Adelaide announced as host city for evokeAG. 2023

Adelaide announced as host city for evokeAG. 2023

Following on from the success of two sell-out events in 2019 and 2020, evokeAG. organiser AgriFutures Australia, today announced Adelaide as the host city for the internationally acclaimed agrifood tech event slated for 21-22 February 2023 in South Australia.

From the AgriFutures Media Release:

Off the back of the cancellation, announced yesterday, of evokeAG. 2021 and 2022 events (Perth and Sydney), AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey, believes next year’s event will play an even more crucial role in powering globally relevant conversations within the agrifood tech ecosystem.

“The disruptive impact of the pandemic has highlighted serious shortfalls in our food security systems. There is an increasing sense of urgency around how we engage in global conversations, mitigate risk to our supply chain and challenge the conventions of what we grow, how we grow it and what we eat. Balance this with an extremely productive Australian agricultural landscape including big yields, and all-time high prices, the evokeAG. 2023 event brings together a collision of opportunities and challenges with the best local and global minds to solve some of these issues,” said Mr Harvey.

The View from Tauranga:

Whilst I was deeply disappointed by the cancellation of the planned 2022 evokeAG conferences in Perth & Sydney, I am delighted by today’s announcement around the appointment of Adelaide as host city in 2023.

I have a particular interest. Back in October, I was the keynote speaker at South Australia’s AdvanceAG conference. I had hoped to attend in person, but unfortunately because of closed borders could only present virtually. It was a strange experience speaking to 500 delegates for ½ hour from my home office in Tauranga. Next February, I’ll have no such excuse and both Jacqui and I are already looking forward to meeting and engaging with so many of the folk connected with post-AdvanceAG.

For some additional context: Back in October 2020, the Government of South Australia released the ‘South Australia AgTech Strategic Plan’. It was a significant piece of work and a number of its recommendations resonated. I recognised that it had brought together different stakeholders including producers, government, research, industry and startups. It was as close as I have seen to the original intent of New Zealand’s own Agritech Industry Transformation Plan. It has seen the State’s agritech ecosystem emerge as one of the most connected across all of Australia. The selection of Adelaide as next year’s evokeAG host city is well deserved.

For more details about the 2023 programme and speakers, check out the evokeAG conference website at

Building a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework with purpose

Building a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework with purpose

It was great to be able to share the news today that AgriFutures Australia and Wharf42 were announcing a new collaboration to enable New Zealand & Australian innovators, researchers and farmers to come together to lead on climate action. A key driver behind this announcement was the joint ambition to build a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework that has purpose. Think ‘moving the dial’, rather than creating just another talk-fest.

As farmers and growers around the world face the increasingly existential impact of a rapidly changing climate, building a strong collaborative framework among key stakeholder groups across the Oceania region has become ever more critical. Next year’s 2035 Oceania Summit is designed to do that and today’s announcement both supercharges that opportunity and heralds a significant new era for trans-Tasman collaboration in the global AgriFoodTech space.

This is today’s announcement from AgriFutures evokeAG

2 SEPTEMBER 2021: ‘evokeAG. is proud to announce a new collaboration with the inaugural 2035 Oceania Summit taking place in Auckland on 26-27 April 2022.

With a focus on climate and sustainability, the 2035 Oceania Summit will offer a wonderful opportunity for Australian and New Zealand innovators, researchers and farmers to come together to lead climate action.

In 2022, we want to connect, collaborate and drive action across the Tasman to support farmers in continuing to be leaders in natural resource management. Through evokeAG. Perth (Feb, 2022), evokeAG. Sydney (March, 2022), and the 2035 Oceania Summit, Auckland (April, 2022), we hope to bring these important conversations and innovation to the forefront’.

BREAKING: Read today’s headline story on the evokeAG portal; Trans-Tasman collaboration driving global innovation and action in 2022. Wise words from John Harvey, Managing Director, AgriFutures Australia.

At the September 2019 Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum meeting in Auckland, I had the opportunity to connect with partners in both Australia & New Zealand to establish the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council. Over the past two years, we have continued to develop that relationship. As part of the continuing drive to increase opportunities for joint collaboration, earlier this year, Agritech New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Agritech Association.

The main purpose behind this work has been to position the region as a truly significant global AgriFoodTech hub. Next year’s 2035 Oceania Summit adds a whole new dimension to that purpose. By showcasing the region’s agrifood and climate-related tech research and innovation capability, we intend to support farmers and growers worldwide reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, as well as build more resilient growing systems to address the ongoing impact of a rapidly changing climate.

With a very significant delegation of Australian innovators, researchers, producers, investors and policy-makers now expected in Auckland next April, Wharf42 looks forward to working with the team at AgriFuture’s evokeAG as we build a significant programme of activity in advance of next year’s major trans-Tasman events.

growAG, the Australian agrifood innovation research portal, is now live

growAG, the Australian agrifood innovation research portal, is now live

AgriFutures Australia growAG portal has gone live today at

As a member of the growAG steering committee, it’s great to see the hard work that has been undertaken by the team at AgriFutures over the past 18 months, finally come to fruition. The portal provides global agribusinesses, researchers, innovators and investors with a detailed view of the extensive agricultural research being undertaken by the 15 Australian RDCs (Rural Research & Development Corporations).

As a platform that provides external parties with unrivaled access to real-time commercial and collaborative research opportunity, I believe that growAG has hit the mark. For me, the experience has provided an invaluable opportunity to gain both an understanding and an insight into the Australian agrifood research and innovation landscape.

For everyone involved in this project, the next few months will demonstrate just how effective this model is for providing commercialisation input into the research process. If you want to learn more about growAG and the opportunity it is creating, check out the short video below:



Check out the new look evokeAG portal. Looking for NZ agritech content!

Check out the new look evokeAG portal. Looking for NZ agritech content!

  AgriFutures Australia has just launched its new look evokeAG portal at

I’m excited! As a member of the evokeAG steering committee, it’s great to see how the ‘product’ is developing.

We should of course, have been packing our bags for the 2021 evokeAG conference in Perth next month. COVID kicked that into touch, postponing the conference until February 2022 and so it was important that the impact generated by the first two conferences in Melbourne was maintained. 2 years between events is a long time.

The decision was taken last year to build the evokeAG portal to provide round the year coverage of agritech events taking place in Australia, New Zealand and our Pacific Island neighbours. The conferences will still take place, but the two days will now be supported by 365/24 real-time updates.

The portal is packed with interesting content. You can read about it, watch it or just listen to it. It has a BIG audience and the plan is to socialise its existence to an even larger global market.

One of AgriFutures Australia’s key dynamics has always been to support the trans-Tasman opportunity. It was reflected in the two conferences in Melbourne and has been reinforced in the new portal.

So this is the ASK. If you are a New Zealand agritech business or research organisation and have a great story to tell, please share it. I spoke to the team at AgriFutures this morning and they are keen to learn more about key developments and interesting stories on this side of the Tasman.

To find out more, visit

If you want to spread your word so that people in the wider community can learn about your story, the evokeAG portal is now open for business. If you want any advice about the next steps, please just drop me a note via our Contact page.

If you want to learn more about the ongoing development of the Wharf42 Insights Programme and other initiatives currently being kept under wraps, please sign up for our free Monthly Newsletter


Introducing growAG and the commercialisation of publicly-funded agri-focused research

Introducing growAG and the commercialisation of publicly-funded agri-focused research

For the past three years, I’ve sat on the evokeAG steering committee. A product of AgriFutures Australia, the team successfully hosted two significant events in 2019 and 2020 in Melbourne. Over 200 kiwis attended evokeAG and but for COVID, we’d be heading to Perth in 2021.

The pandemic and closed borders have meant a delay. Perth and sadly, the Little Creatures brewery in Fremantle, will now have to wait until February 2022. The evokeAG brand and network meanwhile continues to grow.

At evokeAG 2019, Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud made reference to a nascent initiative called growAG. During COVID lockdown, growAG grew (pardon the pun). Once again, AgriFutures Australia asked me if I would join its steering committee to be part of the conversation.

As context, growAG is a powerful online innovation marketplace for Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and other research organisations and inventors to ‘list’ technologies and attract investment and commercialisation partners from around the world. growAG provides a one-stop-shop for the private sector in Australia, and from around the world, to connect to the RDCs and other researcher organisations in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

The timing is significant. In New Zealand, the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) has ‘Commercialisation’ as one of its key workstreams. The Plan says, and I quote, ‘New Zealand’s significant investments into agritech R&D are not resulting in a significant flow of companies and product spin-outs. More work is needed to increase our understanding of commercialisation of research, and ensure our world-class research is well utilised and exploited’. The Plan goes onto say; ‘There is currently IP in research institutes that has the potential for commercial value. This IP may not have been commercialised due to a number of reasons including undervaluing or overvaluing the IP; lack of effective mechanisms for researchers to transition into and/or back out of a new business; lack of effective commercialisation partners and/or business models’.

The similarity between some of the outcomes sought in the Plan and growAG are striking. Both Australia and New Zealand have world-leading science and research capability. Our ability however to commercialise the valuable outcomes and IP generated has, in my view, fallen well short of the opportunity that could have been generated. It’s a challenge both countries are addressing. By talking to each other, it’s one more metric that could assist both the region and each country develop an effective and long-term solution designed to take great science and light up the agrifood sector. I’m delighted to be able to contribute to the growAG discussion.

If you want to learn more about the ongoing development of the Wharf42 Insights Programme and other initiatives currently being kept under wraps, please sign up for our free Monthly Newsletter.

Introducing AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship

Introducing AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship

Last night, I was invited to take part in an online networking session with 35 Horizon Scholars.

For some context, since 2011, the Horizon Scholarship Program has been integral in developing and supporting the next generation of ag leaders, game changers and thought makers of Australian agriculture. The program takes the best and brightest university students from across the country and provides them with financial support along with significant opportunities for personal development, growth and networking opportunities.

A key component of the Program traditionally is its annual four-day workshop covering a range of topics including;

  • Emerging food industries
  • Understanding the Australian agricultural landscape.
  • Innovation & agritech
  • Community Trust
  • Industry networking

This year, COVID-19 meant that the program has had to pivot to virtual. There was a second novel addition to this year’s agenda.

  • Understanding the New Zealand agritech landscape and the opportunity for trans-Tasman collaboration.

This is where I came in. Over ZOOM, my sessions were based on a speed networking model where I met 1 – 2 Horizon Scholars at a time in a virtual breakout room. There were multiple rounds of networking, together thankfully with breaks. Given the different time zones, it was a long night. There was no set agenda for each session. Rather an opportunity for the Scholars to ask me questions, explore new avenues and expand their networks.

Thanks to Georgina at AgriFutures for inviting me to take part. It was great to meet such inspiring young ag leaders. To my cohort; Anna, Sacha, Matt, Julia & Andrew, I look forward to staying in contact. The conversations were as informative to me as I hope they were to the Scholars.

In the words of my colleagues in the US. ‘Good job’!

If you want to learn more about the ongoing development of the Wharf42 Insights Programme and other initiatives currently being kept under wraps, please sign up for our free Monthly Newsletter.