Massachusetts Institute of Technology SOLVE in the USA invites applications from entrepreneurs worldwide for the Food Systems Challenge Challenge in 2020.
Agriculture occupies more than 40 percent of the Earth’s land and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Farming, fishing, transporting, processing, and distributing food supports 28 percent of human livelihood, including 470 million smallholder farmers who often depend on less than 2 hectares for both income and sustenance. By 2050, that system will need to feed 3 billion more people while reducing net emissions to zero to align with Paris Agreement targets.
New trends make transforming the food system more difficult. As people move out of poverty, they buy more meat, increasing the amount of land used to raise and feed animals, and further burdening overexploited fish stocks. Disruptions from climate change-related disasters and, recently, from COVID-19 can lead to lower production and more food insecurity, demonstrating a need for more resilient supply chains. Simultaneously, humanity gets 75 percent of our food from just 17 species, decreasing resilience to diseases and other climate-related stresses and shocks. Finally, with 30 percent of food lost or wasted, a third of the food system’s environmental impact happens without feeding anyone.
New data-rich technologies, combined with the revival of traditional practices such as intercropping or indigenous fisheries management, hold great promise. But new business models are required to bring these approaches to far more people, while further innovation is still needed to transform the food system at scale.
Worth of Award
All solutions selected for Solve’s five current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 20, 2020.
In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected for the Good Jobs & Inclusive Innovation Challenge. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Good Jobs & Inclusive Innovation Challenge:
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion: Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
Innovation for Women Prize: Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
The AI for Humanity Prize: This prize is made possible by The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and our global community through neuroscience research and information technology. Up to $200,000 will be granted across several Solver teams from any of Solve’s Global Challenges.
The MIT Solve community is looking for technology-based solutions for a low-carbon global food system that provides nutrition with minimal environmental impact. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
- Support small-scale producers with access to inputs, capital, and knowledge to improve yields while sustaining productivity of land and seas;
- Scale practices and incentives for larger farmers and ranchers to decrease carbon emissions, land-use change, nutrient runoff, or water pollution;
- Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections, and create low-carbon cold chains; and
- Promote the shift towards low-impact, diverse, and nutritious diets, including low-carbon protein options.
- Alignment: The solution addresses the challenge that has been set forth using technology.
- Potential for Impact: The planned implementation of the solution has the potential to impact lives.
- Scalability: The solution can be grown and scaled to affect the lives of more people.
- Feasibility: It is feasible to implement the solution, and the team has a plan for the solution to sustain itself financially.
- Innovative Approach: This is a new technology, a new application of a technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the challenge
- Partnership Potential: The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the Solve community is positioned to provide.
How to Apply
You can submit your solution through the application link on their website
Deadline: deadline to apply is June 18, 2020.