Feeding 9 Billion Challenge
In 2007, cereal prices increased by 75% in a single year. By 2008, all food prices had increased by about 50% and food riots broke out in dozens of countries, and the number of hungry people swelled to one billion. Crop production broke records to provide a reprieve and prices declined until 2010 when droughts destroyed about 25% of Russia’s wheat crop. By 2011 commodity prices had rapidly increased and food riots escalated into the Arab Spring. Following that up was 2012 with one of the four worst harvests in a decade. Since then in North America, droughts in the American West have caused the prices of fresh vegetables to more than double their seasonal averages. Even in years when food prices are fairly stable we struggle to feed 7 billion persons, but by 2050 there are expected to be 9 billion bellies to fill every day.
The Agriculture Centre of Excellence hosted the Feeding Nine Billion (F9B) Challenge. The F9B Challenge is a food security initiative that aims to provide a platform to stimulate student innovation and entrepreneurship around food security issues. Groups of 3-5 students from at least two different disciplines are given 24 hours to develop and propose a solution to a sustainable food system problem. Proposals are presented to a panel of judges ‘Dragons Den’ style. The winning teams win cash prizes and the opportunity to develop and prototype their project through a linked Directed Studies course or an existing related class project.