Inspire Challenge

Sustaining Farm Income

Sustainability is a complex concept at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Food systems worldwide are threatened from at least as many directions:  global human population growth and trends in consumption, climatic shocks and variability, depleting soils, and degrading ecological support functions for agriculture, to name a few. Intensifying agricultural production to meet human demand will require widespread adoption of sustainable practices that contribute to the resilience of landscapes, the biosphere, and the Earth if agriculture itself is to remain viable.

Moving whole food and farming systems towards long-term sustainability and resilience in the face of multiple shocks will require continually diagnosing vulnerabilities and discovering solutions, but this will not be sufficient. We also need new models for operationalizing the solutions and protecting the most vulnerable, driving food system transformation with the agility and adaptability made possible by digital technologies. Farm income is one key incentive.

This Inspire project drives towards digital models that sustain farmer income and the biosphere. This could take many forms: novel digital methods of linking small producers and consumers or links in a value chain; monetizing farm and farmer data responsibly and in service of global sustainability; digital financial products that build resilient farmer income or link regenerative practices with markets–and many more. These are only indicative. The global food system needs your new digital business models. Surprise us.

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