Today’s gamers may be tomorrow’s agricultural experts

Educators are taking advantage of Minecraft’s popularity to engage and teach students about modern farming and its impact on the environment

January 27, 2022
two student avatars are communicating about their next moves in the farming video game
Videogames as a teaching tool? Yes please, say educators, the U.S. Department of State, and students from all over the world who played NASEF Farmcraft in 2021. [Credit: NASEF | Youtube]

If you’re a parent, you might have the opinion that video games are a waste of time. But the U.S. Department of State, educators and other experts think that gaming might actually be the best way to engage students  — especially during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic   on important issues, like where the food we eat comes from and how agriculture can impact climate change. 

By using Farmcraft, a tweaked version of the popular game Minecraft that focuses on modern farming practices, students from around the world were able to compete in teams to see who could build the best farm. The next round of competition starts in February!

Join Scienceline reporter Deborah Balthazar on a trip to the virtual farm.

You can also listen to this episode of the Scienceline podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.

Dreiton from Minecraft Volume Beta by Daniel Rosenfield (c418) | Used with Permission
Farmcraft Theme by North America Scholastic Esports Federation | Used with Permission
Adventures in Adventureland by Kevin Macleod | Standard License
Hillbilly Swing by Kevin Macleod | Standard License

Sound effects:
Surprise – Animal Crossing: New Horizons | Nintendo content guidelines
Music (or sound effects) provided by Minecraft

About the Author

Deborah Balthazar

Deborah Balthazar is a science writer based in the New York Area. She’s a New Jersey native and has previously worked as a local government reporter for When not writing, she enjoys sleeping, reading, crocheting, and watching TV with her parents.


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