Data Is Key

The Lempert Report
January 16, 2018

We talked about this very issue in our 2018 Trends Forecast.

There is little doubt that those in the food world that do not understand how to use data are doomed to fail. Blockchain technologies may well be the solution, or downfall, for many. 

The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative is working to promote food security worldwide through increased data-sharing. 

 A recent study at Harvard addressed just how data can address hunger and food insecurity with meaningful results.  

Almost 25 percent of the City of Baltimore's population lives in food deserts. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) mapped this disparity in access to healthy food via its Maryland Food System Map project. 

Johns Hopkins collected data from government databases and through primary collection. The map includes over 175 data indicators, such as the location of supermarkets, food pantries, and farms, and the percent of the population in a region that is food insecure. 

The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative has used the tool to determine where to target resources for B'More Fresh, a city initiative to expand and retain supermarkets and improve non-traditional grocery retail options.  

Another example cited is Mississippi's free or reduced-cost lunch program was only serving 70-80 percent of eligible students, failing to meet the federally mandated level of 95 percent. They used interagency data-sharing to more effectively identify children eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch. 

As a result, fewer students are going without food throughout the school day in Mississippi, and the state's matching compliance went up above the mandated 95 percent mark.  

Here’s why data, and it’s use, is so important On a global scale, there is 20 percent more food available than is needed worldwide, yet there are still over 800 million people around the world who go to bed hungry each night.