Fighting for food security
A team of Queen’s University students recently placed third in the Experience Ventures National Hackathon. The virtual event featuring 11 schools from across the country, celebrated the power and potential of entrepreneurial thinking to find innovative solutions to real-world problems facing society.
Led by the Experiential Learning team in the Faculty of Arts and Science (who also provided coaching for the event), each team was challenged to develop a pitch that proposed a solution to the question of “What accessible, impactful, and scalable solutions can post-secondary schools implement to improve food security for students on campus?”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined food security as when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
The six Queen’s students from various faculties, programs, and years came together to form the company Good2Go, an on-campus grocery store that aims to address affordability and accessibility to food products for all students. The company proposed partnering with local big-name grocery stores (No Frills, Metro, Longos etc.) to take their near-expired products and sell them at cost on campus. They would also partner with food banks to not only help supply catch up with demand but to eliminate the stigma of visiting a food bank.
The six students on the Good2Go team included Izzy Page (third year, Mathematics), Joshua Adams (fourth year, Dan School of Drama and Music), Kassandra Choi (fourth year, Political Science), Logan Bramwell (second year, Computer Science), Alice Chu (second year, Commerce) and Charlotte Murat (second year, Engineering Physics).
“A total of 2.62 billion pounds of groceries are thrown out by grocery stores each year, this motivated us in developing our solution,” explains Page. “We were inspired by the concept behind Free Water, a $7 million bottled water company that sells advertising space on their bottled water to offset the costs and allow for free water. We proposed selling advertising space inside our store as an incentive for our big name partners, and to help us with cost of operations.”
The team pitched their idea live to a national panel of judges and placed third for their efforts, winning a $1,000 prize.
“This experience was truly one of a kind,” says Chu. “It was fun to work with other students across various faculties at Queen’s. Everyone had unique ideas and perspectives to offer. I would highly recommend the Experience Ventures National Hackathon to anyone.”
“We are all united by a passion for problem-solving and design thinking,” says Adams. “This year's hackathon was addressing food security for university students, so we were brought together by the drive to solve that problem. We are all university students and see the issue firsthand.”
For information about future Experience Ventures funded events, contact the Experiential Learning team – firstname.lastname@example.org.