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Jump Start 2016: Agrifood Focus

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The initial Jump Start prototype programme was run as a collaboration between the Palmerston North City Council, Massey University, Microsoft and The Future Cities Institute in 2016, which led to the establishment of an innovation pop-up hub in the heart of Palmerston North City and:

  • Exploration’ Workshops: Agrifood Industry specific workshops that explore the ‘art of the possible’ using a facilitated design led approach that defines specific ideas to create innovations for customers and stakeholders that drive value

 

  • 90 Days: A framework that validates these innovation ideas through a 90-day prototype process to act as a litmus test and a validate what a ‘minimum viable product/service’ may look like for production.

An example outcome from this original Jump Start was the AgTech Hackathon that connected farmers with smart on-farm solutions to enable the farming community to present every day on-farm opportunities and challenges to technology experts, who then creatively solve these problems drawing on their hardware and software programming skills.

 

Jump Start Agrifood Rational

The global agricultural, food and beverage industry (Agrifood) has a massive economic, social, and environmental footprint—the $5 trillion industry represents 10 percent of global consumer spending, 40 percent of employment, and 30 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and as the world’s population continues to grow a 70% increase in food production will be required from the industry by 2050 to feed us all .

Meeting this significant increase in production, without harming the environment, is a tall order as both food consumption and food production patterns are among the main causes of pressure on the environment. As such, there must be a fundamental change in the ways food is produced, processed, transported and consumed to achieve long term sustainable development . As the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states:

Agrifood systems develop within a finite and sometimes shrinking resource base. They therefore need to make use of natural resources in ways that are environmentally, economically, socially and culturally sustainable to conserve the ecosystem. Growth of agrifood systems must be inclusive, must target objectives beyond production (including efficiencies along the food chains) and must promote sustainable practices and diets.

Agrifood science and technology will be a key enabler to meeting this 2050 goal, however it will also require the transfer of digital technologies from outside the Agrifood sector to truly meet future challenges without damaging the environment.

The Jump Start Collaborative Network in Agrifood seeks to foster collaboration across the agriculture and food sectors, national governments, research organisations, international organisations, cities and both rural and urban communities to align cloud, mobile and cognitive services such as robotic process automation and machine learning, to help foster innovation, lift productivity and support sustainable long term sustained production and consumption of precious food supplies.