Session Information

Food Security and Innovation: Scaling up to Meet the Challenge

Date: Thursday, March 3

Time: 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Format: Pecha Kucha

By 2050, the world’s population will crest nine billion—a 34 percent increase over today’s total. Five years ago, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization predicted that humans will by then need to produce 70 percent more food than we do today. This past year alone, investors moved some USD $2.06 billion into agricultural technology start-ups. These numbers will continue to grow. This session will explore the role of emerging agricultural technologies and small scale start-ups in scaling up food solutions to feed the world.

Topic Speakers

Thomas Odenwald is the former Senior Vice President for Sustainability Strategies and Business Innovation at SAP. He was driving thought leadership through sustainable value creation as part of SAP’s practitioner and solution provider role. In his role he served as a member of various sustainability initiatives, such as the advisory board of Sustainable Brands. Thomas re-joined SAP from PE International, a global leader in product and enterprise sustainability solutions, where he was Chief Technology Officer and global Alliance Director. He is a SAP veteran with 20+ years' experience holding various leadership positions, including bringing SAPs first industry solution to the market, leading SAP’s first development organization outside its headquarters in Germany, and pioneering early efforts in the Sustainability area as part of SAP Research. Thomas holds a MS in economics and computer science from Fredericana University in Karlsruhe, Germany. Thomas Odenwald owns multiple patents and has published numerous publications and journal entries.

Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) is a non-profit organization enhancing the well-being of small-scale farmers with agricultural inputs, improved farming skills, and increased access to markets. COMACO produces nutritious, pesticide-free, tasty food products (ITSWILD brand) and rewards their suppliers/farmers for adopting sustainable and productive farming practices while staying committed to conservation - making them better stewards of their land. (

Wood Turner is a Vice President at Agriculture Capital Management, focused on integrating and operationalizing the firm’s cross-platform sustainability strategies.

Wood brings over 20 years of experience in corporate sustainability, environmental management, and consumer engagement. Most recently, he was on the executive team at organic yogurt pioneer Stonyfield Farm as the company’s VP Sustainability Innovation. Prior to that, he was founding executive director of Climate Counts, an international NGO focused on measuring and scoring the world’s largest consumer companies on their concrete, enterprise-level responses to climate change. Wood has consulted to brands, elected officials, and public agencies on mobilizing the public around ideas that improve the environment and build community, including the start-up of a groundbreaking curbside food waste recovery program, the expansion of carshare program access to underrepresented communities in the Puget Sound area and Los Angeles, development of an early shuttle program for Bay Area biotech workers, and a citizen engagement program that nearly resulted in innovative fixed-rail for Seattle. Early in his career, he worked with the plastics industry in the policy and product stewardship arenas and was later instrumental in developing Urban Ecology’s “Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area.” He worked for many years on the alignment of economic and recreation demands with wetland, riparian, and wildlife corridor conservation in the Pacific Northwest.

Born and raised in North Carolina, Wood lived in Seattle for many years before a cold stretch in New Hampshire. He and his family now live in Berkeley. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and a graduate degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Washington. He advises several sustainable food startups and is an expert in residence at Presidio Graduate School. He sits on the advisory boards of Sustainable Brands and Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment.