Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

AgroAdapt: Cultivate the future - A simulation game for anticipatory climate governance and climate-resilient agrifood system transformation

Designing projects and policies to address climate change risks to agriculture often includes a linear process where a limited number of modeling studies are prepared for consideration by a limited number of stakeholders within the government and key beneficiary groups. These studies represent the best approximation of the future for agriculture under climate change conditions, and management strategies are developed accordingly. However, agrifood systems are complex, and the effects of climate change are uncertain. There may be multiple possible futures for the agrifood system, and each will have different impacts on agrifood system stakeholders.

The objective of this simulation game is to allow and support policymakers and stakeholders to envision multiple future scenarios in a collaborative setting, fostering understanding, experimental learning, and better-informed decision-making through a dynamic, user-intuitive setting capable of simulating multiple futures from the perspectives of different stakeholders.

The game is played in a hybrid format involving tabletop gameplay in small teams and computer-assisted simulations controlled by a game master. The gameplay flows between a series of rounds that follow simulations reproducing global data on crop production, land suitability from GAEZ and climate variables under different climate scenarios with chance elements introduced to account for the random nature of extreme climate events.

Each team is assigned the role of a specific stakeholder group, such as a policy maker, farmer, or community leader, with each role involving its own set of powers and limitations, creating trade-offs that need to be managed. While each team is trying to manage its own challenges, all teams are also encouraged to work together to manage climate risk. The interaction, both within and between teams, aims to make the game engaging while ensuring that the gameplay also rhymes with real-life challenges.

The concept of the simulation game was inspired by the team's experience working with government policymakers to design policies and projects to address climate change risks to agriculture. The current project is the recipient of the Innovation Fund award and Incubation Program from the Office of Innovation. Initiated in March 2023, this project is expected to complete in December 2023.