What on earth are Mars and IBM doing?


There are many discussions around the identification, registration and description of big datasets for agriculture, food and environment; but moving on from such introductory or academic exercises, how is big data actually used in practice for serving actual causes and solving real problems? An article on Wired shows a number of examples; however, we were looking for something bigger than that.

We recently came across the collaboration between IBM and Mars, which is expected to change the way that food safety is perceived; what these two giants (in technology and food context, respectively) are actually working on an index that will be a gold standard for food and health officials globally to understand what triggers contamination and the spread of foodborne diseases.… Click to read the full post

Things to know this Monday – The Open Food Network


OpenFoodNetworkSome time ago, we came across the Open Food Network (OFN); an initiative that aims to bring closer food producers, food hubs and other types of stakeholders, aiming to help people connect with local food producers.

We were happy to be able to make a connection with Myriam Bouré from OFN Scandinavia, who accepted our invitation for this short interview; her responses helped us understand more about the network and we hope that they will help you, too!

Could you tell us some things about you? What’s your educational background, interests and current affiliation?

My name is Myriam, I’m French. I studied business administration in ESSEC Business School, and majored in social entrepreneurship in 2007.… Click to read the full post

Opening up data for agriculture and nutrition: The GODAN initiative


agINFRA_logo_newOne of the hottest topics during the last years have been Open Data. Open Data is a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development by improving the economic opportunities for farmers and the health of all consumers. There have been and still there are are numerous efforts in several sectors, which aim to open up existing data and ensure that future data will be published in an open and interoperable way.

There are several cases for the agricultural sector as well and the one that comes to my mind right now are the agINFRA and SemaGrow projects; the former aims to design the grid- and cloud-based infrastructure for facilitating the management and access to agricultural data of various types, as well as propose a linked open agricultural data framework for the publication of agricultural data as linked data (including data types such as bibliographic, educational, germplasm, soil data, etc.).… Click to read the full post

Open data on what people eat?

An example of an indicator: % of households in a country consuming iodised salt. Not much data there...

I received an interesting question from some good colleagues in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative: can we have access to data about what people eat? The question originally focused on whether there exists a central database and/or very large dataset (including multiple years/countries) capturing what people eat.  This means not just caloric consumption per person, but what they actually consume.  For example – today I have consumed a small apple, half small melon, 5 pieces bacon. This got me into a little bit of thinking: do we have access to such data? And from what type of sources?… Click to read the full post