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Peapod Hits the Road in New York with Trucks Featuring Locally Inspired Work

Peapod - NY Delivery TrucksA fleet of newly decorated delivery trucks from Peapod is now on the road in Brooklyn. The July 14 unveiling of the new livery is the culmination of Peapod’s open art competition which was inspired by and created to celebrate Brooklyn’s thriving community of artists, foodies and more. The five winning designs showcase the artists’ interpretations of Brooklyn and Peapod’s fresh groceries, and each will be featured on a delivery truck servicing New York’s metro region this summer.

“We launched this competition to thank our Brooklyn customers and celebrate the community,” said Jennifer Carr-Smith, Peapod President. “The submissions exceeded our expectations and truly captured the spirit of Brooklyn’s dynamic neighborhoods and Peapod’s passion for fresh food and excellent service. We hope New Yorkers will enjoy seeing the colorful designs on their streets and will continue to welcome Peapod into their homes.”

The redesigned trucks will begin delivering fresh groceries, prepared foods & meal kits and local specialties to Peapod’s New York customers. Peapod is available in 24 metro markets across New YorkNew JerseyConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireIllinoisWisconsinIndianaPennsylvaniaMarylandDistrict of Columbia, and Virginia.

Herbal Supplement Company Gaia Herbs Retools Sales/Marketing Team

Gaia Herbs has promoted Tammy McIver-Gay and Elizabeth Lawson and added Elena Levitskaya-Lécué and Anna DeMers to its sales and marketing team. This new leadership team is expected to provide greater focus on the company’s strategic objectives, unify processes and unlock fresh opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and long-term growth.

“There’s a growing demand for authenticity, quality, and a relationship of deep trust with the products that consumers choose to bring into their homes. Gaia’s tenured history as a certified organic and seed to shelf brand has enabled us to gain the hearts of many emerging wellness seekers, allowing us to broaden the connections between plants and people,” said Angela McElwee, President of Gaia Herbs. “As the landscape for herbal products continues to broaden, we are thrilled to expand the Gaia team to better reach consumers. With the promotion of both Tammy and Elizabeth as tenured Gaia leaders and the hiring of Anna and Elena, we are led in these key areas by a strong and expert group of sales and marketing strategists, all of whom embody not just expertise in their respective areas, but also bring a spirit of authenticity and integrity to the work they do.”

McIver-Gay has been promoted to Vice President of Customer Development and Strategy. McIver-Gay has held numerous roles in her seven year tenure at Gaia, including leading the healthcare practitioner division, the ecommerce business, as well as launching the consumer direct business and serving on the executive team in various strategic planning capacities. Prior to joining Gaia, McIver-Gay spent seven years at Enzymatic Therapy as managing director of business development where she led the healthcare practitioner, distributor, pharmacy, international, and consumer direct divisions.

Lawson has been promoted to Director of Field Sales, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new role with 20 years of experience in the natural food industry. Prior to Gaia, Lawson served as the national account manager at Enzymatic Therapy where she was instrumental in growing and managing some of the company’s largest customers. Lawson’s professional journey ultimately led her to Gaia where she has spent the past nine years leading the eastern sales team, along with account management.

Levitskaya-Lécué joins Gaia Herbs as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, bringing extensive experience in progressive marketing and brand management, as well as digital and sales strategy for Group Danone, both in the U.S. and Europe. Her most recent role as the head of ecommerce at DanoneWave provided her with a digital perspective, which gives her a unique vantage point on the fast-shifting landscape of brands and channels. This combined with her traditional CPG background and passion for wellness and purpose-driven leadership, make her a natural fit for leading the sales and marketing teams at Gaia Herbs.

“I strongly believe that herbal supplements, as a way of taking care of health in a more natural and holistic way, are ready to cross over into mainstream,” said Levitskaya-Lécué. “Gaia is a company that brings together the past and the future, combining ancestral knowledge of herbal medicine, a sustainable seed-to-shelf operational model and a cutting-edge patented technology of delivering herbal extracts. Gaia is the leader in the herbal supplement market with a story that no other company can tell. I am looking forward to bringing this story to more consumers and retailers.”

DeMers also joins the team as Director of Strategic Accounts where she is responsible for the Whole Foods Market business, as well as strategically and thoughtfully growing Gaia’s presence with key retailers across all channels. With 30 years of sales experience and 12 specifically within the natural products industry, DeMers previously held positions at Clorox, Renew Life, Quigley, Alacer, and Rainbow Light.

Vineyard Robot Prototype to Debut at FutureFarm Expo in Oregon

Seeking to solve the chronic labor shortage problem facing the US premium wine industry, the project ‘ROVR’ (Remote Operated Vineyard Robot) team has developed a fully mobile concept demonstrator at their Pendleton, Oregon research and development lab. The first public demonstration of the virtual reality operated robot will take place at the 2017 FutureFarm Expo on August 15-17.

The one-of-a-kind technology was developed over the last 18 months by Digital Harvest, a Virginia-based agricultural solutions company that recently established a research outpost at the Pendleton UAS Test Range.

To date, the promise of industrial robots taking over “dumb, dirty or dangerous” tasks for workers has yet to be realized outside of the factory floor. Despite tens of thousands of man hours and huge sums invested, robotics researchers and innovators (with few exceptions) have yet to realize the goal of developing cost-effective robots capable of replicating the productivity of skilled farm workers.

As the labor force that tree and vine fruit growers depend on continues to decline, the complexities and costs associated with finding new workers have left the industry in crisis. Multiple surveys of fruit and vegetable growers have confirmed that labor is the number one challenge facing agricultural growth.

The ROVR robotic worker system to be displayed at the FutureFarm Expo is unique in that it bypasses many of the persistent technical challenges of machine learning and intelligence by keeping a human operator in the loop via a virtual reality interface.

“We tried many types of tools to operate the robotic arms, such as joysticks and game controllers, but none were capable of allowing the system to operate at the similar level of accuracy or speed as traditional skilled workers,” says company CEO Young Kim. “By using virtual reality as an operator interface, we not only improved manual dexterity but also opened up the possibility of human workers being able to teleport to work from anywhere.”

The FutureFarm Expo is the annual technology summit of the Oregon FutureFarm Project, a new farm-tech accelerator effort that has brought advanced digital agriculture developers such as Digital Harvest and Yamaha Unmanned Systems to eastern Oregon.

Unlike any other agricultural event in the United States, the Future Farm Expo brings together cutting edge technology developers with ag professionals from the Northwest and around the world. High-value crop growers, livestock ranchers, leading food processors, crop consultants and distinguished agri-tech researchers come together with key policymakers and everyday farmers to share their knowledge in order to develop the new methods needed to feed a rapidly growing world.

This year’s Expo program will offer attendees a comprehensive look at what some are calling Digital Agriculture 2.0. Optimizing farming practices, streamlining production, and reducing the impact on resources are the collective goals in agriculture today. Learning about advanced technologies and how to implement them, today and tomorrow is a key outcome of this event.

Previously undiscussed topics such as beyond line-of-sight crop imaging and managing cattle from the sky will be presented as well. Updates on ongoing developments in farm automation, field robotics, soil sciences, precision irrigation and what-do-to-with-all-that-data will round out the expert presentations.

Among the many key presenters is George Kellerman of Yamaha Motor Ventures & Lab. Kellerman will share his global insights during his presentation titled: “Reinventing Agriculture: How Robotics and Automation Will Save Farming in the 21st Century.”

Because the FFE is focused on “Bringing Clarity to Growers,” this event offers attendees and presenters an opportunity to learn from each other, forge ties, and jointly develop new tools and methods to make each new harvest bigger and better than the last.

A trade show, all group lunches and outdoor field demonstrations of the latest farm drones and automated machinery are all part of the experience.

Space is limited and the Expo sells out each year – order your tickets now. To learn more or attend, visit FutureFarmExpo.tech or contact: Jeff Lorton, FutureFarm Expo Director 503.989.6933 Jeff@dukejoseph.com.

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