The Platform10 Global Partner Network Review in Perth

The Platform10 Global Partner Network Review in Perth

Yesterday, Wharf42 was pleased to host the first Platform10 Global Partner Network review in Perth, Western Australia.

On the eve of the 2024 evokeAG conference, we were delighted to be joined by Dennis Donohue & Jeana Cadby of Western Growers, together with biologicals doyen, Pam Marrone. We were also delighted to be joined by a stellar group of invited stakeholders from both Australia & New Zealand. Their time, inputs and observations were very much appreciated.

The session kicked off with a live ZOOM presentation by California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary, Karen Ross. Karen is an awesome supporter of Platform10 and we really appreciated her spending part of her Sunday evening with the group in Perth. The joys of time-zones! Pam Maronne then provided an insightful 15 minute presentation covering some of the most significant current trends in the world of biologicals. It was fascinating to see so many moving parts and the significant role that Platform10 had to play.

It was then the turn of Dennis & Jeana to provide an overview of the Platform10 model. This included an update on the recent recruitment of 10 biopesticide companies and growers to the first US-based Platform10 cohort. This provided something of a template for future international engagement.

Following a short break, the delegates attending then provided their own thoughts and insights around the development of the Global Partner Network. These included important contributions around:

  • the efficacy and importance of robust field trials
  • the recruitment of an International Advisory Board
  • the recognition of the need to engage growers, their advisors and regulators in the process
  • the opportunity to leverage existing programs in Australia and New Zealand that support investigating alternative inputs

With plans for the launch of the Platform10 Global Partner Network slated for the 2024 Salinas Biological Summit (25-26 June), the contributions made at the session were invaluable. We’ll be maintaining the engagements started today to ensure that the vision and purpose of the Network is realised in Salinas.

It was a great start to what will be an epic two days of conversations and networking at evokeAG.

Platform10 launched at the Organic Growers Summit in Monterey

Platform10 launched at the Organic Growers Summit in Monterey

I was delighted to join Dennis Donohue and Jeana Calby of Western Growers for the formal launch of Platform10 at the Organic Growers Summit in Monterey, California, last week.

Platform10 is an international, multi-year collaboration that will accelerate promising biopesticide companies, rigorously assess products, enhance grower confidence, and facilitate market development and adoption.

Growers are up against mounting pest and disease challenges due to climate change, reduced efficacy, and diminishing availability of traditional pest control tools. The specialty crop industry in particular requires new crop input technologies due to governmental regulations and consumer demands. Bio-based and novel pest control options to address existing and anticipated gaps in pest management are sorely needed to ensure that our growers are properly equipped with the tools to address these challenges.

In Monterey, we had the opportunity to meet and speak to a number of growers. The response we got to the purpose of Platform10 was overwhelmingly positive. It clearly meets a very defined need. Wharf42 looks forward to helping develop this program through 2024 as we take the lead in building Platform10’s Global Partner Network to be launched at the 2024 Salinas Biological Summit in June.

It’s an awesome initiative and an awesome opportunity!

Inside the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center today

Inside the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center today

As Dennis Donohue & I continue our 2023 Salinas Biological Summit grower tour, it’s great to spend some time in the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center in Salinas. It’s Wharf42’s ‘soft AgriFoodTech landing pad’ in the US. And with long-time friend, Dennis being the Center’s Director, it’s a bit of a no-brainer!

Based in the Taylor Building at 150 Main Street, Salinas, the Center is also the preferred landing pad for many of the world’s most exciting early stage AgriFoodTech companies. You can view some of the awesome start-up tenants at Innovators | Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology ( 

18 months ago, the Center established a Global Advisory Board and I’m a proud member. Its purpose is to analyse grower challenges and then identify global solutions that might be able to address them. There is a of course a flip side to this purpose.; the Global Advisory Board is able to identify international challenges and apply a global lens to them. The 2023 Salinas Biological Summit is a great example of this. This is not just a California challenge. Or a California opportunity.

As we work our way across the State, it’s hard to under-estimate the size of this particular specialty crop market and the opportunity it offers early stage international AgriFoodTech start-ups to scale.

The price of failure however can be fatal. Opportunity v Risk.

To support its international tenants and assist de-risk ‘the risk’, the Center is developing a Grower Trial Network. This will provide access to WG grower properties to enable global Center tenants to test their AgriFoodTech solutions. What works in the Waikato, the Adelaide Hills or the UK Fens, doesn’t necessarily work in Central or Salinas Valley. Trial your tech first. Develop a case study. Your local grower will become your best friend and greatest reference source.

Over the coming weeks, the Center will be putting the plans in place to help launch the Network. We’ll share details across this site.

It’s great to be back at 150 Main Street. It’s been too long.