Harvesting crickets, new greenhouses to grow foods and reduce costs in northern communities, a novel way to battle declining bee populations, and edible algae among nominees for youth innovation awards
Waterloo, ON – October 19, 2016 – On the cusp of Canada’s 150th anniversary, top Canadian high school students from around the country were challenged to come up with new ideas to improve food security as part of the prestigious SHAD enrichment summer program this July. With approximately four million Canadians experiencing hunger, food security is a critical national issue.
The top high school students from across the country did not disappoint with the innovative and out of the box ideas they developed this summer at SHAD’s 12 host university campuses.
The best youth innovators will be honoured next week at the SHAD – John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup which will take place on October 27 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at Ryerson University. Ryerson will become the 13th SHAD host university campus in the summer of 2017.
The 15 award nominees include the winning team from each university and three wild cards.
One of the more unique ideas came from SHAD Dalhousie which created the CrickEats Farming System, human-grade equipment to harvest protein rich crickets for human consumption in a manner that is efficient, affordable and sustainable.
SHAD Carleton created Spiravita, a tank allowing people to grow edible spirulina algae, a highly nutritious protein, in their own homes. Another group of students at SHAD Memorial created Algrow which also uses spirulina algae but this time to replace grain-based livestock feed with a more sustainable and less resource intensive alternative.
SHAD Western’s HexaGro Greenhouse is a small scale, easy to use structure in the form of a hexagonal-prism. The simple design allows for crop growth and harvest throughout the year to give Northern Canadians the ability to grow their own produce.
SHAD Lakehead created Pollenium to do the work of bees whose populations have been in sharp decline. Pollenium sweeps pollen off of plants and collects them to then redistribute the pollen to other plants.
SHAD McMaster’s FoodSpan is a tracking system that reduces waste by recording how long foods have been in the refrigerator. The mobile and web app allows for easy use anytime.
SHAD Calgary created the Bio Tower, a tri-compartmental system that converts food waste into nutrient-rich compost, which can then be used to promote plant growth with a plastic-sealed garden at the top.
SHAD Queen’s created an e-commerce platform called Farms2Forks which directly connects customers who are food insecure to local farmers and processors.
SHAD UNB developed ZENsense a network of sensors that analyzes the ripeness and maturity of crops in the field, providing farmers readings and data to monitor their crops more accurately.
SHAD Lakehead’s BloomBox allows urban dwellers to easily grow fresh fruits and vegetables indoors and outdoors. It can be used in small spaces and has a refillable water reservoir.
SHAD Saskatchewan’s ReFresh is a commercial greenhouse system that incorporates CO2 recycling systems to increase crop yields and subsequently reduces food prices in places where food is hard to grow.
SHAD UBC developed helpfeed as an easier and more effective alternative to encourage people to donate to food banks, at point of sale.
SHAD Waterloo’s GreenGarden is intended for low-income urban communities. Green Garden is an innovative community garden building which uses vertical gardening, dome cold-frames and polytunnels to grow “superfoods” – nutritious fruits and vegetables.
SHAD UBC’S Piscii Tech is a high-quality water treatment facility that removes microfibers before they reach the world’s water sources and stunt the growth of fish and other marine animals.
SHAD Calgary’s Smart Technology Integrated in Crops (STIC) is a multifunctional stake that farmers insert into soil to collect crucial data. Sensors detect soil moisture, pH, temperature, weed and insect pressure, essential nutrients and helps farmers optimize their resources while reducing fertilizer, water and pesticide use.
“It amazes me to see the innovative solutions the students are able to design after only a couple of months trying to delve into a big social issue like food insecurity,” says Tim Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer of SHAD.
Jackson adds, “You can only imagine what these top young minds will create in the future for Canada.” He adds, “We’ve seen them come away with such confidence in their abilities to be change makers after their experience at SHAD this summer.”
SHAD teamed up with a number of experts to help the students understand the many facets of the complex problem including lead theme sponsor Maple Leaf Foods which helped judge the award for best application of theme.
“Many people don’t realize how serious this issue is – one in six Canadian children faces food insecurity,” says Lynda Kuhn, Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Public Affairs at Maple Leaf Foods. She adds, “It is inspiring to see young thought leaders at SHAD put their minds to work and think so creatively to find practical solutions, many of which have the potential to be commercialized.”
In past years, some SHAD Fellows have taken their original ideas and created businesses. In 2010, one SHAD Fellow Rameez Virji designed a new way to vaccinate people using a pill rather than a needle. He is currently awaiting patent approval.
The SHAD – John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup is named after a prominent business leader and philanthropist who was a longtime supporter of SHAD and champion of youth and entrepreneurship.
SHAD is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize and envision their full potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, the SHAD program provides the opportunity for about 700 students from across Canada and internationally to attend a transformational month-long summer program at one of 13 Canadian host universities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). There are currently 15,000 SHAD alumni all sharing the Uncommon Purpose of the SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. Applications for the summer of 2017 are currently available at www.shad.ca/apply
ABOUT MAPLE LEAF
Maple Leaf Foods is Canada's leading consumer packaged meats company, headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. The Company makes high-quality, great tasting, nutritious and innovative food products under leading brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders Country Naturals® and MinaTM. The Company employs approximately 11,000 people in its operations across Canada and exports to more than 20 global markets including the U.S. and Asia. To learn about its sustainability program, visit www.mapleleafsustainability.com
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