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How much do we really know about our food? Our global food system is precariously reliant on large, non-agile systems that offer little information about the source of our food and leaves much of the world’s population struggling with food insecurity. The desire to better understand what makes it to our plate has sparked local and slow food movements, however, these strategies are not alone scalable to feed the next 2 billion people.

Caleb Harper, founder of the CityFARM research group at the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, is trying to solve this dilemma by leveraging prinicples that contributed to the rapid innovation of personal computing. Caleb recently launched the OpenAG network to develop the world’s first open source “Food Technology” data commons. He leads the anti-disciplinary group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists in the exploration and development of high performance urban agricultural systems.

Caleb is a consultant to multiple international development agencies on high-density low-income urban housing projects, and has worked professionally as an architect designing data centers, hospitals and fabrication facilities.


About the Speaker

Caleb Harper

Caleb Harper

Caleb Harper is the founder of the CityFARM research group within the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. He leads the anti-disciplinary group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists in the exploration and development of high performance urban agricultural systems. His current work focuses on the areas of building integrated with control environment agriculture, actuated sensing, control automation and data-driven resource and energy optimization.

Caleb has recently launched the OpenAG project, bringing together partners from industry, government and academia to develop the world’s first open source “AG Tech” research collective for the creation of the global agricultural data commons

In addition to his role at MIT, Caleb is a consultant to multiple international development agencies on high-density low-income urban housing projects and has worked professionally on development projects in the high tech space including data centers, healthcare and fab facilities.

Caleb holds a Masters from MIT, and Bachelors from Washington University in St. Louis and Baylor University and is deeply committed to the future of urban food and housing research at MIT.