Welcome to the PlantLab Playground Foundation

PlantLab's social innovation platform

Studying complex food systems in the world

The global food system is becoming increasingly complicated due to issues concerning energy, water, transportation, health, politics and national security. At PlantLab, we recognize the need for a paradigm shift in the way we design and implement large-scale solutions to food security.

studying other plant-related sustainability issues
There are a number of cases where PlantLab’s technology can also be used in solutions such as the prevention of scarcity and endangerment of particular plant species, and the support of small-scale farming.

Thus, we created the PlantLab Playground Foundation, a research program for students. By leveraging their resources and partnerships, the foundation aims to connect young minds with established academics and industry leaders in order to help solve integrated global food and plant-related sustainability issues.

 

Movie Presentation Plant Explorers 2014

* Consider, for example,

the integral role food could play in the health sector; or how we can feed the African continent using high-tech agriculture and a well connected supply chain; or the way food production and distribution can shape the design of smart cities. These ideas all reflect either a radical change in existing systems, or the creation of new systems altogether.
Click here to see more examples.

The purpose

To help solve global food related issues. In a number of instances, PlantLab can play a significant role in the solutions being developed to solve food system and plant-related sustainability issues.

 

The projects

Playground projects will give students the opportunity to think creatively about food system and sustainability issues, and the needs connected to both, by radically reshaping existing systems and creating new ones altogether.

 

The challenges

The complexity of the food system and many sustainability issues that exist on both global and local levels is something that students working on these projects will have to take into consideration. The multidisciplinary nature of these issues also means that experts from a variety of fields are required in order to develop a solution as a team.

 

The location

A PlantLab Playground project can be carried out in any location around the globe. We have also dedicated a large space in our new headquarters in Den Bosch in the Netherlands to the Playground.

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Students and Their Projects

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The multidisciplinary teams of academics will be using the ideas of Design Thinking, including identifying needs among potential users and early prototyping [pop up window]. University students from around the world will play a vital role in the success of Playground projects. On this website, both PlantLab and students can advertise potential projects about food systems needing to be researched and redesigned.

Interested applicants must be currently enrolled at a higher education institution. They can apply for a project by writing a letter of intent (LOI) where they detail how they will conduct the research, the number of people in the project group, the amount of time the project is expected to take and the estimated cost of the project. In addition to the letter of intent, a resume is required detailing the relevant skills and experiences of the team.

A committee made up of PlantLab staff and our partners will review proposals and invite selected applicants to the next round of the application process. Once the finalists have been selected, they will be provided with financing.

The project outcomes must be clear, specific and realistic; and the roles that food system stakeholders are expected to play must be clearly defined.

Design thinking may also involve behavioral design, or, persuasive design as it is called at Stanford (http://captology.stanford.edu/). The purpose of this is to look at the whole system around the desired behavioral change, and not simply focus on paternalistic change messages. This is similar to PlantLab influencing the growing conditions of plants, and not the plants themselves. The goal is to also be creative – not in terms of the messaging, but in conceptualizing the design of the project.

The students themselves have the lead role in Playground projects. Anyone is able to suggest a potential project, but only through the submission of an LOI will the project go ahead. We are open to surprising and innovative ideas and solutions, which would be limited if we managed the projects ourselves.

Potential research questions for Playground projects

  • How might we design a city centered around its food grid (production and distribution), followed by grids for transportation, water, energy and waste?
  • How might the distribution of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to consumers be transformed if produce is grown locally?
  • How can existing small-scale farmers in developing countries be included in the shift to high- tech agriculture, ensuring they benefit, rather than suffer from it?
  • How can we gain insight into consumers’ opinions on which crops are to be grown and their taste, nutritional value and quality preference?
  • How might we create a fully self-sufficient system that includes the supply of energy, water and CO2 production for PPUs?
  • How might we make food an integral part of the treatment process in hospitals and retirement homes, including involving patients in the growing process?
  • How can we make traditional medicinal plants available to the world in a sustainable way?
  • How can we provide small farmers and growers with vital young plants, since a good start is half the battle?

More Questions will follow but that is something the students will findout : )

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How can we make hospital food more nutritious?

Redesigning food systems in and around hospitals…

Students will be tasked with understanding how hospitals could use food systems to break the cycle of diet-related chronic diseases. This will require systems thinking, behavioral design, intense collaboration, and an ability to think way outside of the proverbial box. Though the ultimate solution should be scalable, it will first be tested in hospitals in one or two cities. Students on this project will work from the PlantLab Playground Headquarters.

How can we save plants species which are on the verge of extinction in the Amazon rainforest?

Source: http://www.articlesweb.org/natural-environment