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Omaha’s First Food Computer @ Do Space

July 26 | BY Adrian Keegan, Community Technologist

Like food? How about computers? Omaha’s first food computer anyone?

A group of makers, programmers, educators, and students have recently embarked on a project to help create personal food computers in the Omaha area. Aside from just being a fun project, this group of “doers” saw the chance to build something for the community which provides countless opportunities for local food producers, educators, tinkerers, and future farmers to explore the potential of this innovative food system.

The food computer is an innovative approach to sustainable food production developed at MIT as part of the OpenAg Initiative. “A Food Computer is a controlled-environment agriculture technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber.” The MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative’s overarching goal is to bring out the farmer in everyone using personal food computers. By educating the farmers of tomorrow, we can create the workforce needed to feed our growing population. Technological innovation was a driving force behind the population growth of the 1900’s. Earth's population is projected to be over 9 billion by the year 2050. How will we feed all of these people? The farmers of tomorrow at MIT (consisting of data scientists and a range of other disciplines) have decided to devote their work and resources to provide a collaborative solution to this question.

Over the past month the members of the Omaha Maker Group (OMG), Whispering Roots, Community Heritage Labs, and faculty/students of UNO have been hard at work assembling Omaha’s first food computer. What started as an hour long meeting at Do Space to engage community interest, has evolved into the first steps towards promoting sustainable food production alternatives in Omaha. By merging access and education to food systems technology, we plant the seed that will produce the farmers and innovators needed to provide practical solutions for the challenges of future.

Have to see it to believe it? The food computer will be on display in the Do Space 3D Lab on Wednesday, July 27th from 2pm to 3pm. Members of the team that built the food computer will be on hand to tell you more about its capabilities and construction as well as answer any questions.

For more information, visit http://www.omahafoodcomputers.org/