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Don’t have a SXSW badge? Check out four days worth of free food programming

Addie Broyles

Longtime Austinites and SXSW attendees know that you don’t necessarily need a badge to experience these epic 10 days in Austin.

Several years ago, companies such as Fast Company started hosting day-long or multi-day panels and speakers, not unlike the content you’d find at the official interactive festival.

For the first time this year, you’ll find a similar four-day event, but this time, focused on food. Land O’Lakes is teaming up with National Geographic and Microsoft to present “ The Food Effect,” which will bring together more than 20 speakers over four days at Trinity Hall, 311 E. Fifth St. to talk about food, agriculture and technology and issues affecting global food production.

Speakers include “The American Way of Eating” author Tracie McMillan, GENYouth founder Alexis Glick, CNN’s Frank Sesno and Pamela Ronald, the founding director of the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy.

The 6,000 square-foot venue will be open from noon to 6 p.m. March 9 to 12, and you can find out more about it at

Here’s the schedule:

Friday, March 9

3 to 3:30 p.m. Opening remarks from Chris Policinski, CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Science Can Save the World (But Only If We Let It): A conversation about food security and the tradeoffs we make when considering solutions.

4:30 to 7:30 p.m. DJ Mel and Happy Hour

Saturday, March 10

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Dairy and Dialogue: Meet Today’s Modern Farmer: An interview with Stephanie Mickelsen of Mickelsen Farms and Dave Ribeiro of Rib-Arrow Dairy.

3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Dan Gilgoff, executive digital editor or National Geographic, interviews Tracie McMillan, author of “The American Way of Eating”

5:30 to 7 p.m. Nerd Nite: A Tale of Two Cities — Empowering Communities on the Front Lines of Food Justice: Austin’s own Matt Wasowski of Nerd Nite will lead a conversation about communities in Detroit and Austin that are exploring new ways to improve the quality of life for residents through food. Participants include Devita Davison, executive director of FoodLab Detroit, JC Dwyer of Feeding Texas and Edwin Marty, food policy manager with the City of Austin.

Sunday, March 11

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: The Mathematical Age of Agriculture: Big data is revolutionizing agriculture. It’s also expensive. How do we ensure accessibility for all? Alexis Glick of GENYOUth will lead  the conversation.

Monday, March 12

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: All Farming is Good Farming: A conversation with Sue McCloskey, cofounder of fairlife and Fair Oak Farms, Philip Pardey, director of global research strategy at University of Minnesota, Andre Pereira, a nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, Joel Wipperfurth of WinField United.

4:30 to 6 p.m. The Future of Food Isn’t What (Or Who) You Think: The way we grow, deliver and prepare food is about to change. So should the way we think about it. Nina F. Ichikawa of the Berkeley Food Institute, Arielle Johnson of MIT Media Lab and Shakirah Simley, founder of Nourish | Resist, will discuss.