As humanity constructs strategies to confront future challenges associated with population growth and climate change, we may need to rethink what the crop plants of the future will look like in the next century. New technologies in sequencing, imaging and genome editing have allowed for the dissection, and in some cases the harnessing, of the diversity and biology of plant systems, furthering our understanding of mechanisms of plant resilience and survival under stress. An eventual goal for the plant science field would be optimizing the use of untapped land resources that can be utilized for food production and climate change mitigation. The aim of this NYU-Nature Conference is to provide a forward-thinking forum for discussion of new ways to think about what plants of the future may look like, and ways that plant biotechnologies can develop to meet the increasing demand of plant-derived products, including food, energy, and medicine in the context global warming. This conference will broadly cover topics in plant biology and genetics, including synthetic & systems biology, plant-microbe interactions, epigenetics, development and future agriculture. We expect that this conference will foster new collaborations and help to define areas within plant science that are in most need of research attention in order to ensure food and climate security in the future.