of New Leaf Symbiotics

  • Post lightning talk discussion coming soon!

Microbial opportunities on Earth and Beyond - Whether in space or on Earth, microbiology offers enormous potential as a food source, to remediate waste and unproductive soil, and to maintain a healthy living environment. What potential is waiting to be tapped?

Systems for Life on Earth and Space - What does the tech and infrastructure look like to make living and food possible wherever humans go?


  • A strategic panel discussion with agriculture, space, food, and investment experts on where this is all going featuring Cynthia Bouthot of Space Commerce Matters, Ganesh “Kish” Kishore of Spruce Capital, J.D. Rossouw, SVP and Head of Vegetables R&D at Bayer Crop Science and Thad Simons of Yield Lab Institute.

  • Speed networking, where people deep in these areas or just entering them could meet and talk in a safe and efficient virtual way


The conversations were great and led to new collaboration opportunities. Thanks to our presenters and all who joined us and made the event a success!


Thanks also especially to our supporters - without you we couldn’t support such a great emerging ecosystem!


Don’t miss our next event - there’s even more on May 4:

  • 8 new thoughtstarter sessions with over 20 additional experts in space, food, ag, and circular growing economies

  • An expo of exciting innovators and research teams in future food systems (click here to learn how to be included) and resources supporting them

  • Details on how high school or college (2 year, tech, and 4 year welcome) students can form or join a Space for Food student hackathon team, collaborating with students and experts from all over the world

  • A town hall to share what you think Space for Food can do to support emerging innovators in cellular ag, microbial ag, controlled environment growing, and all the enabling tech to make it all work together


Register here now - the May 4th virtual event is free!