Listen to Austin 360 Radio

SXSW Eats: Food panels at South by Southwest Interactive 2014

Addie Broyles

South by Southwest Interactive starts next week, which means I’m almost late on my annual roundup of all the food panels that will take place over the course of the five-day conference.

The short of it? This year’s theme seems to be how to feed billions of people with some combination of agriculture, robots, highly processed foods and 3D printers.

And now, the nitty gritty of each panel. I’ll be attending as many of these as I can and posting recaps both here and on Digital Savant.

DIY App & eBook Publishing: A Live Demonstration

9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 8 // Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABCD, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. #diypub founder Babette Pepaj and media strategist Erik Deutsch will present a live demonstration of how to publish your own book by creating a crowdsourced (aka community) cookbook in front of the audience. At the conclusion of the session, the book will be available as a free download.

Pixels, Plows & Personas: The UX of Food Deserts

11 a.m. Saturday, March 8 // Austin Convention Center, Ballroom E, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.


Author Kel Smith will address how technology with a focus on “user-centered design,” including mobile apps and “virtual grocery stores,” can improve access to food in areas without many options for buying food.

AgriTech’s Promise: Food For 10 Billion and Beyond

11 a.m. Saturday, March 8 // Blackheart, 86 Rainey St. #AgriTech

Pretty soon, the world will have more than 10 billion people, and no one is exactly sure how we’re going to feed everyone. MIT CityFarm’s Caleb Harper and AgriPak founder Mohammad Jhaveri will talk about innovations in agritech, including precision agriculture, the use of satellite imaging, big data and urban agriculture.

Sous Vide in the City: How Digital Dining Feeds Us 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8 // Blackheart, 86 Rainey St. #SousVide

In this session, I’ll be talking with Austin food entrepreneurs including Andy Potter of Austin Eats Food Tour and Brian Bordainick of Dinner Lab about how consumers are using technology to seek out new food experiences, and how businesses, including restaurants, are also using social media and other technologies to serve more than dinner on a plate.

DIY: The New Culinary Movement

2 p.m. Saturday, March 8 // Blackheart, 86 Rainey St.

Austin chefs Paul Qui and Ned Elliott will explain how the culinary industry has changed now that diners have access to more restaurants and food information than ever before.

Unbranded: Whole Foods and Mission-Driven Docs

2 p.m. Saturday, March 8 // Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.


A trio of producers from Whole Foods Market will explain the evolution of and mission behind Dark Rye, the James Beard Award-winning digital magazine that through unbranded content that celebrates the people behind the products sold at the Austin-based grocer’s many stores around the country.

Straight to the Source: From Farm to Table

3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8 // Blackheart, 86 Rainey St.

Sam Hellman-Mass, chef and partner at Odd Duck & Barley Swine, and Megan Giller from Zagat talk about where ingredients come from and why it matters how restaurants communicate that to diners.

How the DIY Movement Is Reinventing America

3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8 // Omni Downtown Longhorn, 700 San Jacinto Blvd. #DIYAmerica

The do-it-yourself movement isn’t new, but how is it evolving and why does it continue to matter? Panelists Alice Brooks of Roominate, VentureBeat editor-in-chief Dylan Tweney, inventor/entertainer Eric Gradman of Two Bit Circus and Mitch Altman of Conrfield Electronics will explain why maker ethos is part of what it means to be an American.

Geek Up: Wine Meets Tech

3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 8 // Proof Annex, 711 E. Sixth St. #GeekUp

Master Sommelier Craig Collins of ELM Restaurant Group in Austin and April Wright Collins are hosting what will surely be a popular meet-up for anyone with even a passing interest in wine.

Food + Tech Meet Up

3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9 // Proof Annex, 711 E. Sixth St. #sxfoodtech

Austin marketing maven Sharon Mays is hosting this food and technology meet-up, which will provide a space for SXSW attendees to talk about some of the hot button issues of the conference, including robots as line cooks and crowdfunded restaurants.

The Future of Food Processing 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9 // Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H, 500 E. Fourth St. #foodtech

We often vilify processed foods, but how can we use technology to improve the quality and nutritional value of food over its natural form? A handful of panelists, including Andras Forgacs of Modern Meadow, Josh Tetrick of Hampton Creek Foods and Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat and Rob Rhinehart of Soylent, will explain the new products already available on the market, such as plant-based meat and egg substitutes, and the feasibility of new innovations, including lab-grown meat.

Printing Chocolate: Food on Demand

5 p.m. Sunday, March 9 // Omni Downtown, Capital Ballroom, 700 San Jacinto Blvd. #PrintFood

Austinites Daniel Heron of Tech Ranch Austin and Levi Lalla, founder piq Chocolates, will host the first of two SXSW panels on 3D printing of food. Lalla’s company already offers customizable 3D printed chocolates, but they’ll discuss other opportunities in 3D printed food that we should consider.

Backyard Chicken & Eggs Meet Up

9:30 a.m. Monday, March 10 // Meet Up Tent, East Sixth and Neches streets #sxswcluck

Austinite Michelle Hernandez, president of the Urban Poultry Association and organizer of the Funky Chicken Coop Tour, and fellow backyard chicken advocate (and full-time Mac and iPhone developer) Shane Crawford will host this meet-up for attendees who already own chickens or who are thinking about jumping on board.

Innovating at Scale: Tech for Social Good

2 p.m. Monday, March 10 // Wanderlust, 206 E. Fourth St. #GoodTech

How do you take a possibly world-changing idea and scale it so that the concept might have a chance at solving some of the world’s greatest problems, including hunger and poverty? Ann Cairns of Mastercard, Google’s Meryl Stone of Google, Meighan Stone or World Food Program USA and Anushka Ratnayake of My Agro will talk about maximizing impact and efficiency and how to build an organization that can foster innovation and actually get things done.

FEEDing the Future: The Power of Social Business

11 a.m. Tuesday, March 11 // Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. #FEEDFuture

Lauren Bush Lauren is the founder of FEED, an apparel and bag company with a mission for providing meals to children through the World Food Program. To date, FEED has helped provide more than 60 million meals to kids in school. Lauren will talk about socially conscious entrepreneurialism and consumerism.

Future Foods: New Cuisine for a New Age

11 a.m. Tuesday, March 11 // Radisson Town Lake, Riverside Ballroom, 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. #ieeefood

Another panel exploring how processing food might not be so bad for us after all. Led by Glenn Zorpette, executive editor of IEEE Spectrum magazine, and Pablos Holman, an inventor with Intellectual Ventures, will talk about everything from test tube meat and thermoplastic extrusion to futuristic kitchens that can create food specifically matched to your tastes and nutritional needs.

Hacking Meat: Why Insects Are the Future of Food

12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11 // Radisson Town Lake, Riverside Ballroom, 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. #InsectFood

In the past two years, we’ve seen a rapid growth of interest in entomophagy, or the intentional eating of bugs. It’s presented as an alternative source of protein that requires little input of water or other resources to grow. Panelists Andrew Brentano and Daniel Imrie-Situnayake of of Tiny Farms, Austinite Harman Singh Johar of WorldEnto and Megan Miller of Chirp Farms will talk about advantages (and hurdles) of getting people to eat more insects.

The World of 3D Printed Food

12:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 11 // Austin Convention Center, Ballroom E, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. #3Doreos

Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondel z International, will explain how his company is experimenting with printing food, including Oreos.

The Future Farm Is Now: Can Robots Feed the World?

3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11 // Radisson Town Lake, Riverside Ballroom, 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. #futurefarm

For many years now, farmers have been using high-tech tools to increase yields and productivity, but what are some of the latest innovations helping them do their job more efficiently? Panelists Dev Shrestha of the University of Idaho, Jeff Caldwell of Successful Farming magazine, Maribeth Gandy of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Hy-Vee’s Nathan Wright will talk about the latest innovations, including wearable computers that can display real-time weather and environmental data to drones that can spray for pests.