Our world is changing around us in so many ways, and the climate crisis is proving to be one of the paramount challenges of the 21st century. As temperatures rise, our food systems across the globe feel the impacts of this man-made phenomenon. This heightens the pressing need to mitigate our carbon emissions, as well as adapt to climate impacts. We need to foster sustainability across all spheres, especially in the preservation and resilience of our agricultural systems.
Despite the fact that we all consume food every day, there is a disconnect between the needs of modern agriculture and challenges many farmers face due to climate change. So few of us truly know where our food comes from and teachers do not always have tools for raising awareness and educating on this important topic. This is why NASEF Farmcraft was developed.
Farmcraft is a global esports competition hosted by the nonprofit NASEF and the U.S. Department of State. It is aimed at students 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 an educator or other adult sponsor and take part in a wide variety of activities that teach about the connections between modern agriculture, climate change, and biodiversity.
The crux of the program lies in the use of a Minecraft world that has been specifically constructed to address agricultural challenges across 5 diverse biomes. Using this world, students take part in mission-based challenges within the Farmcraft world during the regular season, and over 500 teams from around the world registered this year to compete in a fun and safe learning environment.
“Why Farmcraft? Because we need to bring learning to where people are and in a context that they find to be useful,” said Adam Cornish, policy analyst and Farmcraft co-lead at the U.S. Department of State. “Students (and even some adults) are able to jump into Farmcraft and immediately begin learning using a gaming system that they’re familiar with.”