Behind the Scenes at the AgChain Hackathon

29 11 2021

The video below presents a behind-the-scenes view of the AgChain Hackathon held at Egerton University, Kenya, from November 15 to 17. It was recorded by Nurvitria Kristofikova, a Program Director at AgUnity and core team member of our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”





Webinar: To Block or Not – Exploring the Use of Blockchain in Last-Mile Agriculture Communities

17 10 2021

Webinar: October 26, 2021, 8am-10am (EDT). Register (for free) here.

Traceability. Transparency. Trust.

Food systems built on these principles generally are known to attract higher price premiums by increasing consumer confidence and value for the products. This creates income earning opportunities for producers and upgrades the quality of agri-food value chains. Blockchain technology is heralded for its ability to improve traceability, trust, and trust in agri-food value chains. What is lesser known is whether it is a viable technology for those value chains that originate in last-mile agricultural communities.

This webinar explores the contexts in which blockchain offers real solutions to strengthening value chains and its potential for creating social impact, like improved food security or engaging youth in agriculture. For the optimist and the skeptic, this two-hour webinar aims to discard the trendiness of the emerging technology and take a pragmatic view of the opportunities to use blockchain to strengthen last-mile agriculture.

Webinar Host – Ralph Hall, Virginia Tech

Technology Panel: 8am – 9am (ETD)

Views from the Field Panel: 9am – 10am (ETD)





VT News Article on AIVs Project in Kenya

9 07 2021

Virginia Tech recently published the article below on our USAID LASER PULSE-funded African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) supply chain project in Kenya.





USG Workshop – DEI, Sustainability, and CWB

8 07 2021

On Friday, July 9, I will be taking part in the first USG (Universities at Shady Grove) strategic planning workshop that will focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sustainability/Regenerability, and Community Wealth Building (CWB).  

Andrew Schell (from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) will lead the discussion on DEI, Jessica Hardy (Virginia Tech PhD student) will lead the discussion on Sustainability/Regenerability, and I will conclude the workshop with a discussion on CWB. The workshop will be hosted by Anne Khademian (Executive Director, USG), Ike Leggett (a former executive of Montgomery County, Maryland), and Kevin Beverly (President & CEO of Social & Scientific Systems).

The workshop is open to the public, but registration is required.





“This Is USG” Video Podcast on Community Wealth Building

24 06 2021

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of talking with Prof. Anne Khademian, the Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), about a wide range of topics related to USG’s new strategic planning process. Our conversation covers why I decided to travel to the USA (over 20 years ago!) to study in the Technology and Policy Program at MIT, and how my subsequent research on sustainable development and binary economics/inclusive capitalism, led me to the emerging movement of Community Wealth Building (CWB).





EU Green Week 2021

21 05 2021

On June 1, I will be presenting at a partner event of the 2021 EU Green Week, organized by the Center for Sustainability Research (CSR) at Stockholm School of Economics in partnership with the EU Commission. The event schedule can be viewed below. The live webinar is based on a new edited volume on Sustainable Consumption and Production: Challenges and Development, and will bring together researchers from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

I will be speaking with my colleague Dr. Shyam Ranganathan, during the second session about an inclusive capitalism approach to sustainable production and consumption. The live event is free, but you will need to register for the first and second sessions separately.





Co-designing A Research Partnership

30 03 2021

The USAID LASER PULSE Network just released the short story below on how we implemented a co-design process with our partners – AgUnity and Egerton University in Kenya – for our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

The story talks about our desire to blend the research and translation process from the beginning of our proposal development for the following three reasons: 

(1) We expected research activities to bring up new questions that would need to be addressed to produce an impactful research translation product. The research team members are able to return to the field to get answers for the research translation team to continue to refine the app.

(2) Collaboration and partnership are essential for impact. Development in general must continue to break down silos between disciplines and professions in order to meet the needs of the individuals we are trying to serve through this research. Collaboration facilitates the rapid problem solving and creativity that impact generation requires. 

(3) Working collaboratively is a lot of fun! It stimulates passions and shared interests, facilitates out of the box thinking, and learning. So far, we have been able to provide training to each other, talk about new and innovative ways to address nutrition, discuss unique avenues to scale the project and ensure sustainability, and share our own passions and interests in travel, food, and family.

Source





Book Chapter – Completing the Cycle

22 03 2021

A new co-authored book chapter – with Prof. Shyam Ranganathan – entitled “Completing the Cycle: An Inclusive Capitalism Approach Linking Sustainable Consumption and Production,” has just been published in Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume I: Challenges and Development.

Abstract

In this chapter, we present an inclusive capitalism approach, which completes the environmental-production-income and distribution-consumption cycle by treating sustainable consumption and production as two sides of the same coin. There are two divides that our approach to inclusive capitalism bridges—one between income earned from capital ownership and from wages, and the other between the human production of goods and services and the impact these activities have on the environment. We analyse different mechanisms to bridge these divides and show that our proposal—broadening the distribution of capital ownership using future earnings of capital and directing this income towards sustainable production and consumption—presents a holistic solution to growing environmental problems and income inequality. In addition, we also achieve the politically desirable goal of participatory economic life through this mechanism.





Future of Work – Recording of IIHCC Conversation

14 03 2021

If you missed our conversation on the Future of Work last week and would like to watch a recording of the session, it can now be accessed by clicking on the image below.

https://www.provost.vt.edu/destination_areas/areas_of_focus/da_iihcc/iihcc-forum.html




Talk on the Future of Work

24 02 2021

If you are interested in the Future of Work, please consider joining Prof. Sylvester Johnson, Prof. Suqin Ge, and I, from 12-1pm (EST), on Monday, March 1, for a discussion that will explore the following questions:

  • How is the digital economy affecting present and future labor opportunities?
  • Is AI replacing more jobs than it creates?
  • Are there gender disparities in the impact of automation?
  • What is the relationship between economic growth and real wages?
  • Should universal basic income play a role?

To register for the event click here.

This talk is part of Virginia Tech’s Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities (IIHCC) Destination Area.