The 2013 Thought For Food Challenge calls on students from colleges and universities from all around the world to produce a project that presents an innovative solution to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. Teams of students are provided top-of-the-line tools and resources to research global food issues, brainstorm ideas, and produce a proposal to compete for funding.
These are the five finalist entries from this year’s competition:
- Food Waste Incentives: Team Ingenerovictus, a group from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee built a food waste collection system. The students intend to collect organic matter and transport it to a central plant where they will convert the matter to agricultural products using an anaerobic digester. In order to encourage participation in their program, the students plan to offer incentives. In return for separating garbage, hotels and restaurants can get credits that they can spend with retailers who have already agreed to partner with the student’s proposed project.
- Vertical Farms: Team Agrilution, from the HAS University of Applied Science in the Netherlands, constructed a prototype for a closet-sized vertical farm. This farm uses an aquaponic system that makes use of LED lighting, minimal inputs and an automatic system. This would allow for efficient food production in the non-rural area. Team Agrilution aims to solve the food crisis by bringing households closer to food production, particularly in urban regions.
- Food Certification: Team CrOpportunity, made of 5 students from the University of Nebraska, has developed a food certification plan to spread better information to consumers in developed countries and to direct more funds to developing nations. The team aims to certify restaurants and food producers who have reached sustainable criteria and a level of excellence and then redirect a portion of their profits to food groups abroad. The project also seeks to provide consumers with reports of theses standards to generate greater transparency in the food industry. Consumers can vote for their favorite restaurants and organizations online.
- Reclaiming Arid Land: Team O.A.S.I.S., from Kenya, plans desalinate seawater and pipe it to arid regions with the goal of reclaiming lands affected by deforestation and desertification. They also plan to install fish farms in the trenches used to pipe the seawater. Through the implementation of this agricultural structure, the students hope to gain greater food security by establishing environmental stability, provide adequate low-cost housing, and create more employment opportunities.
- Goosing Egg Production: The Henlight project, by Team Foodisclosure with students at U.C. Davis and the University of Oregon, seek to improve egg production yields. The idea focuses on a simple solar-powered lamp that lengthens effective daylight, thereby increasing the rate at which hens lay eggs. Ultimately, this project would expand the number of stimulation chickens receive. This idea is based on the need to raise the appraisal of surplus food and increase the efficiency of food production.
– Grace Zhao