The Copernicus Project drew thousands of 2019 SXSW-goers through its doors. It challenged their perceptions about the food system. It brought them along on a journey -- a journey of discovery, of truth-seeking and of exploration.
And thousands of minds now see the food system (and its myriad components) in a whole new way.
The success of The Copernicus Project comes one year after Land O’Lakes, Inc. made its experiential debut at South by Southwest with The Food Effect. While last year’s activation focused on opening a dialogue around food production, this year’s space had a more audacious objective: A conversation around the fact humans are not at the top of the food chain.
In fact, there is no chain. It’s a web. And that message resonated instantly.
“The Copernicus Project is the coolest thing I’ve seen at South by Southwest this year. Bravo Land O’Lakes, Inc. for pushing this message out into the world,” chef, writer and food aficionado Andrew Zimmern said on Twitter.
It was the tangible nature of The Copernicus Project that helped attendees peer into the future of agriculture, learn about the critical role technology plays on the farm and explore the complexity -- and at times sheer beauty -- of the food system:
A Measure of Now: An interactive art installation lets guests provide their opinion on different agriculture, health and food issues.
The Beautiful Food Web: A sculpture illustrates the interconnectedness of our food system and its effect on health, technology, the economy and culture.
The Truth About Biodiversity: An immersive, mesmerizing infographic experience reveals shocking and empowering facts about biodiversity, agriculture, scarcity and our diets.
Us to Dust: Guests take on the role of a nanobot to explore larger-than-life food items and understand how technology is improving their everyday viability to overcome disease, adapt to environmental changes and help farmers do more than ever before.
The project's focus on the intersection between health, technology and food security drew some of the brightest minds in food and ag to the space, with programming ranging from the role of artificial intelligence on the farm to debunking food myths to a live innovation challenge that awarded a tech startup $100,000.
The three-day activation hosted a dynamic roster of innovators in academia, media, technology, food, NGOs and public health, including representatives from Bayer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Climate Corporation, The Crop Trust, Driscoll’s, Ernst & Young, Food Tank, GENYOUth, The George Washington University, Mayo Clinic, Verizon/Nokia, Orig3n, THRIVE AgTech, The Washington Post and Whole Kids Foundation.