Bloomberg Business News

Santa Cruz County’s first Ag-Tech MeetUp sows solutions

An hour away from Silicon Valley, agricultural Watsonville has the makings of a tech hub.

Next to its berry and lettuce fields, startups are building robots and mobile apps to aid farmers. Technology offers help to growers looking to become more sustainable and efficient while challenged with water supply, environmentalism and a shortage of labor.

Digital NEST, a nonprofit teaching technology to youth, hosted Santa Cruz County’s first Ag-Tech MeetUp Wednesday, modeled after the popular New Tech MeetUps held monthly in Santa Cruz.

“I had this idea about what’s possible if we get the biggest industry in the county with the brains, the energy and the creativity that’s happening in Santa Cruz with tech. By bringing these two things together, let’s see what could happen,” said Jacob Martinez, founder of Digital NEST. “There’s a lot of tech within agriculture happening locally that a lot of people don’t know about, so it’s also about highlighting that.”

Two dozen of tech entrepreneurs, ag community members and members of the City Council networked and heard presentations on local burgeoning technology.

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