The Department of Zoology and the Oxford Martin School have received a significant philanthropic donation from the Login5 Foundation to undertake research on digital solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture. Agriculture is a major driver of humanity’s most pressing environmental problems.
A key challenge is finding solutions that can scale up to the world’s 570 million farms. Digital tools, like mobile phone applications, are highly scalable and could reach millions of farms with environmental monitoring, benchmarking, advice, and incentives. New funding from the Login5 Foundation
will support an ambitious project to explore the role of digital tools in improving agricultural sustainability.
The project will expand a data platform called HESTIA which has been developed at the Oxford Martin School with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature. HESTIA, the flagship output of the Oxford Martin Programme on Food Sustainability Analytics
, allows environmental impacts to be calculated from farmer data.
The new project will connect existing digital tools that farmers are using already to the HESTIA data platform. This will allow farmers to understand their greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity impacts, water use, and other impact indicators and receive advice on how to improve them. The project will then use field trials in different countries to quantify the effects of these tools on farmer behaviour.
"This is an incredible opportunity to continue building the HESTIA data platform and to undertake a large-scale experiment that seeks to improve the sustainability of farms worldwide. We are extremely grateful to the Login5 Foundation for making this potentially transformative work possible," said Joseph Poore, Co-Investigator on the project.
Professor E J Milner-Gulland, Principal Investigator on the project said, "The global food system must be transformed for the sake of our planet's health as well as our own. This project will look at ways to achieve this using a farmer-led approach, by providing farmers worldwide with ways to improve their sustainability."
Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin School said, "This is an important and potentially transformational project. We are enormously grateful to the Login5 Foundation for their support and look forward to working with them on these challenging issues."The Login5 Foundation is the family foundation of the Login family with a vision of providing a better and more sustainable world for humanity. Their projects include LoginEKO, which is seeking to establish a new data-driven model of sustainable ecological large-scale farming.
"In our quest for a quantum leap in sustainable agriculture, HESTIA will provide an important piece of the puzzle," said Samo Login of the Login5 Foundation. "Our existing project in this area – LoginEKO – aims to create technologies that will enable sustainable organic food production in sufficient quantities to feed all of humanity. Just like HESTIA we also intend to share our knowledge and software for free. We are looking for all kinds of technology partners as the time we have left to reinvent agriculture is very limited."