From global challenges to local ones: linking communities around the world

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How do you connect young students from the developed world with people living in a small village in Kenya? How can you fight to preserve local Italian seed varieties that are becoming extinct, even if you are at the other side of the planet? How can you link a grand challenge (like feeding the increasing population of the planet) to a very local one (like helping a rural area to become more attractive to young families)? In the context of the CAPSELLA project, we are trying to make these exact connections and put the collective brain power of people interested in solving the pressing problems that matter.… Click to read the full post

European Policy Perspectives on Data-intensive Agriculture & Food

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How do European officials working on agriculture and food topics deal with the emerging data revolution in the sector? How can they be aware of the recent developments in a way that may inform their thinking? And how can they respond to the community needs by appropriately shaping the policy programs and support instruments?

This was the topic of a meeting that took place in Brussels on September 30th, 2016. The meeting was organised by the Big Data Europe project, in collaboration with the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Agroknow, being the Big Data Europe partners responsible for the food and agriculture sector, worked together with the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in order to invite to the meeting representatives from the European Commission (EC) DGs and a select group of community stakeholders.… Click to read the full post

Agroknow visits Canada to talk about big data in farms

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One of the fun things we did during our visit to Ontario this September was our meeting with Canada’s first NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges: Dr. Mike Duncan. With a specialization in Precision Agriculture and Environmental Technologies, the five-year mission of Mike as a NSERC Chair was to develop data-powered solutions for provincial and national farming communities.

Mike, Gregor MacLean and the Agriculture & Environment Innovation Center team at the Niagara College are focused on developing new ways to gather, process and disseminate the massive amounts of data gathered each day from Ontario farms, including the use of an experimental unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and field sensors.

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Can Europe lead a data revolution in agriculture and food?

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Let’s take a step to the near future.

A shared global data space for agriculture and food will propel the industry forward. Information will become available to all actors producing innovation. Analytical and decision making tools can incorporate a greater abundance of data sources. A digital economy may arise with online services and applications that use machine readable, interoperable and often publicly shared data. The necessary infrastructure components, including the technology, people, policy and business ones, may seamlessly integrate and work together.

 We believe that Europe is strategically positioned to lead such a transformation of the agriculture and food industry.Click to read the full post

A Common Data Ecosystem for Agriculture and Food? #GODANsummit2016

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We believe that for a data revolution to happen, agriculture and food need a fabric of interoperable and interplaying infrastructure layers. Having such an infrastructure in place, will make data sharing and exchange as natural to us, as it is to use the road or rail infrastructure to move from one country to another. This may become possible by the creation of a common data ecosystem, where diverse stakeholders (from smallholders to multinational conglomerates) will both build and use the infrastructures that will propel the industry forward.

Some months ago, Syngenta (with GODAN’s assistance) commissioned Dean Allemang to write a discussion paper that would try to catalyse consensus around what form a global data ecosystem might take, how it could bring value to key players, what cultural changes might be needed to make it a reality, and finally what technology might be needed to support it.… Click to read the full post

Application for OpenCon 2016 now open

Applications to attend OpenCon 2016 on November 12-14 in Washington, DC are now open! The application is available at http://www.opencon2016.org/apply. Applicants can request a travel scholarship, which will be awarded to most of those accepted. OpenCon seeks to bring together students and early career academic professionals from around the world who want to advance Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data—regardless of their ability to pay for travel costs. A program of keynotes, panels, workshops, hackathons, and meetings with policy makers will build participant’s skills in key areas, but the benefits of applying for OpenCon 2016 extend far beyond attending the Washington event.… Click to read the full post

Crete, London, Sofia: from data-powered ideas to a data ecosystem revolution

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From Crete, to London, to Sofia. I feel that during the past 30 days, some tectonic movements took place in our area of work. Our Open Harvest came first, assembling and connecting 30 handpicked experts from around the world. Offering them an oportunity and an environment to talk about enhancing collaboration, identifying elements of a common agenda, and sending a message to the rest of the world that the people that work on topics related to agriculture and food data management and sharing want to collaborate more. The experience was fulfilling, the outcome has been amazing: the Chania Declaration calls for stronger connections, more sharing, better alignment of the public and private sector.
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Harvesting open ideas from great minds: Open Harvest 2016

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The time has come again to open our home to the world. To invite good colleagues and friends, but to also welcome new people that we are meeting for the first time. To organise and host a special event, a unique gathering, a meeting of some select great minds, in order to discuss openness and information. Our Open Harvest series of events is kicking off this May in Chania, Crete. It aims to become a very special meeting and collaboration opportunity for people that work on various aspects of open sharing and discovery of information related to agriculture, food and the environment.… Click to read the full post

Digital Humanities & Agricultural Cooperatives: is there a link?

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Would you imagine that there is a connection between Europe’s digital cultural heritage library, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and agricultural cooperatives? Probably not. Which is the beauty of the whole thing: investigating whether this rich, common European heritage source can prove of relevance and value to people and activities that one would never consider. This is exactly what Agroknow has carried out during the last year of a large European project called Europeana Cloud – being a member of the ARIADNE Foundation that was a partner in the project. The project focused on how Europeana could prove to be a research resource to scientists working on areas related to the Humanities; that is, people working on topics such as history, philosophy, culture, theology and such.Click to read the full post

Safe travels, Erik

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Almost 15 years ago, during winter 2001-2002. We were still young graduate students with Pythagoras and Kostas, working late hours at the ASK research unit of ITI-CERTH in Athens. We were spending hours, trying to understand, digest and decompose the IEEE standard on Learning Object Metadata. And every time that we celebrated a small step forward, something better and sexier hit us from this guy: Metadata Principles and Practicalities. A LOM Research Agenda. Electronic Forms Must Die! To get us back in our worm hole to work for many more hours.

I vaguely remember the first time that I met him, in July 2002.… Click to read the full post