Australia became the de facto global capital of food innovation last week when a major new event held by Global Table and Seeds&Chips opened in Melbourne.

Attracting 3,000 plus stakeholders from dozens of countries, the global food conference got underway with a keynote from John F. Kerry, 68th US Secretary of State.

“We could save water, land, energy… if food production was more efficient and better controlled,” said Kerry. And therein lies the rub. Food production is a major contributor to the climate crisis and transformative changes are needed quickly that can mainstream sustainable production models.

“Climate change is a huge challenge for our sector, but it’s not insurmountable,” Jaclyn Symes, Victorian Minister for Agriculture, told attendees.

The four day conference brought together innovators and policymakers committed to advancing solutions to these challenges. It also provided a platform for early stage companies to showcase their game changing ideas to multinationals like Deloitte and Mondelez International. One of those, Alg Seaweed, created by Melbourne dietitian Sarah Leung, makes snacks from seaweed harvested in a process which improves ocean health. While TerViva, another startup winner at the event, helps farmers grow pongamia trees, a ‘high-yielding crop producing large amounts of protein and vegetable oil’, on degraded land.

International events like these play a huge part in inspiring new collaborations and ideas that can fast track the industry towards a sustainable future. Melbourne will host the second instalment in September 2020.