I attended an agriculture conference this week at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto.
There were no pickup trucks in the BMW-packed parking lot, and few farmers with dirt under their fingernails could be found milling about the sleek hotel lobby. But the place was swarming with venture capitalists from some of Silicon Valley's marquee firms looking to grow profits with investments in sustainable agriculture.
Welcome to Agriculture 2.0.
That was the name of the conference and represents a growing effort to scale up sustainable agriculture from a hodge-podge of hippies and back-to-the-land types into a viable big business by bringing together venture capitalists and startups doing everything from rooftop farming to high-tech soil mapping to identifying the best areas for growing crops.
The big idea is that venture capitalists can help disrupt industrial agriculture much as they have the computer, entertainment and energy industries by investing in sustainable ag and using information technology to connect producers and consumers.
Let's hope that some of that effort at investment is done locally, in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties!