Deep in the Jordanian desert you might be surprised to find a team of academics, computer scientists and humanitarians buzzing around washing-machine sized boxes, punching code into nearby laptops. In a country where a mere 10 percent of the land is suitable for cultivation, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
Early in 2017, WFP’s Innovation Accelerator teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg) to send ten high-tech Food Computers to Jordan. It’s an unconventional project with a very real ambition; to help design a healthy, next-gen food system that provides nutritious food in the most extreme conditions.
The futuristic innovation is the latest in a long line of new ideas supported by WFP’s Innovation Accelerator that plan to strengthen a global food system increasingly under threat. A changing climate, weather shocks and emergencies are affecting where and how we produce food, the yield and nutritional value. Take into account the growing global population and it becomes clear that we need to move our thinking beyond age-old land, water and air inputs to ensure nobody goes hungry. As the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) points out, “meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require a profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide.”