Improve Life Challenge 2019
Do you have what it takes to solve a real world problem?
The 2019 Improve Life Challenge is focusing on Guelph's food system. Participants will be put into teams and challenged to develop strategies that will make the city of Guelph food system carbon neutral while simultaneously revitalizing rural communities in the region!
Date: Friday, March 29th, 2019
Location: The Arboretum Centre
Why take part?
As a student:
Build your resume. Challenge yourself to make a difference. Within your teams, you will propose sustainable solutions to real world problems. This is an incredible opportunity to gain practical skills and discover your own ingenuity.
Connect with like-minded people. Not only will you gain valuable experience working in teams, you will also meet and connect with people with similar interests and goals.
Become a leader. This isn’t a course. Each team is required to independently manage their project and must conquer all of the challenges that arise along the way.
Meet Our Community Partners!
10C SHARED SPACE
10C Shared Space is the hub for community changemakers in Guelph. They are a not for profit social enterprise creating a platform for those working across sectors and engaging in collaborative work to improve the community. The immeasurable benefits from 10C extend to the deepening of community relationships, the opening of new opportunities, and discovery of new ways to solve problems. People work, meet, eat, create and brainstorm together at 10C. 10C strives to be socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. 10C would like to become a zero-waste facility.
10C Shared Space is looking for a model to create a zero-waste facility that is able to reduce, redirect and reuse food surplus and share that model with the greater rural Wellington communities. How would 10C Shared Space create a zero-waste facility that is able to reduce, redirect and reuse food surplus and food waste at 10C while benefiting the broader rural communities?
GOLDEN HORSESHOE FOOD AND FARMING ALLIANCE
The Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) is a partnership between Regional Municipalities and the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton, the farm community and organizations in the Golden Horseshoe that seek to grow and enhance the food and farming cluster of the region. The Alliance is responsible for the implementation of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan 2021, which identifies pathways for a more integrated and coordinated approach to food and farming in the region.
Certain parts of Canada’s food system (the importation of fruits and vegetables) are adding to Canada’s massive trade deficit. How can GHFFA raise awareness around this issue and develop strategies to communicate to consumers the positive impact that focusing on food from the Golden Horseshoe has on both the trade deficit and the rural communities and environment?
GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO
Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover over 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.
Grain Farmers of Ontario addresses the key areas of Research, Wheat Marketing, Market Development, Production, Communications, and Advocacy. Their mission is to develop, defend, and promote an innovative and sustainable business environment, which allows their farmer-members to be profitable.
More than six million acres in Ontario produce much-needed crops for almost every part of the food system and for other industries as well. The top six inches of soil produce most of the food, but those six inches can be susceptible to soil, nutrient and general run off brought on by unpredictable weather due to climate change, such as heavy rainfall events (e.g., 6-inch rains). How can GFO measure run-off losses and use technology and techniques (new or rediscovered) to manage the run-off risks of 6-inch rains?
GUELPH FAMILY HEALTH TEAM & THE SEED
The Guelph Family Health Team (Guelph FHT) is an interdisciplinary team of clinicians that work in primary care. Their focus is to improve the health of Guelph area residents through patient-guided, quality-focused healthcare. Guelph FHT provide personal, comprehensive care to over 125,000 Guelph residents of all ages.
The SEED is an award-winning project of the Guelph Community Health Centre. Its vision is a community without barriers to healthy food. Since 2015, they have been working to achieve this vision by delivering programs and advocating to address the causes and effects of food insecurity.
Food insecurity has such a stigma that many people experiencing it do not come forward and admit they need help and support. Food connects the entire community, and yet there is a disconnect. GFT and The Seed would like to explore this disconnect and develop connections to better understand the needs of the food insecure community. How would Guelph FHT and The Seed better understand the needs of those experiencing food insecurity in Guelph and address the gaps that exist?
Ingredion Incorporated is a leading global ingredient solutions provider. They turn grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into value-added ingredients and biomaterial solutions for the food, beverage, paper and corrugating, brewing and other industries. Serving customers in over 100 countries, their ingredients make crackers crunchy, yogurts creamy, candy sweet, paper stronger and add fiber to nutrition bars.
How could Ingredion Canada reduce the carbon footprint for their activities from offices to manufacturing sites?
OREKA SOLUTIONS INC.
Oreka harnesses the power of insects to make our food healthier and agriculture more sustainable.
They breed and rear their Black Soldier Flies to optimize their essential nutrients and healthy fats, and then capture these nutrients to make Protein+, a natural superfood for poultry, fish, swine & ruminants. With only small amounts of Protein+, animals are significantly healthier, grow faster and require less medication. Oreka’s proprietary technology is completely sustainable, produces zero waste and offers a significant competitive advantage for farmers while giving consumers what they want – high quality, healthy and truly sustainable food on their plates.
Oreka Solutions feeds its insects a complex diet, which optimizes nutritional value. A key element of the diet is a fruit and vegetable mixture. Currently Oreka sources these inputs from retail, specifically fruit and vegetables that are unsold. Oreka represents the most efficient waste to value solution available today. Given the significant amount of food waste that occurs at the farm and processing levels, how should Oreka best work with these two sectors to develop new streams of obtaining fruit and vegetable waste?
Semex is a world-leading dairy and beef breeding organization that provides cattle semen, embryos and genetic solutions into more than 80 countries worldwide. Semex employs the use of genomic selection for the sourcing and development of elite dairy and beef germplasm and is a world leader in the use of embryo biotechnology. Semex was started by farmers and still owned by farmers. Semex Global Headquarters in Guelph, Ontario.
Against a backdrop where consumers have become increasingly conscious of environmental challenges and animal welfare issues, particularly as they relate to farming and food, we have emerging new gene editing technologies that offer farmers new tools to improve animal welfare, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve economic competitiveness. In particular, using gene editing as an alternative to de-horning dairy cows. Dehorning (disbudding) dairy calves is considered an unpleasant reality of modern dairy farming and presents an animal welfare challenge. Gene-editing can provide a solution by editing the genome of top-performing, efficient animals such that they will not grow horns at all while maintaining high efficiency and genetic variation. But, will consumers accept gene edited food?
Semex would like to explore how they can build trust and transparency around using gene-editing for de-horning and provide a use-case that should be applicable to other instances where the farming industry is interested in exploring gene-editing more generally. How can Semex work with various stakeholders to build trust and transparency around the appropriate use of gene editing technologies?
The Co-operators is a 100% Canadian owned co-operative with its head office in Guelph. Farmers founded the organization and to date the Co-Operators insure over 39,000 farms across Canada. The integrated subsidiary companies provide solutions in four core areas: property and casualty (P&C) insurance, life insurance, asset management and brokerage operations. Our P&C insurance protects homes, automobiles, businesses and farms. The mission of the Farm Portfolio is financial security for Canadian Farmers.
The advancement of technology used in farming has and continues to create new and meaningful data that can be used to enhance the future of farming. At the same time technology has enabled the growth in the size of farm operations. As farms grow in size and complexity the risks facing farmers are evolving and the magnitude for potential losses due to weather are growing. How can The Co-Operators leverage new data in farming to help mitigate the growing and changing risks affecting farming?
Umai is an investment and advisory firm focused on agri-food tech ventures.
Venture capital has traditionally not chased agri-food tech investments due to concerns on long gestation and investment periods and few blockbuster exits. Umai believes this is changing with innovations across wide spectrums of agri-food, driven by a wide scope of tech including bio, AI, robotics, blockchain etc. The 14 agri-food tech segments are: Ag Biotechnology, Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT, Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment, Bioenergy & Biomaterials, Novel Farming Systems, Supply Chain Technologies, Agribusiness Marketplaces, Innovative Food, In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech, Restaurant Marketplaces, eGrocery, Home & Cooking Tech, Online Restaurants and Meal Kits, Miscellaneous.
Umai is hoping to develop an investment strategy to prioritize the most attractive segments to invest, both for their company and for their followers in later stage venture capital partners. They are looking for the segments that have highest growth potential (scalable), are the most sustainable and have the fastest speed to market. They are also prioritizing those segments with most environment and human impact.
How might Umai Global propose strategies to reduce the barriers the Ag Tech sector experiences by identifying the most attractive areas to invest based on highest investment value? How might these strategies support the long running goal of reducing carbon in the ag-value chain while promoting rural development and economic growth?