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Posts Tagged: food security

Votes needed for UC Davis teams in international food challenge

World population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. (Photo: UN Human Development Report)
With the world population reaching 9 billion by 2050, creative solutions are needed for global food security. The 2013 Thought for Food Challenge has put the call out and two UC Davis teams have responded. One group, Team UC Davis, proposes a social networking game that spreads awareness through crowd sourcing and draws donations through virtual purchases.

“The team is using a game platform like Farmville, which they call Global Village,” said Patrick Brown, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, the team’s mentor, in comparing the proposal to the popular social networking game. “The difference is that the settings for Global Village are realistic and representative of developing world farm settings, the game has a strong educational function and the profits from the game and purchases within the game go to fund development activities.”

Team UC Davis is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from International Agricultural Development and the Department of Plant Sciences. Their idea is to create a game application for the Facebook social media network. Players are given information and choices for farming based on real-world information gathered from developing countries, such as from a cacao orchard in Cote d’Ivoire or a maize farm in Zambia. Based on the limited resources of these farmers, they deal with issues like diseases, soil types, crop planting, where to deliver fertilizers and more.

The purchases they make in the game for virtual items like chickens or fertilizer lead to real purchases for the farmers. Partnerships with corporations like Grameen-Intel and Mars will provide the game with the real-time data those companies have gathered on current projects, while global nonprofit organizations like Heifer International will help transform the virtual purchases into real items for the farmers. The hope is to educate game players about these regions and existing farming issues, while raising donations and promoting corporate responsibility.

For the proposal to become reality, Team UC Davis must get enough votes to pass to Round 2. A total of five teams will be selected to present their business plan in Berlin, Germany, in September. Prizes include grants up to $10,000.

Voting takes place online from now to May 10. At the top of the Thought for Food page supporters can click “Like” for their favorite team. These “likes” account for 25 percent of the criteria for who ultimately moves to the next round, with a panel of three judges providing the remainder of the decision-making power.

Also representing UC Davis in the competition is Team Foodisclosure, which proposes low-cost, solar-powered LED lights for raising chickens in regions with less winter sunlight, encouraging the hens to remain productive throughout the year.

To vote, click on the “Like” icon at the top of these pages:

Team UC Davis

Team Foodisclosure

See a video about the Global Village game below:

See the Foodisclosure slideshow here:



Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 10:27 AM
  • Author: Bradley Hooker

Feeding billions in the face of climate change

As drought dries the landscape and rising global temperatures make for decreasing crop yields, farmers are faced with the question of how to feed billions of people in a way that both reduces global greenhouse gas emissions and adapts to the realities of climate change.

Scientists and policymakers from around the world will gather today through Friday, March 20-22, at the University of California, Davis, to grapple with the threats of climate change for global agriculture and recommend science-based actions to slow its effects while meeting the world's need for food, livelihood and sustainability.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference, planned in coordination with the World Bank, builds on a 2011 international meeting on this theme in the Netherlands.

"Climate change, which brings severe weather events and more subtle but equally menacing temperature changes, presents unprecedented challenges to the global community," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

"In California, where we rely heavily on snowmelt for irrigation to grow half of our nation's fruit and vegetables, we are acutely aware that scientists and policymakers must join forces to lessen the potential effects of climate change," she said.

Katehi will open the conference on Wednesday, March 20, along with Thomas Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (via video). The public is invited to attend the opening day’s program (8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m), free of charge; and the closing day’s afternoon program (noon-3:45 p.m.), also  free of charge. These will be held in Jackson Hall of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. (Lunches not included.)

Catherine Woteki, USDA undersecretary, will speak Thursday evening, March 21.

Other speakers will include: Ben Santer, climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of the National Academy of Sciences; Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist for the United Nations Environmental Program; and Patrick Caron, general director for research and strategy of the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development. Also speaking will be outstanding scientists from dozens of universities and research institutes from around the world.

Conference topics will focus on the implications of cutting-edge agricultural, ecological and environmental research for improved design of policies and actions affecting agricultural management and development; identifying farm and food-system issues, determining research gaps; highlighting emerging research initiatives; and developing transformative policies and institutions.

The conference will conclude with participants developing and endorsing a declaration regarding the key research and policy messages that result from conference presentations and discussions. This declaration is expected to point toward science-based policies and actions for global agriculture that will mitigate climate change and encourage adaptation to maintain food security, livelihoods and biodiversity.


Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:45 AM
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