No explosions, car chases, space ships…but fun nonetheless, ( oh and educational)
There’s food on the table, but where does it come from? The fact is that for many children today, the knowledge beyond the local grocery store of where their food comes from can be vague to non existent.
Two new games, Farmers 2050, and Journey 2050 seek to educate people about where food comes from and the factors in play as we head towards 2050 and of feeding a world population of 9 billion.
Lindsey Verhaeghe is responsible for “Community Investment” with the Agri-business “Nutrien”*.Listen
There have been many attempts to educate using video games, with mitigated success and interest, and you might think a farming game would be among them.
Apparently this is not the case.
As a result, industry experts, educators and non-profit organizations collaborated on a school program called, Journey 2050. This free, curriculum-based resource uses a virtual farm game to engage students in a discussion about sustainable agriculture.
In fact it’s sparked such interest that a home version was created, Farmers 2050, and has also had great success,
With only a few months exposure, Farmers 2050, now has over 150,000 downloads since October.
Both of the games are free downloads, and while one is a curriculum-based resource, the other for home fun and use, both create virtual farm situations to engage players in a discussion about sustainable agriculture.
Players can buy land, plant up to eight crops, including fruit, and or raise dairy cattle, chickens and bees. The higher the level you attain, the more land you can buy. You can also sell to a corporate entity, or other farmers, or even produce end-use food products with a deal you make with business owners.
The idea that the Agri-business came up with was to inform in an interactive and fun way about world food sustainability.
It features various world scenarios based on actual information, and yes it might also throw in a weather disaster, like flood or drought, that farmers do have to cope with.
Verhaeghe points out that there are some other farm games on the market, but they tend to offer myths and misconceptions…like chocolate milk cows for example.
She also says that players get exposed to the many associated careers that farming involves, not merely being the farmer themselves.
She notes the a major point of the game is to balance social, economic, and environmental footprint, to better understand the concepts of both local and global sustainability.
Verhaeghe says with feedback and suggestions from users, the popular game may continueto be developed and improved. As it is, she says it’s helping people understand the complexities of not just farming itself, but the food supply system (oh and it’s fun too!)