The Hult Prize is the largest student competition aimed at solving the world's social challenges. In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the 2013 challenge was proposed by former President Bill Clinton for student groups to create solutions for the "Global Food Crisis."
Key issues of the Global Food Crisis highlighted by the program:
- Nearly one billion people in the world are hungry and suffer from malnutrition. That’s one out of every four children
- There are more hungry people in the world, then the combined populations of the US, Canada and the EU.
- A poor family in a poor country spends over 70% of its income on food, leaving very little to spend on energy, education, housing, healthcare and other critical needs
- Global demand for food is expected to double in the next 25 to 50 years. Existing modes of food production and patterns of consumption cannot meet this demand
- The global economy actually produces enough to feed everyone. Yet more than one-third of the food generated for human consumption is lost or wasted
- Hunger is one of the world’s most solvable challenges
- The global food system needs to be redesigned to yield more, healthier food, while reducing cost and ecological footprint
- New business models are required around food security. These must yield greater access to markets, new approaches to distribution, and especially local sourcing. More locally produced food would bolster its quality and its workers’ livelihoods, while reducing waste and improving resilience to extreme conditions
- Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s use of increasingly scarce water supplies
- Deforestation for food production generates more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined
Six regional finalists (London, Dubai, San Francisco, Boston, Shanghai, and online) competed for the one million dollar prize. The ultimate winner was McGill University's Aspire. Here is their mission in their own words:
Our disruptive social enterprise, Aspire, aims to improve access to edible insects worldwide. We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society."
This is a big win for the McGill team and for the insects-as-food movement. To win such a prestigious award, and in the face of tech-savvy competition, is especially encouraging to me. I believe this group will do well and go far.