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Young innovators transform global food systems during World Food Day Foodathon

18 October 2021

What do edible cups, worm flour and plant sensors have in common? These are three innovative ideas young people from secondary schools in Africa and Europe have come up with during the World Food Day Foodathon.

The WFD Foodathon is a collaboration between EIT Food and JA Europe, in partnership with EUROPEN and with the support of Bayer, FoodDrinkEurope and JA Africa, which aims to build young people’s entrepreneurial skills to transform the future of food. The students were given 48h to address burning challenges faced by our agri-food systems in the areas of nutrition, agriculture and food loss and waste. 

The Food Waste Terminators composed of students from Slovakia, Zambia and Mauritius, won the challenge on food loss and waste by imagining edible cups and coconut bowls. The jury was impressed by the idea’s ability to tackle multiple challenges, from food loss and waste at both the production and consumption stages, plastic pollution and alternative packaging solutions. 

With their idea to create a device which help growing crops sustainability and efficiently, team AgriClinic from Uganda and Albania developed an innovative product that would optimise resources using digital technologies applied to agriculture. The jury congratulated the team for not only developing a great digital tool that would help farmers and growers altogether, but also for delivering a very clear, engaging and compelling pitch.  

The idea developed by Tenge’s Worm Flour from Uganda and Greece demonstrated high impact and the possibility to affect the lives and health of many people in Europa, Africa and beyond. While contributing to reducing the consumption of red meat, it affects the incidence of non-communicable diseases and deleterious consequences on the environment.  

Speaking at the online Award Ceremony, Dr. Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food, said that “we want to solve the world’s challenges and having such enthusiastic, smart and qualified young people is very encouraging for our planet’s future.”

Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe concluded the event by saying that “our ambition is for every young person to have an entrepreneurial experience while at school and we are proud to have teamed up with such committed partners to go above and beyond and offer this opportunity to students from Europe and Africa.”

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