S+T+ARTS in the City | Challenge nº8 | Driving Agricultural Sustainability: Empowering Smallholder Farmers with Digital Transformation

+ Consortium Partner

+ Problem Statement

How might we contribute to a more sustainable agriculture through digital transformation and a greater collaboration between smallholder farmers?

+ Keywords

Agriculture, Sustainability, IoT Technology, AI, Efficiency, Collaboration, Farmers

+ Description

Applicants are invited to collaborate with researchers of the Lusíada University (UL-VNF), localized in the municipality Vila Nova de Famalicão, in the North of Portugal, and together explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and ways to stimulate collaboration between small and medium-sized agricultural producers.

In an increasingly competitive and uncertain world, access to IoT technologies and real-time monitoring systems of the conditions surrounding a given process are becoming key to achieve more efficient, competitive and sustainable processes. At UL-VNF, researchers have explored and developed IoT technology that allows the monitoring of the type of soil, the type of cultivation and data referring to air and soil quality. Normally, georeferencing systems refer data to large areas of land. In this context, given the characteristics of the land distribution in the North of Portugal (often very fragmented between smallholder farmers), there is a need to map rural agricultural areas and to stimulate the collaboration between small and medium-sized agricultural producers to exploit this technology and take the maximum advantage of it.

Collaboration between farmers is essential, as the sharing of knowledge allows the collection of relevant and accurate information to feed the monitoring systems. As a result, this will allow the gathering of reliable analyses of the soil and air conditions to be shared with farmers, who will, then, be capable of taking more informed decisions on the type of products to be explored in their lands. Simultaneously, by collaborating and having access to enhanced information, farmers will be able to have a stronger “voice” in the society and markets.

+ Residency Characteristics

This residency welcomes projects addressing innovatively the challenges mentioned in the previous point. We are looking for proposals that aim to collaboratively develop an innovative and tangible citizen and arts-led output (product, process…), addressing the need for greater collaborations and the role of IoT/AI technology.

The selected artist(s) will collaborate with UL-VNF (main residency site), which will provide guidance and access to its facilities, labs and technology, and invite the artist to get to know and take part in discussions, analysis and feedbacks loops on the IoT technologies developed by UL-VNF. Simultaneously, UL-VNF will facilitate the contact with local farmers’ and the collection of information regarding their needs, goals… Three visits (minimum 1 week each) shall be organised to UL-VNF (beginning, mid-term and closer to the end of the residency) during the residency period. During these visits, besides other actions, the artist is expected to conduct activities to collect the information from local farmers (workshops and/or other innovative formats). The artist(s) will be supported to organise actions in different areas of the city Famalicão (at least 3 areas), to ensure diversity and relevance of information collected.

Local farmers’ involvement and scalability of the outcome(s) are important success factors for this project. To ensure the engagement of local farmers the selected artist(s) should be (i) a portuguese-speaking individual or (ii) a collective composed of at least 1 Portuguese-speaking individual. If needed, INOVA+ can support the identification of local stakeholders (individual farmers/ farmer organisations).

The outputs from the residency shall be presented locally (at minimum 2 events). Moreover, the artist is expected to deliver a presentable outcome of the residency, which will be considered for exhibitions at Sónar Barcelona, Ars Electronica Festival and/or the I Love Science Festival in Brussels.

+ Jury Day

The Jury Day will be held online between 21- 27 September 2023 (date TBC).

+ Useful Links