Agriculture and technology both have a long history in California, but have rarely intersected. Tech is focused on disruption and innovation, while much of Central Valley and Central Coast’s agriculture is still managed with clipboards and pencils. One commonality is that women and minorities have historically been underrepresented in both industries. Now, a new generation of startups led by minority women are seeking to solve agriculture’s problems with tech innovation.
About Amy Wu
Amy Wu is the Founder & Chief Content Director of “From Farms to Incubators,” a multimedia content company that focuses on telling the stories of minority women entrepreneurs in agtech. Wu is a veteran journalist with significant international reporting and teaching experience, having worked at Time magazine, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, for the USA Today Network; and has written for The New York Times, HuffPost and Wall Street Journal. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
A little over a year ago From Farms to Incubators multimedia storytelling project was born. Here’s how it happened. A good friend emailed over a grant call from the International Center for Journalists seeking stories on minority business women in the U.S. I was living in Salinas Calif. at the time, the salad bowl of the world, and reporting for The Salinas Californian. With the ICFJ grant I was off at the starting gates. At an agtech conference in Menlo Park last February my videographer Chris Schodt and I sought minority women entrepreneurs in agtech. “You’re looking for a unicorn aren’t you?” a participant said. But within the landscape of what were mostly middle aged white men, we found a handful of amazing women with rich experiences and personal histories, their roots from India, China, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico. The more I dug the more minority women dedicated to agtech I uncovered. I created a mini documentary and a series of profiles, which first ran in The Salinas Californian. I started to create a team of storytellers including a graphics designer and photographer to join the project. Fast forward to a year later and the storytelling initiative continues to strengthen. In December From Farms to Incubators was awarded a grant from The Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists to help expand the documentary, circle back with the women I profiled to see where they are at with fundraising and their companies, and feature new women. A friend recently asked me why I am so passionate about this project and where the drive comes from. The answer is simple. I love new formats of storytelling and as a journalist I love telling stories that are untold or under told. As a woman I am well aware that industries such as agriculture and technology remain male dominated, but by telling the stories of a new generation of female innovators who are paving a path for generations following them, change is in the pipeline.