The Power of Collaboration: Improving Food Security for BC and Beyond
AN IMPACT STORY
i-Open delivers geospatial technology solutions for a better planet. The organization and its subsidiaries drive business transformation through technologies for business process automation, achieving operational efficiencies, spatially-aware asset tracking, and enterprise-wide cost reductions. The company has a vast inventory of technology products and service methodologies that deliver solutions allowing for the integration of spatial and non-spatial data.
i-Open’s primary focus is on agriculture and climate change. The company is putting BC on the map by building a network of technology, business and government partnerships that catalyzes collaborative agritech innovation and the development of world-class technologies for food security.
Helping farmers reduce costs, safely grow more food and decrease carbon emissions
i-Open is an active partner in a number of Digital Supercluster projects, including DirectFood.store – Securing the Food Supply Chain and the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture. (AutoAg). Through the AutoAg project, a consortia of partners that also includes QuantoTech, Simon Fraser University, Terramera and Verge Ag are working together to develop the world’s first interactive planning software for precision and autonomous agriculture. This platform empowers farmers to better manage the growing season through efficient planning. A digital twin of the farm provides data on elements of the farm such as fields, crops, soil and equipment, allowing farmers to make decisions based on real-time insights. This data-based approach helps farmers reduce costs, safely grow more food and decrease carbon emissions associated with crop production.
For i-Open Technologies, participation with the AutoAg project has helped set the company’s trajectory for growth, thanks to the collaborative partnerships and accelerated advancement of the Agrilyze data analytics platform for precision agriculture – the first of its kind in BC.
“The space to dream and create, and the networking opportunities provided to us through the Digital Supercluster, have been unparalleled,” says Jonathon McIntyre, CTO at i-Open Technologies. “The work we are doing now, with the foundational pieces from the AutoAg project, is allowing us to contribute to the way food security is approached in our province.”
Leveraging technology advancements to build locally resilient food systems
i-Open has recently initiated a collaborative project known as the Abbotsford Food Asset Map, bringing together the University of the Fraser Valley, Archway Community Services and Fraser Health Authority to build resilient food systems that withstand supply chain disruptions and provide the community with sufficient access to food. Advancements made in the i-Open Agrilyze platform through the Digital Supercluster AutoAg project have helped make this project a success.
Agrilyze enables foodbanks, healthcare workers and researchers to analyze food asset locations in relation to individuals and families living in Abbotsford. Point data and choropleth maps of food assets within different census tracts of the city are visually displayed – including categories such as ‘local food producers and retailers’ or ‘local growers with restaurants or farm stores’ -highlighting the types of food assets available to individuals and families. Combining this map with other socioeconomic data such as housing, dwelling density and unemployment highlights neighbourhoods within the community where food security is an issue.
Continuing collaboration outside the Digital Supercluster frame to explore the role of vertical agriculture in BC
Another important BC-based food security initiative is a project being run by the Food and Agriculture Institute called The Potential Role of Vertical Agriculture in Sustainable and Resilient Community Food Systems. This project is being conducted in collaboration with QuantoTech Solutions Ltd. and i-Open Technologies Inc, a partnership that was also strengthened through the Digital Supercluster’s AutoAg project. This research explores urban agriculture, vertical farming and controlled-environment agriculture methods to address food system vulnerabilities associated with climate change, farm succession and using conventional agriculture methods.
Making BC a global player in the agritech marketingplace
Thanks to the determination, expertise and creative brainpower of Digital Supercluster Members such as i-Open Technologies, BC will enjoy more locally produced food and farmers will have new opportunities to optimally grow. By advancing AI-powered planning, i-Open is doing their part to protect our food supply chains, build prosperous farming communities and make British Columbia a global player in the agritech marketplace.Learn About the Abbotsford Food Asset Map View Research Outcomes of the Potential Role of Vertical Agriculture