How can we use data for improving food production?


Food security is one of the hottest topics nowadays; with a constantly growing population that is expected to reach (and even exceed) 9 billion by 2020, and the traditional food production systems reaching their limits, new, innovative ways need to be followed in order to ensure that there will be enough food for everyone in the upcoming years. What is strange is that at the same time, huge amounts of food are going to waste on a daily basis; in EU alone, more than 100 million tones of food are going to waste annually.

Intensive and industrial agriculture exhibit higher yields of cultivated crops but the price is high: The (increasingly high) use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers, among other chemicals, has its toll on the ecosystems, flora and fauna at a small and larger scale.… Click to read the full post

Open Source Agriculture? Meet the OpenAg Initiative!


It must have been more than ten years since I did my MSc and PhD in Agricultural Biotechnology; both of them focused on the study of effects of artificial and controlled sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus deprivation on corn plants grown hydroponically. I was also using a controlled plant growth chamber that allowed me to control environmental aspects like temperature, light and humidity – big enough to fit hundreds of plants and 4-5 people. Since my work involved the use of antibodies and the analysis of proteins, RNA & DNA, I was constantly wearing my clean, white lab coat, like the one that the guys and girls in the following picture wear.… Click to read the full post

Call to Action: How can we improve agriculture, food and nutrition with open data?

GODAN Discussion Paper

GODAN Discussion PaperWhile the GODAN Discussion Paper was presented during the International Open Data Conference 2015 (IODC15) , GODAN made a call for contributions on the theme of the Paper: “How can we improve agriculture, food and nutrition with open data?“.

The point is simple: What has been depicted in the report was the status of open data in agriculture and nutrition at a specific time, as seen by a limited number of people (the GODAN Secretariat, the ODI team and some more people, among others): Due to the tight deadline, it was not possible to contact as many people as we would like and to have their opinions expressed in the report; on top of that, there was a clear limitation in the total size of the report (regarding the number of pages), as a typical, long report would not be as usable and efficient as we would like it to be – and we wanted the report to be easy to use!… Click to read the full post

The GODAN Discussion Paper is (almost) ready to go public!


It has been more than one month since I started working as an external consultant/researcher for the GODAN White Paper, after my tender for the corresponding GODAN/Open Data Institute call was accepted – this work is now (almost?) over. Since then, there has been a lot of work (and I mean a lot!) in the context of this report:

  • identified more than 30 use cases making use of open agri-food and nutrition data (less than half of them made it in the final version of the paper – I admit that some of them were weaker than the others),
  • drafted additional parts of the paper,
  • collected more than 40 related references (including publications, articles, blog posts, reports, presentations etc.),
  • interviewed several people looking for substantial feedback in terms of insights and quotes for the potential and current issues of open agricultural data,
  • compiled lists of open agri-food datasets, data sources and other types of resources (like repository software, data management software and other tools),
  • collected quotes and other bits from the preliminary GODAN survey results

This was a time-consuming analysis that was reported in about 35 pages, including text, lists and tables (also some images and screenshots at some point).… Click to read the full post

Join the agri-food lab of the Greek Open Data Day 2015


ODI Athens logoThe Greek Open Data Day 2015 (#ODD15GR) will take place on Saturday 28/2/2015, at the beautiful premises of the Innovathens, in the heart of Athens, Greece. It is organized by ODI Athens / EEL/LAK, along with several important Greek organizations and initiatives working on open data in Greek (including Agro-Know of course – see our previous post for more info). This half-day event consists of a number of plenary sessions, accompanied by parallel labs/workshops that will focus on different aspects of open data, such as open data in research & education, open data & eGov etc.… Click to read the full post

Showcasing the impact of Open Data in the agricultural sector

Could we develop showcases that could show to governments the impact of open data? This is exactly what we are trying to do in the Greek Open Data Working Group.
The Open Data Working Group operated in the context The Greek Free/Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) was set up two years ago and aims at proposing to the Greek Government answers about the following questions
  • which are the most useful and critical data from public sector that should be opened
  • which are the main barriers for the dissemination and exploitation of open data by citizens and stakeholders from public and private sector
  • which should be the legal framework for opening the data


The main initial outcome of the working group towards that direction is a set of showcases per sector in order to show the social and economical impact of open data.
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Open AGRIgate: Opening up agricultural data through a challenge


The agINFRA project is a FP7 project that aims todevelop a shared infrastructure and computationally empowered services for agricultural research data that allow for producing and transferring scientific and technological results into effective agricultural practice. A key element will be achieving a higher level of interoperability between agricultural and other data resources“. In simple words, the agINFRA project aims to facilitate access to agricultural data by developing the necessary infrastructure and working on a linked agricultural data framework that will allow not only easier access to agricultural data, but at the same time it will enable their linking and interoperability with related data sources outside the agricultural sector.… Click to read the full post