At Iowa Hunger Summit, Open Data Showcase Highlights Food Security

October 24, 2012

The annual Iowa Hunger Summit gathers leaders from across Iowa representing a wide variety of sectors and organizations that lead or participate in projects to confront hunger. Among the sessions held at this year’s Summit was the Open Data Showcase, organized by USAID and featuring the Food Security Open Data Challenge that was launched in May of this year.

The Challenge convenes food security experts, data scientists, technological and social entrepreneurs, and other development professionals to use public data sets to build innovative solutions in the field of food security and agriculture.

By bringing these diverse groups together at the same table, food security and data experts can link up entrepreneurs and programmers with open-source datasets that will help them develop cutting-edge mobile phone applications and other technological tools. These tools, in turn, can help reduce hunger when users increase their knowledge and improve their decision-making on agriculture and nutrition. For example, one of the results of the Challenge is a new app that helps rural farmers and policymakers determine optimal crops for planting based on their location and climate, as well as data on soil and market prices.

The Food Security Open Data Challenge is part of the U.S. Government’s broader Open Data Initiative, which seeks to increase the availability and usability of data for greater innovation, entrepreneurship and impact.