When you buy your groceries, the best and brightest fruits and veggies have usually traveled across the country and sometimes across the world to get to you. This supply chain bypasses the perfectly fresh produce local to your community. Our traditional market practices have enormously high transportation and carbon costs, create massive amounts of wasted food, and may leave our local farmers with unsustainable businesses.
So what can we do to address these problems?
“Weatherizing my home? What does that mean?” “I’m only renting. Why should I care?” “That sounds complicated and expensive.”
These are common responses Kathy Huynh would hear from renters living in the lower-income apartment complexes where she spent time volunteering as an Energy Master. Energy Masters is a program focused on providing information and services for under-invested communities in Arlington and Alexandria. The objective is to help residents decrease their energy and water usage and utility bills, while, ideally, increasing comfort levels in units.
When Charles Clancy helped launch Virginia’s Smart City Innovation Competition in January, he mentioned that, despite being MITRE’s Chief Futurist, his job didn’t come with a crystal ball.
Instead, he told the hundred or so innovators participating in the month-long hackathon—the first of its kind in Virginia—that his job is to think beyond the challenges facing the government today, focus on likely challenges in the future, and ensure that MITRE has talent with the schooling and smarts to prepare for those problems.
Approximately 2 billion people lack regular access to sufficient quality food. The issue of global food insecurity is one that is constantly being looked at and, fortunately, MITRE is stepping up to help mitigate this problem. Dr. David E. Willmes discusses his team’s project and how it uses significant crop and consumption data to better understand the factors at play in this global problem.