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Ever since the first crops were planted in Escondido soil in the early 1900s, the city has been a home for agricultural businesses and farmers. Escondido farms make up 19% of San Diego County's agricultural production, and the sector is one of the top employers in the city. As agriculture gained steam in Escondido, it was inevitable that related industries would also thrive here. Agricultural technology, or AgTech, has grown tremendously in Escondido. With existing agricultural roots and ample resources for new businesses, Escondido is a top locale for AgTech startups and established companies to operate. The city is heavily invested in the success of the AgTech sector, and has recently introduced a number of initiatives to help companies collaborate and expand.
In October 2022, the City of Escondido co-hosted the region’s first-ever AgTech Startup Hackathon, a three-day event bringing together farmers, technologists, community leaders, engineers, and more. Event attendees enjoyed a jam-packed agenda that focused on food system problems and innovative solutions. The success of the event, which saw over 200 attendees, has inspired the city to make the event a more regular affair and a January 2023 event re-convened the community successfully. As such, a third AgTech event will take place May 2, with more scheduled to come throughout 2023.
Farmers, politicians, business and technology leaders, investors and community activists united for the first AgTech Startup Hackathon.
“At the City of Escondido, we know that shared resources and collaboration are at the heart of the success of our local economy, especially in agriculture, where many factors are pressuring farmers every day,” said Jennifer Schoeneck, Deputy Director of Economic Development at the City of Escondido. “Most of our local farmers are already engaged in using technical tools to increase efficiencies, and our community of technologists want to know how else they can support local production efforts. These AgTech events are some of the best ways for farmers, innovators, business leaders, and more to work toward independence, and efficiency.”
12 teams competed in the Hackathon, with the top companies winning seed money to develop their businesses.
Event attendees will enjoy curated match-based networking, fireside chats, mentor hours with experienced professionals, and pitch practice with feedback at May’s event. The AgTech events are just one element of a robust initiative led by the City of Escondido to support agriculture and AgTech. Another important success for agriculture came when the City was approved to convert an old mattress factory and warehouse into an AgTech incubator, providing a space for researchers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists to come together and support new and novel businesses that can serve the agriculture sector in North County.
To register for the upcoming AgTech event on May 2, click here.