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Join the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center for an expert panel discussion about the data and technology challenges facing agricultural supply chain management in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions it has imposed on food production and availability.

Event description

The COVID-19 crisis has spared few victims in shaking up societies and industries across the world. But perhaps no sector has faced greater insecurity in the United States than the food industry. Whether it be the mass closures of restaurants both large and small, the reinvention of grocery stores to account for social distancing, or huge demand shifts for farmers and food producers, the changes brought about by COVID-19 have revealed many weaknesses in the US food system.

On July 16 2020, the GeoTech Center at the Atlantic Council will bring together a series of experts to discuss the lessons that the US food industry should take out of this time of crisis, considering what issues need to be on the short list of impediments to improving resiliency in the future. The panel will address the problems, both foreseen and unforeseen, that have arisen in the past months, especially those that could have been prevented with proper planning and innovation.

The focus of the panelists will center on data and technological solutions to the challenges facing the food industry. Given that food is often a sensitive and personal topic, especially for those who have committed their lives to its production and distribution, we must also consider what effect new technologies will have on individuals involved in the food supply chain. As the panel envisions a technology-enabled reality, where food supply chains benefit from increased resilience and preparedness for crises, the audience is invited to participate and provide their own questions regarding the future of food playing out.

Some of the pandemic’s disruptive changes will be permanent features of the agricultural market, but others will eventually fade. The weaknesses in global food systems that it has exposed, particularly in the United States, have fallen heavily on small-scale farmers and local restaurants. What lessons should the government take from the crisis, what issues must be addressed first, and what stands in the way of policy and technological innovation? Critics have described the food and agricultural industries as in a state of crisis for over a decade, preventing systemic market shifts and stymieing innovation. The pandemic may be an opportunity to start repairing those long-standing weaknesses as well.


Dr. David Bray
Director, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council


Mr. Andrew Mack
Founder and CEO

Ms. Danielle Taveau
Bold Text Strategies

Mr. Derry Goberdhansingh
Harper Paige LLC

Ms. Sara-Jayne Terp
Bodacea Light Industries