Imagining new technology solutions to age old problems on the farm.
“How are we going to feed X billion people by the year ____?”
A historical refrain from corporate agribusiness, academia, national policy makers and, increasingly today, investors and technologists in innovation hotspots like Silicon Valley. But with only 60 global harvests remaining due to soil degradation, the compounding feedback loop between agriculture and climate change, and nearly a billion of our current population starving or undernourished and another billion of them overweight or obese, it begs the question of whether this is the right problem for which our food system should be solving. Some even argue, including the designers of this course, that this question is responsible for the various existential crises we face today.
This course will examine the history of agricultural innovation and technology to look for insights as to why our food system has gone so far off the rails. We will utilize the Stanford Educational Farm as a scaled-down model of our agricultural systems, where each student will step into the role of a modern, large scale farmer under simulated conditions. Through gamified scenarios based on real-world challenges faced by farmers, students will gain a deeper understanding of the problems facing our agriculture. Based on this nuanced understanding, students will propose new and novel uses of existing and/or emerging technologies to solve these problems. These ideas will be circulated in the marketplace of your peer farmers, where ideas will either be adopted, modified and built upon, or abandoned. This process will tap into, challenge, and hone your creative problem solving abilities. In the end, we will see who has what it takes to fundamentally shift the course of our food system.
This class is for students who are (a) aspiring ag-tech entrepreneurs (b) generally interested in emerging technologies or (c) seeking a deeper understanding of how large scale agriculture works.
Co-founder and Director of the FEED Collaborative at Stanford
Co-Founder of the FEED Collaborative at Stanford
Email Matt Rothe (email@example.com)