Combating global food insecurity with Next Step Global Farm Hand

How the winning team of the 2021 Call for Code University Challenge: Howard Hackathon for Environmental Justice will support subsistence for farmers around the world

Photo by raphaelfyi on Unsplash

This March, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), IBM, and Howard University partnered on the Call for Code University Challenge: Howard Hackathon for Environmental Justice. The challenge provided participants with opportunities to showcase their coding expertise, expand their professional portfolios, and digitally connect with a community of students dedicated to addressing global challenges. This year’s focus for undergraduate and graduate student designers from across academic disciplines was to develop unique digital prototypes and tools that help build more resilient communities impacted by climate change and tackle environmental injustices. The weeklong program engaged more than 175 students around the world this year in tackling these challenges that impact us all.

The winning team, Next Step Global Farm Hand, developed a solution to combat global food insecurity. The team of students from the Clinton School of Public Service, Western Governors University, and Berklee College of Music will provide resources and information to subsistence farmers in remote parts of the world to aid in crop selection and improve crop yield. Utilizing a geographic information system database, Next Step Global Farm Hand will compile data containing extensive environmental information on farmland, including soil, weather, water conditions, pests and other site conditions, and make it publicly available for farmers in remote villages who are otherwise difficult to reach and outside of ordinary supply chains. In addition, drones will be deployed to survey land, take soil samples, and deliver seeds and fertilizer compounds.

The platform will make recommendations for crop selection, fertilizer, pest control options, and specific farming techniques to maximize yield. The team will connect with partners, like the Clinton Development Initiative, to continue to develop the platform and make this information widely available to farmers.

In addition, Next Step Global Farm Hand will provide access to training and farming technique videos in a variety of languages. The team would also like to partner with local farming consultants familiar with local conditions and modern farming techniques to offer live consultations. By increasing their crop yield, farmers will be able to sell or trade excess crop to others in their community.

The team will receive $1,000 and support from the IBM Service Corps, technical experts, and ecosystem partners to incubate their technology and deploy their solutions on the ground in communities around the world. Congratulations to Next Step Global Farm Hand!

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Perspectives from the Call for Code community addressing COVID-19 and climate change. Call for Code was founded by David Clark Cause with partner IBM.

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CGI U is a growing network of young leaders who are developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

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