screenshot from FarmCraft 2021 ( North America Scholastic Esports Federation/YouTube)

Can Minecraft promote worldwide biotech?

To promote understanding of the uses of biotechnology for agriculture, the State Department is turning to video games – more specifically, the world of Minecraft.

The State Department’s Office of American Spaces and Office of Agricultural Policy will be working with the World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation to build Farmcraft 2.0, a Minecraft-based game in which teams tackle international agricultural issues and the role of biotechnology as they create agricultural systems that mimic real-world production, trade and environmental conditions. The new challenge builds on the Foundation’s Farmcraft 2021 challenge, a State Department-sponsored game in which international students aged 8 to 11 adapted various agricultural production techniques to successfully create farms and grow food across different environmental biomes.

Farmcraft 2.0 will allow participants to explore how agricultural biotechnology and other tools can overcome real-world challenges, including the effects of climate change, according to the program’s statement of work. The goal of the outreach program is to promote STEM/STEAM careers and help foreign audiences better understand the concepts underlying agricultural sustainability, which supports U.S. agricultural policy,

On top of the esport challenge, the contractor will provide informative videos from experts and enable virtual exchanges between participants and direct interactions between participants and experts.

The game is expected to help foreign audiences better understand and engage with the biotechnology concepts that underlie agricultural sustainability.

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.


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