A vertical modular farming system could generate meaningful job opportunities whilehelping tosolveissues such as world hunger and climate change.
That’s the idea behindFarmCube, a concept a team of Griffith undergraduate studentsrecently tookto San Franciscotorepresent the University at the regional finals of the 2019 Hult Prize Challenge.
The Hult Prize Challenge is an annual competition that brings together some of the world’s brightest university studentsand challenges them to solve pressing social issues.
“The team pitched exceptionally well and placed in the top six at the regional finals,” says Campus Director for Hult Prize at Griffith,CaitleneHillman.
“This is a fantastic achievement.”
This year’s Griffith team–comprising Bachelor of Commerce students Timothy Mahoney and Alexander Byrne, and Bachelor of Business student RileyThiedecke–feltFarmCubewas an ideal answer to this year’s challenge: to create meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade.
“However, we knew we didn’t just want to solve the issue of jobs for youth,”team captainRiley says.
“We wanted to create further impact within an areawe all felt passionate about: food insecurity.”
The team saysFarmCubecould give people who are geographically challenged,orwhohaven’t had traditional access, the opportunity to access nutrient-rich produce.
“Thus, to hopefully make an impact in lessening, helping and benefiting the 815 million undernourished living in this world,” Riley says.
How it works
FarmCubeintegrates current vertical hydroponic technology within an insulated and climate controlled 40-foot shipping container.
The design and technology allow for optimal transportabilityandmore efficient farmingpractisescompared to traditional farms.
“Additionally, as a result ofFarmCube’sclimate-controlled system, groups can now enjoy fresh produce year-round absent of season dependencies,” Timothy says.
“However, the true solution ofFarmCubelies within its business model.FarmCubecreates learning-based job opportunities for youth through its entire value chain, from manufacturing all the way through to the selling of the produce.”
The team says the benefits of taking part in the Hult Prize Challengeinclude gaining aninternational perspective ofglobalissues,as well aspersonal growth and development.
“This is a huge challenge, but the people you meet along way make it worth it,”Alexandersays.
“You get to meet and work with other socially conscious individuals who also want to see changes within the world they live in.”
To anyone thinking about participating in the challenge next year, the teamsays“just go for it”.
“A passion for social change is the only prerequisite and you miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take,”Alexandersays.
For more information about the challenge, seeHult Prize at Griffith.