Discovery Park President’s Update on Exhibit on Innovation in Agriculture
We’ve been hard at work on the upcoming exhibit on innovation in agriculture, “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival,” and are still on track to open the doors on Dec. 5, 2020.
We will soon be pushing out a national press release announcing the additional organizations working with us. We’re very excited to announce that as of today, we’ve raised a little over $935,000 to produce this important exhibit.
New organizations working with Discovery Park on the project include Agrela Ecosystems, Babylon Micro-Farms, Bayer Fund, Blue Steel Tool, Inc., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, EarthSense, GroGuru, Noble Research Institute, Syngenta, Tennessee Pork Producers, Tennessee Valley Authorityand the USDA Rural Development U.S. Department of Agriculture.
More than 70 individuals have also signed up as a “Champion of Agriculture” which allows them to include their name or that of a friend or loved one on the donor wall of the exhibit and to receive an invitation to be among the first to experience it on Dec. 4 when we preview it for media. The deadline to be included as a Champion of Agriculture is Sept. 30, 2020, and contributions may be made online now.
Below is just a sample of stories about a diverse and inclusive group of individuals working in agriculture today that guests will experience in the exhibit.
NASCAR driver Ross Chastain
Eighth-generation watermelon farmer and professional NASCAR driver Ross Chastain, the busiest driver in NASCAR, uses much of his time in the spotlight to educate the public about the important role of agriculture today. Nicknamed the “Melon Man,” he’s known for smashing a watermelon to the ground in the Victory Lane when he celebrates race wins. Chastain drives for Kaulig Racing in the No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro in the Xfinity Series. He’s featured in the Nutrien Ag Solutions – and NASCAR-produced docuseries Two-Track Mind, which follows Chastain as he races around the country and visits farms along the way, educating a broader audience about modern production agriculture.
Dr. Nadia Shakoor
Dr. Nadia Shakoor is a senior research scientist at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and recently received a grant from The National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the National Science Foundation to develop FieldDock, an integrated smart farm system. The technology Shakoor and her collaborators are developing will collect and analyze real time data from fields, allowing for effective tracking of crop performance.
Daniel Masaba from Uganda started a poultry farm with no experience, very limited resources and no prior education on farming. On his YouTube channel, he offers free information about poultry farming “to inspire more young people to step out and start.”
He’s just one of the many farmers using social media to inform and educate the public about agriculture today.
Alexander Olesen and Graham Smith
Babylon Micro-Farms invented a vertical farming platform that uses AI, machine learning and camera vision, enabling anyone to grow fresh, nutritious produce on-site using patented technology combined with a mobile app that controls the operation of the farms. The company was co-founded in 2017 by University of Virginia students Alexander Olesen and Graham Smith after an undergraduate student project to develop low-cost micro-farms for refugee communities. Babylon is now installing vertical farms at schools, senior living communities, hotels and resorts.
Derek and Micayla Giffin
The Giffins grow row crops on the same fields that Derek’s family has farmed for more than 100 years. The couple created a more sustainable operation by adding cattle to Giffin Farms. While the Giffins’ cattle graze on grass, they are finished with grain and ready to be harvested an average of 14 months sooner than cattle fed only on grass. This reduces the land, water and energy required to produce a pound of healthy protein by 50%.
These are just some of the many stories of farmers and others working in agriculture today who continue applying new tools and technology, experimenting with new ideas about raising plants and animals and even introducing new crops to farms around the world.
For the most up-to-date list of individuals and organization partnering on this exhibit, click here.
If you or your organization would like to join those working with Discovery Park on this very important exhibit, feel free to contact me, and I can provide you with more information.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Discovery Park of America
830 Everett Blvd., Union City, TN 38261