Fifty two ideas were submitted for our first GeoVation challenge of the year “How Can Britain Feed Itself?”. The GeoVation judging panel of Victoria Harris, Gary Gale, Roland Harwood and Peter ter Haar have chosen a short list of ideas to be developed at the “How Can Britain Feed Itself?” GeoVation Camp, 5-7 November, at the Hub King’s Cross, London.
The panel identified that a number of good ideas were addressing similar needs, challenges or opportunities and these have been grouped under the following GeoVation Camp “briefs” and the winners invited to develop their ideas further at GeoVation Camp. Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted and thanks to all who have registered for the challenge, posted ideas and comments.
Whether you were shortlisted or not we look forward to inviting you all to The GeoVation Camp to help flesh out these ideas, the most exciting of which will be chosen to go forward to the GeoVation Showcase next year . We will shortly post some questions to help in developing those ideas for GeoVation Camp. Details of how to register for the GeoVation Camp will be posted this week.
The shortlisted ideas are as follows:
Allotment Networks: Identify sufficient unused or underutilised land in rural and urban environments, to enable more to grow their own food locally. Produce sold to finance access to more land and development of local supporting infrastructures. A map, database and GIS analysis will help identify the supporting infrastructure requirements.
Best use of Council / Institution Land: A map and database developed for/by councils or other institutions could identify council properties where tenants do not use the gardens for growing crops and whose gardens which could be made available, with tenants’ permission, for cropping by others. Tenants would receive a proportion of the fruit and vegetables grown.
Community Land Use: The Zero Carbon Britain report suggests a land use strategy that would reduce agricultural, food and land-use carbon emission by 2/3 whilst increasing nutritional output, expanding production of crops for fuel and construction, enhancing biodiversity and sequestering emissions from other economic sectors. This strategy and implications need to be tested in detail within specific geographical areas while engaging transition and other modern ecological movements, through detailed mapping of potential land-use scenarios.
Food Miles Comparison: Calculating food mile comparisons to support shoppers’ purchasing decisions to reduce the carbon footprint, develop local jobs and incentivise local production. The objective is to develop a “distance comparison” website and mobile app for food shopping baskets that will determine food miles from product barcodes, using a routing application that utilise OS OpenData.
Food Nation: One challenge in producing, buying and selling locally is knowing who is selling what, when and for how much. Food Nation is about providing that information from local food outlets, through the Farm Retail Management Association api, smart phones or as a downloaded theme to your satnav device. This would encourage local purchases, build relationships with local food suppliers, enable group discounts on purchase of local produce and, longer term provide an outlet for home growers and sellers. It would also identify opportunities for producers to grow locally where demand is strong and current supply is poor.
Local Markets: A local “veggie swap” site, as a social network for allotmenteers, enabling participants to swap their locally produced “gluts”; and a website that enables smaller/home/allotment producers to trade with larger farm shop outlets are two approaches to supporting local production and local markets, with benefits to growers, farmers, consumers and the environment.
Local Resilience: Bees and other pollinating insects are essential to our crop, fruit and vegetable production and therefore our local production and consumption resilience; yet they are on the decline. Identify unused or underutilised land, such as railway embankments, to grow pollinator attracting plants is one possible approach. Address access problems by approaching the land owners, and custodians to take on the initiative and integrate it with their tree clearing policies at trackside.
Connecting Knowledge and Know-How (Ontology): Implementing an agro-ecological approach to addressing Britain’s food security, sustainably and effectively will require the connecting people and their knowledge and know-how (expertise, local knowledge, producer, buyer, seller) with the resources required to produce and consume sustainably (farms, allotments, produce, local markets). Developments in semantic information management enable us to create and link knowledge and know-how..
Very many thanks to everybody who took part.