EY Global Ideathon: Farm To Fork competition
The EY Global Ideathon - Farm To Fork was launched to empower new innovators and explore new solutions for food security.
The first EY Global Ideathon, Farm To Fork, discovers innovative solutions to food insecurity.
Our world is transforming as we speak. Global food prices are being pushed higher and higher, along with the risk of growing poverty and malnutrition.
“Major global events over the past few years have shocked agricultural markets, creating high food inflation and accelerating global hunger. But the underlying dysfunction of the global food system has been building for years,” says Julie Teigland, EY EMEIA Managing Partner and Ambassador of Farm To Fork. “Farm To Fork seeks practical, scalable interventions to address rising food insecurity and malnutrition right along the supply chain, from more productive agricultural systems to more sustainable food processing and consumption.”
The global EY organization is committed to finding concrete approaches to tackle the food-insecurity emergency and launched Farm To Fork, the EY Global Ideathon, to empower new innovators and explore new solutions for food security. The program was brought to life by EY Ripples and the Wavespace team in Antwerp. This year’s Farm To Fork Winners were announced on 22 February 2023.
Women won four of the five categories in the 2023 Farm To Fork – EY Global Ideathon. Africa dominated, with two Kenyan females under 30, recognized. The winning ideas blend leading-edge-technology with home-grown innovation and will now progress either into the EY Farm To Fork Boost Program or the EY Farm To Fork Innovation Experience, accelerator journeys that are designed to help accelerate the winning ideas into concrete solutions or successful businesses.
Farm To Fork seeks practical, scalable interventions to address rising food insecurity and malnutrition along the supply chain, from more productive agricultural systems to more sustainable food processing and consumption.
A global call for entries inspired more than 200 submissions.
The Ideathon received 222 ideas from individuals and teams across the globe, from local schoolchildren to major global companies, with over 1,500 people registering to the Cognistreamer platform – where the ideathon was hosted – from 35 countries worldwide.
The ideas were assessed by domain experts and the Farm To Fork jury panel of public and private sector leaders on a number of criteria, and in particular, the following three:
- Respect for people
- Respect for planet
- Respect for profit
The 2023 EY Farm To Fork winners are:
Team EcoRich Solutions – Kenya
A startup producing fertilizer at just 30% of the normal cost is transforming Africa’s smallholder farming. Until now, 85% of Africa’s small-scale farms couldn’t afford fertilizer, preventing them from meeting their production potential. EcoRich Solutions is solving this problem by using technology to manufacture and sell high-yielding organic fertilizer made from Nairobi’s household waste.
“I truly appreciate this great news, this means a lot to me and am so glad as I look forward to the next phase.”
- Joyce Waithira, EcoRich Solutions (Kenya) – Farm category winner
Kirsten Dotson – US
Dotson intends to generate accountability along the supply chain using the Internet of Things (IoT). Her concept is a battery-less IoT sensor that will inform consumers about traceability, freshness and nutrition. Initially in a sticker-like form, but eventually as an invisibly printed “tattoo”, the sensor will also create verifiable products for the secondary (non-profit) food market, reducing overall waste within the system.
“I had an idea to leverage technology to improve food access and accountability along the supply chain, and Farm To Fork is providing a platform to make that possible.”
- Kirsten Dotson (US) – To category winner
Tom Simmons – UK
The Supplant Company is creating a low-calorie, high-fiber natural sugar substitute by upcycling the vast quantities of agricultural side-streams that normally go to waste. Bringing them into the food system will both remove mainstream sugar, and support health outcomes while significantly expanding the global food supply in every region.
“It’s a huge honor to have won. We’re looking forward to working with the EY team to build a more nutritious, more sustainable and more abundant food future.”
- Tom Simmons (UK) – Fork category winner
Team Farmer Lifeline Technologies – Kenya
For just US $1 per month, a proprietary pest and disease detection device is helping Kenya’s smallholder farmers reduce crop losses by 40%. When an issue is detected, the device sends the farmer a text alert, recommending affordable, carbon-negative solutions to address the problem. The data is uploaded to an analytics dashboard that tracks emissions abatement and notifies governments of systemic pests.
“This win for us is a great assurance of the hope found in young innovators like ourselves in achieving food security in Africa and beyond with the right support.”
- Esther Wanjiru Kimani, Farmer Life Technologies (Kenya) – Youth Voice category winner
Team YEL.PA.MAK team – Greece
Leftover “grape marc” is an enormous food stream loss in Greek horticulture. But now, a team of 16-year-old students in Greece is putting circular economy principles into practice by turning winemaking waste into three different products: firewood alternatives, non-toxic fertilizer and a non-chemical colorant that can be used in food or beauty products.
“It is crucial that our students become more conscientious, ethical, and active citizens, who dream of a better world and strive to eliminate the increased inequalities among people.”
- Anna Matsiori, Teacher, YEL.PA.MAK team (Greece) – EY-JA award winner
Commenting on the winners, Hanne-Jesca Bax, EY EMEIA Managing Partner Markets & Accounts Leader and Chair of the Farm To Fork jury, says:
“Women and young people are on the front lines of transforming agriculture and food systems, and the age and gender of our winners bear this out. Young people, particularly in growing economies, are emerging as visible agents of change in food systems. We must continue to support their engagement in the transformation of the world’s food supply chains.”
Young people, particularly in growing economies, are emerging as visible agents of change. We must continue to support their engagement in the transformation of the world’s food supply chains.
Zeynep Deldag, EY EMEIA Innovation Leader and Sponsor of Farm To Fork, also comments:
“Innovative solutions are needed to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. With this competition, we have created an environment for the general public to become part of the solution, and we have provided an opportunity for ideas that potentially would have gone unnoticed to be rewarded. The amount and the variety of innovative solutions put forward by the Farm To Fork participants are outstanding and encouraging, and we’re committed to bringing these ideas to the next stage.”
The amount and variety of innovative solutions put forward by the Farm To Fork participants is outstanding and encouraging, and we’re committed to bring these ideas to the next stage.
The Farm To Fork Winners have started their award experiences as of April 2023. A few of their prizes include: product development with EY-Nottingham Spirk Innovation Hub, participation in the Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) mentoring program, and attending the disruptive tech program at the EY Tech University at Silicon Valley. Stay tuned to keep up to date on the progress of the winners and their winning ideas.
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