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What next?

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What Next
© University of Cambridge
Thank you for joining us on Improving Food Production with Agricultural Technology and Plant Biotechnology. Congratulations for reaching the end of the course – you’ve come a long way! We hope this course has developed your interest in plant biotechnology, agricultural technology, food science or all three topics.

Summary

We started by considering some of the challenges plant-based food production faces. While all three areas covered by the course are affected by similar challenges, each also faces its own specific challenges. Many of these are related to environmental change and the need to feed a growing population. Now you’ve seen examples of research and technology designed to address these challenges, how optimistic do you feel about the future of food production?

In Week 1, you focused on growing crops and how plant biotechnology can help to create healthier, higher-yielding and more resilient varieties – such as potatoes resistant to blight, or wheat with larger and longer grains. We also showed you some alternatives to plant biotechnology, such as biological control. In future, which of these methods do you think will be most widely used? Or do you think a combination of different solutions is the best way forward?

In Week 2, you compared your perceptions of agricultural technology to current technology used in the field – were you surprised at how high-tech agriculture is already? Machines and technology such as soil sensors are constantly being improved to respond to the challenges farmers face, such as weed control. You saw an example of a robotic weeding machine and delved deeper into ongoing research into robots. What did you think about robots working in fields?

In Week 3, you discovered the changes crops go through which make post-harvest processing important to preserve food for as long as possible. You learnt what these processes are, and how they’re not always just for convenience but also to keep food looking and tasting better. You met researchers who are identifying useful components in food by-products, as well as making food safer for people with intolerances and allergies. In light of what you’ve learnt, how do you feel about the processes your food goes through?

To discuss

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on what you’ve learnt over the last three weeks, and what you’re going to do next.

Here are a few things you might like to share with us and other learners:

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt? Did any of the case studies particularly inspire you?
  • How has the course impacted on your view of where your food comes from and what processes it goes through? Will this affect your choices as a consumer?
  • Do you feel optimistic about the future of food?
  • What will you do next as a result of completing the course?
  • Is there another EIT Food course you’d like to join?
  • Would you like to study plant, agricultural or food science further? How do you plan to do this?

If you have any questions about any of the topics we’ve covered, you could ask your teacher or tutor at your school or university to direct you towards further resources. The course may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue learning!

EIT Food offers many other courses to help you further explore our food systems. You can continue your journey by joining us on our next course, Introduction to Food Science, which begins on 05/10.

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Improving Food Production with Agricultural Technology and Plant Biotechnology

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