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Connecting the value-added supply chain from farm to foodtech

Companies engage in biodiverse and sustainable plant-based food production with real transparency and direct market access.

Photo of Michael Chapman
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Fieldcraft, Inc.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Buyers (Brands, Manufacturers, Foodservice, Retail Chains) Suppliers (Processors, Millers, Manufacturers, Importers, Foodtech Companies) Growers (Farms, Grower Groups, Cooperatives) Partners (Colleges and Universities, Agricultural Agencies, Farmer Organizations)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

fieldcraft.com

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Austin

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Texas

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We launched Fieldcraft in Texas because of the diversity of crops grown here and its role as a significant hub for food production and manufacturing. Plus, local colleges and universities are playing a major role in the development of disease- and drought-resistant seed varieties. Fieldcraft is based in Austin which is located in Central Texas.

Texas has a large entrepreneurial community and is known for leading innovation in agriculture and food production.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Texas farmers and ranchers plant nearly 8 million acres of small grains annually, which include wheat, oats, barley, rye, triticale as well as rice. Texans also grow pulse crops including dry beans, lentils and peas. In addition, there are thousands of produce farms and fruit, olive and pecan orchards.

Austin, in particular, lies at the intersection of food and technology. Five of the top 15 most populated cities in the United States are in Texas, which includes Austin.

Applicants to the Food System Vision Prize were encouraged to be bold and imaginative and to push past current day constraints. We believe limiting all food system visions to 100,000km2 is a constraint to finding realistic and attainable visions for 2050.

We chose ingredients because they are generally non-perishable commodities that enable growers and suppliers to access new markets, local or otherwise. The larger problem we are focusing on is that more than half of all cropland in the United States is covered in corn and soybeans, the vast majority of which are not intended for humans. This is a model that is being exported to other parts of the world. We do not expect a triple-digit increase in demand for fresh produce or expensive products. This is why we built a marketplace for ingredients. Rice can move from Southeast Texas to a flour miller in Austin or a plant-based protein manufacturer in Forth Worth. These suppliers sell ingredients to brands, manufacturers and other end-users in Texas, who now have more efficient access to more affordable ingredients.

Our vision must make a significant impact by 2050. Otherwise, our vision wouldn't be bold. This requires growing markets that reflect the realities of global demand. Otherwise, our vision wouldn't be sustainable.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

695662

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

29000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Before Fieldcraft, our co-founders set out to create a food brand. That journey eventually led us to the behemoth of agriculture—feed.

Sourcing was important for our brand. For months, we talked with farmers, assessed production methods and looked into feed conversion ratios.

Livestock consume much more than they produce. Two crops—corn and soybeans—take up more than half of all harvested cropland in the United States. We use well over 80 million acres just to keep the animals moving. By comparison, food waste from fresh vegetables is less than a two million acre problem.

At the same time, we met innovative farmers who were changing markets. Years of depressed commodity prices have given farms more reason to diversify. A growing number are adding value and selling ingredients. They’re also marketing their operation differently than the past, and we’re in the midst of the largest generational transfer of farmland in history.

This challenges will continue over the next 30 years. Commodity markets are established, specialty markets are fragmented. Information about markets, opportunities and resources is limited or nonexistent. This leads to disconnects between supply and demand resulting in lost opportunities across the supply chain.

Growing more diverse crops reduces pest and weed pressure, thereby reducing reliance on chemical crop protection, builds organic matter and helps reduce erosion. However, growers will need a market before they plant or an efficient marketplace with sufficient demand after, and ideally both.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Fieldcraft is an ingredient marketplace connecting buyers, suppliers and growers. We're building a single platform for food and beverage production and simplifying sourcing from farm to foodtech.

Fieldcraft makes it easier for buyers to discover ingredients and collaborate with suppliers and growers transparently and efficiently, while enabling them to innovate faster and differentiate easier.

Suppliers on Fieldcraft offer ingredients made from over 3,000 crops. Our platform gives them greater access to diverse markets, while saving them time and money and improving the sourcing experience for their customers. Suppliers also get direct access to growers and new opportunities to diversify.

On Fieldcraft, growers can secure a market before they plant, attract more buyers before they harvest and sell their surplus in the marketplace, helping them capture more profit per acre while reducing food waste. Growers also sell their value-added ingredients directly to buyers.

Fieldcraft works to connect a network of disparate parties and diverse market channels that are not always aligned. Across the supply chain, innovators are differentiating by creating products that promote health, environment, worker and animal welfare, biodiversity and transparency.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

People will be connected and markets will be more efficient, enabling companies to engage in biodiverse and sustainable plant-based food production with real transparency and direct market access, while meeting the evolving demands of a diverse and growing population.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Environment: Growers are willing to plant more diverse crops but there has to be a market first. Making growers more accessible to buyers enables both to collaborate, grow and create innovative ingredients for the market, enhancing biodiversity and improving grower economics. Moreover, many crops that are gaining in popularity are environmentally beneficial. For instance, pulses offer growers an alternative to cultivated fallow fields, reducing erosion, building organic matter, saving soil moisture and providing natural nitrogen fertilizer for follow-on crops.

Diets: More diversified fields means more diversified diets. Corn and soybeans take up more than half of all harvested cropland in the United States in large part due to the Standard American Diet. However, new food and beverage companies continue to take billions of dollars in market share from larger companies by moving away from government-led commodity systems. The result has been an increase in healthier options with the convenience of a product.

Economics: Food and agriculture will become desirable and profitable career choices, led by demand from consumers for nutritious, culturally diverse and sustainable options. Years of depressed commodity prices have given farms more reason to diversify. A growing number are adding value and selling ingredients in order to capture greater profit margin which increases agricultural resilience.

Culture: Domestic will be the new import. As the demographics in Texas continue to diversify, its residents will have greater access to regional foods, preserving global food culture locally. Much of these crops can be grown in Texas which will continue to foster innovation by food and beverage companies. This also ties into farmer economics and agriculture as a viable career, and the transition to the next generation of farmers.

Technology: First, in the digital age, markets become more efficient and inclusive. Second, food technology continues to evolve thereby enhancing entrepreneurial innovation and expanding consumer choice. Finally, as greater scale is achieved, food costs will be reduced.

Policy: Global trade and its intrinsic risks, as well as deleterious health effects of the Standard American Diet, will pit agricultural subsidies against market realities. By democratizing markets, we will reduce our reliance on government intervention.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Constanza Castano
Team

Hi, Michael Chapman ! Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!

Thank you for sharing Fieldcraft with us. Because envisioning a global food system is a massive undertaking, the Food System Vision Prize is focused on reimagining food systems on a smaller scale. We’re calling that area a Place. Otherwise, it may not remain very context-specific but become a generic idea. To make sure you Vision is systems-focused and community-centered enough I suggest you pick a place not more than 100,000km2. Texas land area is almost 700,000 km2.

You can update your submission at any time until January 31st.

Remember, this is the moment when you can connect with other Visionary teams, provide feedback and get inspired by other submissions.

I look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming days.

Best,

Constanza

Spam
Photo of Constanza Castano
Team

Hi Michael Chapman ,

Yours is a very valid point of view and should be included in your submission to give more clarity to the judges. Although the award guidelines suggest this specific area, I invite you to express and justify your disagreement to share it with the Food System Vision Prize Community.

Make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision.

Here is the link to the pocket guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o8WGMus6-V8GywWdlNwmCpk7I1fMVzcQ/view

I look forward to seeing your submission updated to satisfaction by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST.

Warm regards,

Constanza

Spam
Photo of Constanza Castano
Team

Way to go, Michael Chapman !
All the very best for the Prize,
Constanza

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