Empowering Central Florida Through AI to Combat Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is an urgent and unyielding challenge, impacting millions of individuals and families, including those in Orlando. The JASKY Foundation, in collaboration with DataKind, is channeling its resources and belief in technological innovation to combat food insecurity head-on in the region.

“Orlando, as a fast-growing innovation hub, has everything needed to build world-class tech companies.  For that same reason, the JASKY Foundation is committed to ensuring that Orlando is also a world-class inclusive innovation hub so that opportunities and advancements in technology are accessible to all.”

~Jacques Fu, Executive Director, JASKY Foundation

The City of Orlando is home to a majority of the county’s residents, and the county experiences an overall food insecurity rate of nearly 13%, which increases to 20% for Black persons (Feeding America Mind the Meal Gap). While there has been an ongoing need to close this hunger gap, there is an immediate need to redouble efforts against this challenge in new ways due to the catastrophic cut in benefits funding. With federal emergency assistance funding programs ending, the resources to serve food-insecure people in Orlando are constrained, and to service as many residents as possible, innovative solutions must be developed to ensure that the underserved have their needs met. 

We have community will and commitment to tackle this problem across social actors. However, these actors need new, innovative tools to do their work and ensure no individual is left behind in accessing nutrition services.

Fortunately, we have an unparalleled weapon in the fight against this crisis: data science. With these advanced technologies’ groundbreaking capabilities, encompassing AI, machine learning, data analytics, and automation, social sector organizations in Central Florida can revolutionize their approach to eradicating food insecurity at the community level. The JASKY Foundation, in collaboration with DataKind, is channeling its resources and belief in technological innovation to combat food insecurity head-on in the region.

The Powerful Impact of Data Science on Food Insecurity

Advanced technology has the potential to tackle multiple facets of the food insecurity crisis in Central Florida with unparalleled precision. Through AI-powered data analytics, for instance, we can gain invaluable insights into the underlying causes and distribution patterns of food insecurity. By analyzing socioeconomic data, geographical information, and demographic factors, AI algorithms can identify vulnerable households and communities, predict future insecurity trends, and strategically target interventions.

Furthermore, AI-driven systems can improve the efficiency of food distribution networks. By automating processes, such as inventory management, logistics planning, and routing, organizations can reduce costs, minimize waste, and increase the reach of food assistance programs. This efficiency enables food banks and community organizations to scale up their operations and cater to more individuals in need.

Moreover, AI can empower individuals by providing personalized support. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can offer guidance on nutrition, budgeting, and cooking tips to help individuals make informed choices regarding their dietary needs. These AI-powered tools can provide tailored recommendations based on users’ preferences, dietary restrictions, and available resources, empowering individuals to make healthier food choices within their means.

An Innovative Partnership

The challenge is massive, so how do we get started? Beginning October 13, JASKY Foundation and DataKind will gather dozens of Orlando’s leading data science professionals for a DataDive® event at Credo Conduit. Over three days, this highly skilled volunteer army will endeavor to develop and test prototypes of digital tools which implement a mapping application that identifies communities of high need and under-reached for targeted services outreach.

This will begin to solve the benefits access challenges detailed above and is the type of inclusive innovation that the JASKY Foundation is proud to help foster in Orlando. We look forward to sharing the results of this innovative work with you later this year. 

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