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Seeding the Future Grants Prizes

Grants and Awards

The selection criteria for each award level will vary and are outlined below. Across all award levels, IFT is committed to equity and inclusion in supporting organizations that seek to transform our food systems. The Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge therefore seeks to support entities—both non-profit and early stage for-profit—who can demonstrate the potential of their innovations to make a real impact but who may lack capital to progress their work. Special considerations will be given to teams made up of diverse backgrounds or cultures, as well as teams focusing on serving under-resourced populations.

Will be awarded to applicants that are planting and nurturing high-potential, innovative ideas and have developed a prototype and/or initial proof of concept demonstrating feasibility. Recipients will receive $25,000 each. A successful Seed Grant applicant must:

Provide a clear description of the proposed concept, with preliminary evidence from successful early experiments or prototypes—at any scale—that the idea is feasible. Seed Grant awardees may also be able to advance to higher award levels in subsequent years upon successful completion of the required criteria for those levels. 

Demonstrate that the innovation or idea is truly multidisciplinary in nature and has either team members or significant input from multiple disciplines such as: Health and Nutrition, Life Sciences, Food or Ag Science and Engineering, Environmental Science, Food Policy, Economics, and Consumer Behavior. 

Focus on benefitting at least one of the following domains while not having a negative impact on the other domains:

  • Safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet 
  • Sustainable, regenerative practices
  • Empower conscious consumer choices 

Provide a clear description of the projected benefits and the expected short-and long-term impact of the innovation on the food system, consumer behavior, and on personal or planetary health. 

Give consideration to how the benefit of the innovation to the food system or the environment can be communicated to the consumer. If applicable, provide a perspective how the innovation may affect other food system value chain stakeholders.

Provide a clear and feasible budget and timeline that includes activities, deliverables, and milestones.

Meet the grant requirements of IFT, based on a review of your organizational and financial documents.

In addition to a financial award, all awardees may also receive several non-financial benefits and incentives, including the following:

  • Organizational profile posted on the IFT website. 
  • Features in IFT member communications, including newsletters and social media channels. 
  • Invitation and recognition at IFT's Annual Meeting and Expo, which may provide exposure and access to potential customers, suppliers, mentors, and investors. 
  • Initiation into the Challenge’s alumni network. 

Association 3535
Project: COOL LION

Description: Develops and markets solar powered cold room containers to revolutionize access to cooling solution for smallholder farmers and small scale fisheries participants in Africa.

Eatwell Meal Kits
Project: EatWell Community Kitchen

Description: EatWell Community Kitchen partners with chefs, nutritionists, and leaders from communities we serve to teach culinary skills, nutrition tips, and step-by-step recipes that make cooking easy and enjoyable. By combining how-to videos with our meal kits, EatWell delivers both the education needed to build skills, and the food resources needed to apply them, fostering culinary confidence and competence!

Center for Nanoscience and Engineering, Indian Institute of Science
Project: Artificial Intelligence Powered Miniaturized Spectrometer for Food Quality Analysis

Description: A pocket-sized spectrometer brings spectroscopy to your fingertips, which enables on-site instant analysis of the chemical composition of food produce that you consume. Its cloud-based material sensing models provide you actionable information which helps you in making quick decisions.

INMED Partnerships for Children
Project: Aquaponics as a Social Enterprise for Sustainable Food Systems and Livelihoods

Description: Building upon the potential of aquaponics—a symbiotic closed system of intensive vegetable and fish cultivation—to strengthen food security, preserve the threatened landscape and create sustainable livelihoods for indigenous riverside communities in the Peruvian Amazon, INMED will expand its current aquaponics system at a teacher training institute to launch a revolutionary social enterprise. INMED’s approach combines a simplified, accessible form of the aquaponics technology with technical and business training, access to finance and ongoing mentoring to help small farmers build a network of microenterprises to transform food system sustainability in the context of climate-altered conditions and the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute
Project: Seaweed, Amaranth and Finger Millet-Nutrients Fortification of Bakery Products for Improved Health and Livelihoods in Kenya (SEA-FORT)

Description: The goal of SEA-FORT research project is to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of Kenyans by developing Seaweeds-Amaranth-Finger Millet (SAF)-fortified, nutrient-enriched, wheat-reduced and ready-to-eat bakery products acceptable to diverse consumers irrespective of their socio-economic status. The project’s specific objectives will (1) characterize post-harvest handling and processing of SAF; (2) profile the nutraceutical value of SAF, (3) upgrade a bakery unit in KIRDI; (4) produce SAF-fortified bakery products; and (5) promote consumers’ awareness and networking of stakeholders for the commercialization of SAF products.

Tanzania Environment Management Catalyst
Project: Managing Incubation Resilience Centres for Promoting Urban-Rural Sustainable Agriculture, Health Food Production Systems and Nutrition Food Safety Consumption Practices and Policy Advocacy Engagement

Description: Working with two incubation resilience centres in urban and rural areas in Kibaha town municipality and Chalinze rural district respectively, to promote sustainable agricultures and organic farming systems, including roof water harvesting to build capacity of small scale producers and distributors. Conduct advocacy work to influence policy-making and engaging consumers to promote healthy decisions.

University of Missouri
Project: Catch the Vision

Description: Our team will use a novel silver carp and soy product to improve the diets of women and children in Haiti, thus addressing two important issues: biodiversity and malnutrition. Food is democracy in action. https://www.facebook.com/EatMOCarp

World Wildlife Fund
Project: Farmers Post

Description: Farmers Post will revolutionize the distribution of fresh produce across the country, creating an easy way to connect farmers directly to local consumers to decrease the environmental footprint of food while ensuring more access for more people and higher profits for farmers.

Finalists for the Growth Grants are:

  • African Centre for Technology Studies in collaboration with Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute and United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi Office for its project which promotes enhanced access to solar drying technologies to smallholder farmers; thus, providing optimal dehydration of fresh produce for enhanced product quality and post-harvest management.
  • Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria-AGROSAVIA, for its impact assessment on nutrition related to an increase in the intake of biofortified beans and their agroecological production, the promotion of self-consumption, and the stimulation of short marketing cycles based on Information and Communication Technology tools.
  • Food Systems for the Future Institute (FSF) and Afya Feed Ltd., for its use of black soldier fly larvae to overcome the poultry and aquaculture industry feed affordability challenge. Through a partnership with Protix, a Dutch-based commercial black soldier larvae (bsl) producer, Afya and FSF will design and scale commercial production to provide an alternative bsl protein as a protein supplement in animal feeds.
  • iDE, for its project to establish community-managed vermicompost fertilizer enterprises that incorporate Trichoderma, a beneficial fungus that improves plant growth and yields while speeding up the composting process to transform organic farm and household waste into nutritious food for rural communities while acting as a proof-of-concept to catalyze replication across multiple regions.
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for its project integrating arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as bio-inoculants to boost banana production in East African Highlands and thereby deliver the food security and nutrition for small scale banana farmers without compromising the environmental, social, and economic aspects for future generations at regional and global levels.
  • Welthungerhilfe in partnership with Toothpick Company Ltd. for its project using a novel biological innovation to fight Striga (witchweed), the worst pest threat to food security in Africa. One of the first commercially approved bioherbicides in the world, selected strains of locally sourced fungi to help farmers safely and economically restore their crop yield.

Will be awarded to applicants that have demonstrated their innovation is doable and have projected both economic feasibility at scale and high impact potential to transform the food system. Recipients will receive $100,000 each. A successful Growth Grant applicant must:

  •  Have conducted experiments or activities demonstrating scalability of the innovation. Generated robust data enabling projection of economic feasibility at scale. 
  • Take a multi-disciplinary approach: The innovation incorporates the perspectives of multiple disciplines (i.e., Health and Nutrition, Live Sciences, Food or Ag Science and Engineering, Food Policy, Environmental Science, Economics, and Consumer Behavior). This could include having core team-members or advisors  from different disciplines contributing to the innovation. 
  • Have demonstrated benefits to at least two of the following domains while not having a negative impact on the remaining domain.
    • Safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet
    • Sustainable, regenerative practices
    • Empower conscious consumer choices
  • Based on conducted experiments and data, provide a clear description of the short-and-long-term benefits, impact, and risk potential of the innovation on the food system, the consumer behavior, and on personal and planetary health. If possible, provide an order of magnitude estimate of the population size that may be positively affected (for example: 1 million, 10 million, 100 million) and the approximate time horizon (for example: 5 years, 10 years, 15 years). If applicable, provide a perspective on how the innovation will affect other adjacent food system value chain stakeholders.
  • Have created insights based on data that show how benefits of the innovation can or will empower consumers to choose healthier food options also benefiting the environment.
  • Provide a perspective on whether the innovation aligns with existing food policy frameworks and if not, what policy shifts may be beneficial to maximizing the potential of the innovation or if new policy may be needed.
  • Provides a clear and feasible budget and timeline that includes activities, deliverables, and milestones laying out how the prize money will be spent. If the Prize applicant is a for-profit early stage or emerging entity, it will have developed a business plan including how the Prize money will advance the business to scale (scope, timeline, budget). Applicants should also demonstrate strong team building and leadership skills, business ethics, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. 
  • Meet the award requirements of IFT, based on a review of your organizational and financial documents.
In addition to a financial award, all awardees may also receive several non-financial benefits and incentives, including the following:
  • Organizational profile posted on the IFT website. 
  • Features in IFT member communications, including newsletters and social media channels. 
  • Invitation and recognition at IFT's Annual Meeting and Expo, which may provide exposure and access to potential customers, suppliers, mentors, and investors. 
  • Initiation into the Challenge’s alumni network. 
  • Seeding The Future Grand Prize awardees may also have access to networking opportunities with potential mentors and investors.

The Seeding The Future Grand Prize Finalists are:

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with North Carolina State University; AUDA NEPAD SANBio; SinnovaTek (US); National University of Lesotho (Lesotho), McCain (South Africa) for its project on advancing thermal processing to reduce food waste and address malnutrition. The purpose is to continue flow microwave sterilization to produce shelf stable products such as soups, beverages, pet foods, and baby foods with a high nutritional profile and affordable pricing.
  • International Rice Research Institute, Philippines for its arsenic safe rice varieties project which will deploy newly developed arsenic-excluding rice varieties that are much safer for human consumption in target arsenic-polluted regions to create socioeconomic and human health benefits.
  • Solar Freeze for its project on portable, solar-powered cold storage units for rural smallholder farmers of perishable produce. The purpose is to reduce post-harvest food loss that currently accounts for over 45 percent of fresh produce going to waste among rural farmers.
  • WorldFish for its nutrient-rich small fish production project intended to produce dried, small fish powder for the preservation of nutrient-dense fish for a healthy and affordable option for consumers especially those who need it most such as young children, and pregnant and lactating women.

Will be awarded to applicants that have created innovations that are scalable, economically feasible, trusted, and compelling to consumers, and have demonstrated major impact potential to transform the food system. Recipients will receive $250,000 each. A successful Grand Prize applicant must:

Have conducted experiments or activities demonstrating scalability of the innovation. Generated robust data enabling projection of economic feasibility at scale. 

Take a multi-disciplinary approach: The innovation incorporates the perspectives of multiple disciplines (i.e., Health and Nutrition, Live Sciences, Food or Ag Science and Engineering, Food Policy, Environmental Science, Economics, and Consumer Behavior). This could include having core team-members or advisors  from different disciplines contributing to the innovation. 

  • Have demonstrated benefits to at least two of the following domains while not having a negative impact on the remaining domain.
    • Safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet
    • Sustainable, regenerative practices
    • Empower conscious consumer choices

Based on conducted experiments and data, provide a clear description of the short-and-long-term benefits,  impact, and risk potential of the innovation on the food system, the consumer behavior, and on personal and planetary health. If possible, provide an order of magnitude estimate of the population size that will be positively affected (for example: 1 million, 10 million, 100 million) and the time horizon (for example: 5 years, 10 years, 15 years). If applicable, provide a perspective on how the innovation will affect other adjacent food system value chain stakeholders.  

Have created insights based on data that show how benefits of the innovation can or will empower consumers to choose healthier food options also benefiting the environment. 

Provide a perspective on whether the innovation aligns with existing food policy frameworks and if not, what policy shifts may be beneficial to maximizing the potential of the innovation or if new policy may be needed. 

Provides a clear and feasible budget and timeline that includes activities, deliverables, and milestones laying out how the prize money will be spent. If the Prize applicant is a for-profit early stage or emerging entity, it will have developed a business plan including how the Prize money will advance the business to scale (scope, timeline, budget). Applicants should also demonstrate strong team building and leadership skills, business ethics, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Meet the award requirements of IFT, based on a review of your organizational and financial documents.

In addition to a financial award, all awardees may also receive several non-financial benefits and incentives, including the following:
 
  • Organizational profile posted on the IFT website.
  • Features in IFT member communications, including newsletters and social media channels. 
  • Invitation and recognition at IFT's Annual Meeting and Expo, which may provide exposure and access to potential customers, suppliers, mentors, and investors.
  • Initiation into the Challenge’s alumni network.
  • Seeding The Future Grand Prize awardees may also have access to networking opportunities with potential mentors and investors.