Food Systems Challenge 2016

Food Systems Challenge 2016

Overview

CHALLENGE BRIEF

Food. It's not just the way we fuel our bodies,but perhaps the most intimate way we interact with our environment. Everything we eat comes from nature and begins as something growing on land or at sea. While our food is rooted in a vast chain of ecological relationships, it's also part of an increasingly complex and problematic system of our own design. It's a system that has resulted in depleted soils, landfills full of packaging waste and uneaten food, and dependence on expensive inputs, like chemical fertilizers—all while nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day. From seed (or sea) to table and everywhere in between, there's a lot we need to improve.

The good news is that healthy ecosystems are models of abundance, fertility, and resiliency, and taking cues from nature can help us make the improvements we need. Whether addressing waste, growing methods, pest management, packaging, preservation and distribution, soil quality, or a changing climate, nature offers innumerable strategies for solving issues around food and agriculture in innovative ways. And nature does so while supporting biodiversity and minimizing water use, energy use, and waste.

Look to the abundance of lessons nature has to offer and develop a biomimetic design that solves an important food system challenge while supporting the health of our planet.

REFERENCE COLLECTION

Learn more about the food system

RULES & REQUIREMENTS

PDF Download

Entries to the Food Systems challenge must:

  • Identify and solve a specific problem within the food system.
  • Intentionally emulate one or more mechanisms, processes, patterns, or systems found in nature.
  • Enhance the sustainability of the food system, whether from an environmental, social, or economic perspective—or ideally all three.

What you choose to focus on within the broad category of the "Food System" is up to you, but your team should narrow this broad challenge into a specific design problem—one with potential for impact and at a scope and scale that is feasible for your team.

If you don't already have a design opportunity in mind, consider the following:

The Land Institute

Compete for The Land Institute’s $1000 sub-prize by tackling the specific challenge they’ve outlined. Learn more about this prize here.

Challenge Scoping Guide

Read our scoping guide for help getting started on a challenge of your own. Read the document here.

Reference Collection

Browse the Reference Collection to learn about issues in the food system. Browse the collection here.

In all cases teams should become familiar with and apply the core concepts and methods of biomimicry, as featured in the Learn Biomimicry section of this website. How well your design concept emulates nature and how well your entry exhibits a biomimicry design process are both significant factors during judging.

References

The references are a collection of documents, videos and external links to provide you some guidance before submitting your entry.

Start Here: Suggestions for the 2015-16 Food Systems Challenge

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Guid to scoping a challenge within the Food Systems theme.</p>

Our Food System: Challenges and Opportunities (webinar with Nathanael Johnson from Grist)

Video

View

Description:  

<p>Recorded March 18, 2015</p>

CGIAR - Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security</p>

National Geographic - The Future of Food

Document

View

Description:  

<p><strong>National GeographicThe Future of Food</strong></p>

National Geographic: Food by the Numbers

Video

View

Description:  

<p>.</p>

TEDx Jonathan Foley: The other inconvenient truth

Video

View

Description:  

<p>A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. Jonathan Foley shows why we desperately need to begin "terraculture" — farming for the whole planet.</p>

Doors of Perception: Food Systems and Design – A Reader

Document

View

Description:  

<p>This reading list was prepared by John Thackara.</p>

Grist: Hungry Hungry Humans - articles series

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Grist - Hungry Hungry Humans</p>

Food Tank - website

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Food Tank is an organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. </p>

Creating the Food Systems of Tomorrow

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Thomas Harttung, the man Time magazine calls a hero of the environment, presents a few ideas for how cooks can help improve our food systems:</p>

Civil Eats - website

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Civil Eats is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system.</p>

Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 2

Document

View

Description:  

<p><strong>Ellen MacArthur FoundationTowards the Circular Economy Vol. 2</strong></p>

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN - State of Food and Agriculture 2014

Document

View

Description:  

<p><strong>Food and Agriculture Organization of the UNState of Food and Agriculture 2014</strong></p>

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN - The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

Document

View

Description:  

<p>Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN - The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015</p>

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN: Status of the World's Soil Resources

Document

View

Description:  

<p>This report provides a global perspective on the current state of the soil, its role in providing ecosystem services, and the threats to its continued contribution to these services.</p>