Launching ideas for better food, BETTER WORLD
by JONE KALOUNIVITI photos SUPPLIED
For much of the world, eating better means having more food to stay alive. But for many, those days are past and more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Both eating too much unhealthy food and not getting enough healthy food can cause an increase in serious problems such as poor mental development, non communicable diseases and avoidable deaths. Cue for those with new ideas about how to nourish the world’s population. There is $5 million at stake for innovations submitted by 7December. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) InnovationXchange, and the US Agency of International Development (USAID) are promoting a new innovation challenge, LAUNCH Food: a global call for innovations to transform food and nutrition systems. It was launched at a Food Revolution Dinner in New York earlier this year. DFAT and USAID are calling innovators, entrepreneurs, organisations and individuals from around the world to put forward new solutions for improving the health of the world’s people through better nutrition. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop announced the challenge by saying that “in our region about half the children in countries close to Australia, a first world developed economy, are suffering the effects of under nutrition. “Paradoxically, obesity leading to the burden of chronic disease is at epidemic levels. For the first time we have a generation that has a shorter life span than the previous generation. This cannot continue.” “Through LAUNCH Food – a partnership with USAID – we will be gathering the best and brightest ideas and putting $5 million into those that can actually be turned into reality to make a positive difference to lives of people around the world.” Beth Dunford, Assistant to the Administrator of the USAID Bureau for Food Security said: “We have to do things radically different. We’re seeing stunting rates – that’s the rates of chronic malnutrition – of upwards of 30 to 50 per cent in the Pacific, the area that we’re targeting. This rate of malnutrition means that one in two children won’t have their mental ability developed well enough to really participate in the global world… “that’s a problem that we need to urgently address,” Dunford said. Stuart Gill from LAUNCH said that “the challenges produced by our current food system are felt most acutely in the Pacific. In a very real sense, it is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the world.” This means the Pacific is providing an indication of what can happen throughout the world if the nutrition problems are not tackled. LAUNCH Food is searching the globe for innovations to disrupt the food system so that it works for everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. LAUNCH has been harnessing the power of collective innovation to change life for the better since 2010. Powered by SecondMuse and founded by NASA, NIKE Inc, USAID and the US Department of State, LAUNCH works on finding and fostering new, breakthrough ideas and ways of building a more sustainable world. LAUNCH has supported life changing, sustainable solutions in water, health, energy, materials and waste. Hundreds of innovators have accepted the challenge. LAUNCH has so far supported and speeded up the development of more than 80 innovations, which have collectively received some $95 million in funding. LAUNCH Food is the latest challenge backed by Australia’s DFAT InnovationXchange and USAID.
Food launch innovators - Asia Pacific