Nothing but inspiration: #tffsummit

#TFFSummit Top Left: The women that change the world, Top Right: Winners Team Innovision, Bottom Left: Runner up Team FoPo, Bottom Right: winners of the special prize and runner up, Team Aahaar. Photos Courtesy Thought for Food

#TFFSummit Top Left: The women that change the world, Top Right: Winners Team Innovision, Bottom Left: Runner up Team FoPo, Bottom Right: winners of the special prize and runner up, Team Aahaar. Photos Courtesy Thought for Food

And the winners are…

Team Innovision! You can see the shock and amazement on their faces having won the 2014 Thought for Food Challenge. Surprise was in store as there was not one, but two runner ups each winning a prize, Team FoPo and Team Aahar. The latter team took home an extra prize provided by The Kirchner Group Food Fellows making them double winners! Congratulations all around! During the event Tech4agri live tweeted and by the end of the finalists’ pitches, no one know who would be the winner. The judges needed extra time in fact to give an answer. Only then do you see how they came to their decision. Each team winning had a direct and immediate impact in reducing food waste by the billions of dollars in addition to measured social impact

Humble thoughts on winning strategies

Team Innovision developed a solar-powered micro-climate chamber for small scale farmers that increases shelf life of fruits and vegetables using an evaporation cooling system. What clearly stood out was the invention’s low cost as an affordable substitute for refrigeration to reduce food loss in developing countries, the overall contribution to food security and its potential to remove the use of a poisonous fruit and vegetable preservative used in their home country.

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#TFFSUMMIT is on!

TFF logo

It’s finally here!!!!

The 2015 Thought for Food Summit takes place today and Tech4Agri will be there live! The event is held in Lisbon, Portugal a beautiful city with rich culture, and food that serves as a prominent hub for entrepreneurship & innovation.

Meet the finalists

Hundreds of teams from universities all around the world entered the TFF Challenge, each diverse, motivated and brave enough to tackle the challenge of “How to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” Can you imagine the ingenuity coming out of such a competition!

From improving post harvest losses with the use of thermochromic and hydrochromic labels to an alternative meat product derived from insects; from roof top and vertical farming to community action and cooperative skill development these teams have applied science, technology, communication and simple innovation to create amazing ideas that can certainly contribute to solving this global problem of food availability and access.

Following their hard work the finalist teams had a stellar bootcamp where they developed their ideas even futher and practiced their eventual live pitch which will be held on the second day of the summit. The best to them all! View their projects at the TFF Website.

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

The TFF Challenge 2015 finalists at their development bootcamp. Picture courtesy Thought for Food

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Tech4food: Why was that invented? 

An endless stream of inventions and products are created everyday all hoping to get a piece of both my pocket and yours. Interestingly enough sometimes whether we need it or not we just have to have that one thing; that one item that we trick ourselves into thinking we will die without. A perfect example lies in one trend, earlier this year among many young people: the mobile charger.

I admit it.

When I first learned of it I truly wanted the device. It’s mobile, holds a long charge and most importantly it held the promise to bring life back to our precious phones, tablets and the like. But how is this device, that I so desperately wanted hold power….via USB connected to an outlet or computer. Yes, the mobile charger had to be charged.

Isn’t that what we must do for our phones in any case? Its only novelty is the aspect of mobility. However if power for our mobiles at any time is what we seek, why not use a solar powered charger? As a result what I so desperately needed simply vanished at the prospect of a more impactful device. So why was the mobile charger invented?

You be the judge. Here are some food technologies that poses the question to you. Is it useful? Does the design strike at you? Would you buy these inventions for your household?

Going bad or still good: Edible Sensors

FastCompany.com reports on Hu “Tiger” Tao, a post-doctoral student at Tufts University in Massachusetts, who since 2013, has been working on a chewable sensor made from silk.

Image courtesy: wanderlustmind.com

Image courtesy: wanderlustmind.com

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“Made in Agriculture: Part Two”

Readers, Do you remember these posts?

These are all posts made over a year ago on the tech4agri blog. At the time they were all ideas or in the testing stage of their design and intended implementation. Other items along with the aforementioned were simply conceptual but has the potential for great impact. Let’s have a brief recap of these technologies. Have they been updated?

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Welcome back!

The new year is well on its way. With it comes new technology and innovation geared towards the many problems producers and other stakeholders face in agricultural production. Some of them are meant to improve entire industries while others simply seek to improve the lives of consumers. Each technology or method currently under research and development is astounding in its own right and will pave the way for the progress of the overall agricultural sector. Let’s take a look at some new innovations for 2014:

Biochar from Biomass:

By now  many of us have heard of bio energy which is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. According to the website Wikipedia.com, “biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes”

The Cool Planet  organization has created a patented two-part mechanical and chemical process  which converts biomass into both carbon negative drop-in gasoline and biochar. This clean renewable fuel can be distributed and used in today’s vehicles with no change to existing infrastructure. The biochar, when placed in the ground as a soil enhancer, removes CO2 from the atmosphere while improving the soil for agricultural use.

Later this month we’ll learn more of biochar from a young Belgian agri-entrepeneur who utilizes biochar in her business endeavors.

A diagram depicting how Film Farming works Source: Agricel.com

A diagram depicting how Film Farming works
Source: Agricel.com

Film Farming: Here in the Caribbean many of us are aware of plastic mulch used to suppress weeds, conserve water and sometimes to reduce disease. There is no better case of science providing an improvement that Film Farming.  According to its creators Agricel this is “a technology in which plants are cultivated on a hydromembrane composed of water-soluble polymer and hydrogel. This hydromembrane absorbs water and nutrients from the culture medium, and does not release any to the plant side.  Accordingly, the plant develops a lot of fine and dense roots closely attached to the hydromembrane surface to absorb water and nutrients.”

This technology saves 90% of water consumption, Uses 80% less fertilizer, protects crops from diseases via pathogens as bacteria and viruses cannot penetrate the membrane material, its low cost and it allows the plant to produce many nutrients. An interesting technology it is.

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The Carbon Farming Team!

carbon farmongDear Readers

Your help is needed. Today marks the end of Startup Weekend: an entrepreneurial initiative for budding businessmen, inventors and developers. The event is held in Trinidad and Tobago in a similar fashion to business hubs and hackathons all around the world.

One of these innovative teams have thought of a product based on Carbon Farming.

“Carbon Farming allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions.It helps the environment by encouraging sustainable farming and providing a source of funding for landscape restoration projects.”

You help is needed to assist this team in their endeavors. Please take a little time to fill out the survey using the link below. Your help is greatly appreciated. This is a special post, meant to assist fellow agripreneurs. The best of luck to them!

Here is the link to the survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CNPXCBB
The group is conducting a market research survey to solicit responses to guide development of their product idea as part of the Startup Weekend Initiative.