Help feed the future with technology.
What is the accelerator program?
The produce and floral industry needs innovative solutions to major sector challenges including labor shortages, the climate crisis, and water and resource scarcity. Startups and companies outside of produce may have solutions to these critical problems.
The accelerator is a six-month program for global companies to bring in innovative technical solutions. For 2023, the program has recruited 12 startup companies at the scale-up phase along with corporates interested in entering the produce market from around the world.
What is the timeline?
May 7-12: Immersion week
May-October: Bi-monthly webinars and 1:1 mentorship
Oct. 16-20: IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show
Meet the 2023 Participants
Charlie Dubbe, Head of Regenerative Partnerships
Climate tech startup based in Alexandria, VA
Agrology is a leading climate tech start-up and Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to help farmers adapt to and beat climate change with real-time analysis and predictive insights. The Agrology platform consists of climate and carbon monitoring systems, both based on ground-truth data and machine learning. The Agrology Climate Monitoring System delivers predictive insights and warnings, up to four days in advance, for wildfire smoke taint risk, extreme weather, soil conditions, pest and disease emergence, and irrigation. Agrology’s Carbon Monitoring System tracks soil carbon sequestration in real time, quickly detecting carbon loss via carbon dioxide emission events. Agrology customers include Braga Fresh, The Duckhorn Portfolio, Boisset Collection, Dana Estates, Emeritus Vineyards, Jordan Vineyards and Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Langtry Farms, Lawrence Vineyards, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Renteria Vineyard Management, Signorello Estate, Silver Oak Vineyards, and numerous specialty farms. Agrology is the winner of two highly selective National Science Foundation SBIR Awards, a 2022 WINnovation Award, and is a recipient of a USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. Agrology’s academic partners include UC Davis, CSU Monterey Bay, Huntington Farms, RCD of Monterey County, University of California Cooperative Extension, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Agrology has offices in Alexandria, Virginia and can be found online at Agrology.ag.
James Ethington, CEO
Crop intelligence based in San Francisco, CA
Arable, the leader in crop intelligence, helps forward-thinking agribusinesses, farming operations, and food and beverage companies to be more productive, sustainable and profitable. Arable’s intuitive IoT-based solution combines reliable in-field weather, plant, soil and irrigation data with advanced modeling and machine learning to deliver real-time, actionable insights into the entire crop system. Arable helps customers in more than 30 countries optimize water use, crop protection, fertilization, field work, research trials, food supply chains and sustainability initiatives.
Rodrigo Martinez, CEO
Pollination ag-tech company based in Chile
Avo Solutions is a unique ag-tech company founded in 2020 in Chile with the initial focus on finding a solution to the pollination inefficiencies observed while managing an avocado orchard. Recognizing the decline of natural pollinators and the need for an alternative plan, we began testing ways to replicate the artificial insemination process done in animals, but in plants. After several tests with different formulations, we were able to find a way to preserve highly-viable fresh pollen that could be applied using traditional aerial methods to improve the fruit set.
Today, Avo Solutions offers a unique assisted pollination service that helps fruit growers enhance their yields and has the potential to replace beehives as pollinating vectors in orchards. Our 100% plant-based product contains highly viable fresh pollen that is sprayed with planes, helicopters, and drones during bloom to enhance the fruit set. Within the past 2 years, Avo Solutions has been able to spray more than 6.500 acres in Chile, Colombia, Peru, and the US, and their results show a significant increase in yields in avocados, almonds, and hazelnuts. We have also formulated our pollen solution successfully for blueberries, cherries, walnuts, pistachios and corn, which currently are in field trials.
Hayden Wolf, Director of Operations
Plant imaging platform based in Pittsburgh, PA
Bloomfield is a plant imaging platform shaping the future of precision agriculture. We scan farms and vineyards at scale (capturing high resolution imagery and other sensor data), analyze every plant, and derive actionable intelligence to help growers be more efficient and productive. We collaborate with a variety of movement platform companies, from ATV and tractor manufacturers to robotics startups.
Thai Sade, Founder & CEO
Artificial pollination farming technologies based in Israel
BloomX is on a mission to create advanced artificial pollination farming technologies that empower farms to be more efficient, productive, and profitable. By leveraging AI models coupled with bio-mimicking robotic tools, BloomX enables growers to optimize their pollination processes, resulting in improved yields and enhanced crop quality. Shifting growers’ dependence from inefficient and non-scaleable existing pollination vectors, the outcome provides an independent, scalable and reliable new pollinating vector that helps growers increase productivity and support tomorrow’s food security challenges, today.
Gene Wisakowsky, CEO
Horticulture lighting company based in Texas
Firefly-One has developed a revolutionary horticulture lighting system that provides full-spectrum light with significant energy savings over current systems. After six years of research, the PhotonFlux, a pulsed xenon light, has shown to mimic sunfleck, supercharging the photosynthetic process in plants. Pulsed Xenon Lights provide growers energy and economic solutions.
Brandon Contino, CEO & Co-Founder
Robotics startup based in Pittsburgh, PA
Four Growers is a YCombinator backed, Pittsburgh based robotics startup, that is building robots to feed the world. Sitting at the intersection of hardware and software, they bring together the best and brightest from around the world to create innovative products that redefine the agriculture industry, allowing their customers to feed the world more efficiently and sustainably. Their AI robotic harvesting and analytics platform is deployed in commercial farms across the globe, and is bringing sustainable, healthy, affordable produce to everyone.
Denis Payen, Head of Marketing & Sales
Biotech company based in Belgium
Fyteko is a biotech company building a biomolecule development pipeline to discover, develop and commercialize new crop care products to help the world’s farmers speed their transition to a more sustainable agriculture.
To make it possible, it’s time for a new chapter in crop care. Our science – the science of biopossible – focuses on harnessing new biomolecules that will empower farmers to increase and optimise their crop yields, through safer, smarter and more sustainable agronomic practices.
Identified through original research, our proprietary biomolecules include biostimulants, herbicide bioenhancers and biocontrol products. Together, we can help farmers effect an easier transition towards more responsible, more sustainable agricultural practices.
Julian Godding, Lead Data Scientist
Optical phenotyping startup based in the UK
Gardin is on a mission to ensure resilient, nutritious and sustainable food production in a changing climate. We've developed a novel optical sensing technology that measures plant health and productivity, enabling indoor climate control directly related to the plant status. Machine learning insights are delivered to growers to better manage the farm and get the most out of every seed.
Intelligent Growth Solutions
Stephen Gereb, Head of North American Operations
Vertical farming technology company based in Scotland
Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) is a trailblazing agritech company that's all about crafting the perfect synergy between plants, people, and technology. With sustainability, food safety, food security and automation at our core, we're on a mission to revolutionize indoor agriculture and commercial spaces through cutting-edge, eco-friendly vertical farming technology. Our expert team brings together creative minds and technical know-how to tackle the challenges faced by the agricultural industry—from open field and greenhouse farming to nascent seed-to-harvest vertical farming. With over 20 patents under our belt, IGS has become an internationally celebrated name in the realm of vertical farm technology, helping to address global space and water constraints while prioritizing environmentally conscious practices. Based in Scotland and expanding across North America, IGS is shaping the future of agriculture with cool innovation and a relentless commitment to a greener, more secure world.
Nanobubble technology company based in California
Moleaer develops industrial-scale nanobubble technology that delivers extraordinary improvements in chemical-free water treatment, sustainable food production, and the recovery of natural resources. Moleaer manufactures nanobubble generators. Nanobubbles are 70-120 nanometers in size, 2500 times smaller than a single grain of salt. They can be formed using any gas and injected into any liquid. Due to their size, nanobubbles exhibit unique properties that improve numerous physical, chemical, and biological processes. Customers use nanobubbles for hyper-efficient aeration, oxygenation, & gas transfer, oxidation, physical separation of suspended particles, and to prevent and remove buildup (biofilm & scale).
Kristine White, CEO
Early alert system for crop disease
Spornado is an early alert system for crop disease that brings molecular diagnostics to agriculture to provide farmers the data needed to choose and use their fungal pesticides more sustainably. We bring molecular diagnostics to agriculture. With our easy to use and inexpensive air sampler, Spornado lets farmers know when crop disease is in the air long before it’s seen in the field, enabling them to spray precisely - increasingly yields, saving time, money, and our environment.
2023 Fresh Field Catalyst Mentors
Matt Lingard, VP R&D, Bright Farms
Garland Perkins, Sr Manager Innovation and Sustainability, Oppy
Dorn Wenninger, VP of Produce, UNFI
Jim DiMenna, President, Red Sun Farms
Leonard Batti, VP, Taylor Farms
Raina Nelson, CEO, Westfalia Fruit
Eric Morgan, VP of Environmental Science & Resources, Braga Fresh
Miles Kohl, Chairman of Northwest Hort Association
Dan Kurdys, Director of Horticulture and Seed Growth, Bayer
Dwight Ferguson, CEO, California Agricultural Leadership
Nikki Cossio, CEO, Measure to Improve
Joe Barsi, President, Cal Giant
2022 Cohort Alumni
Provision - Calgary, Canada
Routeique Inc – Calgary, Canada
Nexus Robotics - Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Canada
Ten Carbon Chemistry Pty Ltd – Melbourne, Australia
Morphix Technologies – Virginia Beach, United States
Netled – Prikkala, Finland
Clarifruit – Rishon Le’zion, Israel
DiMuto - Singapore
The Yield Technology Solutions Pty Ltd – Sydney, Australia
Vitiport – Bratislava, Slovakia
SoundAg – Emeryville, United States
CarbonSpaceTech – Dublin, Ireland
Gary Wishnatzki, CEO, Wish Farms
Judy Clark, CEO, Fresh From Texas, LLC
Jennifer Petersen, EVP / Chief Science Officer, Sun World International
Andy Hamilton, CEO, Markon
Jan DeLyser, Vice President Marketing at California Avocado Commission
Scott Komar, Senior Vice President of Global R&D, Driscoll’s
Ted Taylor, Head of New Ventures & Business Development at Taylor Farms
Curtis Garner, COO, Co-Founder Verdant Robotics
Max Teplitski, CSO, IFPA
Dorn Wenninger, Sr VP Produce UNFI
Dave Vosburg, Chief Innovation Officer, Local Bounti
Fresh Field Catalyst Innovation Partners
Frequently Asked Questions
The program is a unique opportunity for start-ups, scale-ups, and corporations to learn about the produce industry and how to enter this market. The program includes:
- One week immersion program on the U.S. West Coast (field visits, corporate visits)
- Bi-weekly virtual meet-ups with industry experts (growers, shippers, IFPA staff) on topics relating to industry statistics, tech success and failure stories, challenges and access to funding
- Access to IFPA proprietary data and analytics
- Support to translate technology to agriculture or U.S. market
- 1-1 mentoring from IFPA members
- Shared exhibit space with other members of the cohort and introductions to industry leaders at the Global Produce and Floral Show, Anaheim, California, October 19-21.
- For companies eligible for SBIR funding, IFPA subject matter experts will offer guidance on the application process
The Fresh Fields Catalyst Accelerator is a unique opportunity to connect and engage with relevant members of the fresh produce industry and learn directly from them how technology solutions can work best.
- You can apply to the program by filling in the application form which closes on 3/20/23. Once received, your application will be reviewed by our team and a selection committee.
- Shortlisted companies will attend a video conference meeting to discuss their goals and objectives of participation in the program.
- 10-12 companies will be selected and notified 4/3/23 - 4/10/23 and will be expected to attend the immersion week program in California 5/7/23 -5/12/23.
- You are committing to a senior team member from your company traveling to the U.S. West Coast for a one-week immersion program, on the week of May 7, 2023.
- You are committing to a senior team member participating in video conference meetings twice per month for the duration of the six-month program.
- You are committing to a senior team member participating at the Global Fresh Produce Show in Anaheim, CA on October 19-21, 2023.
- No fees are required for any of these events but travel costs and associated expenses are the responsibility of the participating company.
No. If you are selected to participate in the Fresh Fields Catalyst Accelerator, you must be in a position to fund your own travel and accommodation for the key events you will be required to attend.
IFPA will assist by arranging blocks of hotel rooms to be available for participants in the program, but participants are expected to cover their own room and board.
Yes, we welcome global applicants that are interested in engaging with the fresh produce industry in the U.S.
Please do not submit any business plans, trade secrets, or “secret sauce.” Your application must include only non-confidential information. All information disclosed to us in your application will be considered non-confidential public information. IFPA will only treat information as confidential if the information is covered by a formal, written confidentiality agreement signed by IFPA prior to disclosure.
IFPA will not invest in any of the companies participating in the company and does not require any commitment of equity. The network and connections from IFPA may open investment opportunities.