Experimenting with digitalisation: The past, present and future of agri-food research

December 10th, 2018

In the first week of December, The University of Queensland hosted the 25th annual Australasian Agri-food Research Network conference. Emma Jakku and I were lucky enough to attend. Key topics included financialisation, experimentation, rural livelihoods, sustainability and the implications of digitalisation.

Emma Jakku was part of a panel discussion on the future of agri-food research, policy and activism in the Anthropocene. She discussed her position alongside NGO, local council, and academic speakers.

I presented work on trends in agricultural advisory services in the context of digitalisation. The session discussed work on social innovations in the Australian grain sector, Indonesia agtech startups, and the virtualisation of Kenyan farming. Clear links to existing digitalisation of agricultural innovation systems thinking were evident.

The diversity of abstracts provided much to think about. An overarching theme being the importance of holistic food system thinking.  This systemic thinking was evidenced in practice by a special, collaboratively crafted, Newstead Brewing Company Beetroot and Peppercorn Bitter.  Utilising restaurant waste to feed produce, tended to by LOOP growers – Samford Valley, then creatively turned into a beautiful blushing brew.

By Simon Fielke, Digiscape postdoctoral fellow