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8 4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t An age-old practice—the act of breaking bread, of coming together to share food, culture and ideas, just about everything that makes us human—fu- eled the impetus that brought 300 people from diverse professional backgrounds together for a day devoted to exploring innovation. Inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area's artisanal food and beverage industry which flourishes in the backyard of the bleeding-edge technology hub of Silicon Val- ley, Harvest Summit founder Jessica Kilcullen and her husband John intentionally sought an environment that would encourage interaction. The couple's private estate in Sonoma's Knight's Valley provided the perfect venue for Harvest Summit, an event that Jessica Kilcullen envi- sioned to challenge conventional thinking. Through the convergence of people from dozens of dif- ferent industries and socially-conscious artisanal food and beverage purveyors, Kilcullen's holistic vision forms what she refers to as "the connective tissue that allows people to collaborate." By means of a provocative agenda of ses- sions where people could gravitate towards their interests and continue sharing ideas, attendees who were sampling innovative artisanal foods one minute found themselves knee deep in conversation with their neighbor the next. "Shared experiences like Harvest Summit allow for a more authentic connection," says Kilcullen, whose objec- tive was to bring people who would not otherwise interact together to solve problems, propel change and foster a community dialog. After an early morning yoga session and locavore breakfast bar, Kilcullen took the stage and introduced three brief and wildly divergent sessions that all keyed to the overriding theme of innovation. In his session "Hacking Cancer" on state-of-the-art immunotherapy, speaker Jeffery Bluestone, CEO and President of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunother- apy, said, "I'm speaking to people that I normally wouldn't speak to, and it's making me think about things different- ly." Bluestone called for innovators to gather knowledge not data. "We're got the data, but what we need are the tools to acquire knowledge," he said. When Chef Kyle Connaughton, author of Modernist Cuisine and owner of Single Thread Farm-Restaurant- Inn in Healdsburg, took the stage to share the concept for Harvest Sum On the Big Barn main stage, television personality Leslie Sbrocco (center) engages Dustin Valette, Chef/Proprietor of Valette, (left) and Douglas Keane of Cyrus, Two Birds One Stone and the Healdsburg Bar and Grill, in a discussion about innovation in the kitchen. PHOTO: PIXEL GROVE PRODUCTIONS Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialists Lynmar Estate were among dozens of Sonoma wineries and distilleries who sponsored and poured during the day-long event. WINE COUNTRY

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