F³ Tech (Farm-Fish-Food) is a private/public initiative that is creating a new renaissance of economic growth and prosperity through innovation and technology which is built upon the traditional industries of agriculture and seafood. The overall program is a pipeline of components through which entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, and existing businesses go through the proof-of-concept and commercialization of new product and service ideas and innovations. The initiative includes partners and resources from throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
Agritech – Aquatech – Envirotech
F³ Tech originated in 2015 from a conversation among economic development service providers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in order to advance a regional strategy and industry sector focus based upon the region’s strength in agriculture and seafood. Continuing in 2016, broader discussions with industry and regional stakeholders raised an increasing awareness that rural Maryland would benefit from a new generation of innovation and technology within agriculture and seafood. A recognized differentiator for Maryland is its holistic environment of both land and water (Chesapeake Bay estuary). This unique feature allows for advancements in aquaculture in combination with agriculture technologies and their related environmental aspects. Maryland’s leadership position in the sectors of life science, biotech and cybertech offers existing technologies, innovations, and talent that can easily transition into solutions in agriculture and aquaculture. Lastly, rural Maryland is enriched by its proximity to the strengths, talent, and resources of the Baltimore/Washington DC corridor,
The many problems and challenges within the agritech and aquatech industry sector can only be solved with new innovations and technologies that can be developed and tested. Rural Maryland is a unique area in the country where farming and fishing are so closely entangled that it serves as an ideal testbed for the demonstration of such innovations and technologies. Proven technologies could then be used in many other areas of the country where farming impacts fishing, and in turn, food production.
The F³ Tech initiative and its ecosystem requires key elements across innovation, access to capital, and access to talent. Initiative activities are intended to attract participants, entrepreneurs, and innovators from a whole host of disciplines and expertise. The opportunities for innovation within the entire food supply system are extremely multi-disciplinary. Participation and outcomes in F³ Tech are not restricted to just farmers and watermen. A sampling of the many opportunities available for innovation within the F³ Tech cluster is represented in the adjacent image.
The strategic planning efforts described above have led the partners and collaborators to the development of a proof-of-concept and commercialization program titled F³ (Farm-Fish-Food)Tech which is a pipeline of activities aimed at establishing an industry sector focus or cluster in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture, and environmental technologies. Another significant outcome of the region’s efforts is an approach that represents a complete paradigm shift in the approach to facilitating better opportunities of success for early-stage entrepreneurs, innovators, and startup businesses no matter the location.