Our world is changing around us in many ways, and the climate crisis is proving to be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. As temperatures rise, our food systems around the world are feeling the effects of this man-made phenomenon. This reinforces the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions as well as adapt to climate impacts. We must promote sustainable development in all areas, especially in the conservation and sustainability of our agricultural systems.
Although we all consume food every day, there is a disconnect between the needs of modern agriculture and the challenges many farmers face due to climate change. So few of us really know where our food comes from, and teachers don’t always have the tools to raise awareness and teach about this important topic. That’s why NASEF Farmcraft was developed.
Farmcraft is global eSports competitions organized by the non-profit organization NASEF and the US Department of State. It is for students in grades 3-12, and participation is free for students from all over the world. This year we had participants from 68 countries! Teams register with the support of a teacher or other adult sponsor and take part in a variety of activities that teach about the connections between modern agriculture, climate change and biodiversity.
The essence of the program is to use the world of Minecraft, which was specially created to solve agricultural problems in 5 different biomes. Using this world, students take part in missions in the world of Farmcraft during the regular season, and more than 500 teams from around the world registered this year to compete in a fun and safe learning environment.
“Why Farmcraft? Because we have to take learning to where people are and to a context they find useful,” said Adam Cornish, a policy analyst and co-director of Farmcraft at the US State Department. “Students (and even some adults) can jump into Farmcraft and start learning right away using a game system they’re familiar with.”