GuideWell today selected three Central Florida organizations to receive seed money to implement their innovative ideas to address food insecurity in our community. Team Zero, Fleet Farming and ElderPoint Ministries were selected from 10 regional finalists across Central Florida to receive $2,000 in funding. In addition, they will advance to GuideWell’s Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge finals where they’ll have the opportunity to compete for a $20,000 state grand prize. Funds will be used to reduce or eliminate food insecurity in their respective local communities. The three innovative ideas from Central Florida organizations advancing to the finals include:
• Team Zero (Brevard County) - Its FreShip solution leverages blockchain technology and machine learning to prevent food waste through sensors in shipping containers. The innovative technology diverts shipments that may typically be discarded for waste due to partial spoilage to alternative facilities that can still utilize the produce.
• Fleet Farming (Orange County) - Its Organic Urban Agricultural Program is designed to reinvent the concept of sharecropping by partnering with local schools to utilize unused land and facilities to educate students on urban farming technology while developing sources of fresh produce hubs in food-desert communities.
• ElderPoint Ministries (Polk County) - Its mobile produce markets provide low-cost fresh food to senior centers, mobile home parks, low-income apartments and other areas where seniors gather, increasing access to affordable, fresh produce while also providing volunteering and socialization opportunities.
“We want to applaud all of the applicants for their passion and commitment to developing innovative strategies that address food insecurity in our communities, a key social determinant of health that affects millions of people throughout Florida,” said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation. “Our goal with a challenge like this is to foster innovation and collaboration while providing resources to improve the health and wellbeing of people in our communities.”
More than 2.8 million people in Florida, including 800,000 children and 500,000 seniors, are food insecure—meaning they are unable to access sufficient and nutritious food for an active life. In July, GuideWell announced it was partnering with Synapse to issue the statewide challenge to all entrepreneurs, nonprofits, innovators and organizations to accelerate innovative thinking and make Florida communities more food secure.
Aside from today’s event in Central Florida, three other regional pitch events are taking place throughout the state this week. The three finalists from each region will be invited to present their approaches and compete for the grand prize of $20,000 at the Food Insecurity Challenge statewide showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the GuideWell Innovation Center. All 12 statewide finalists will also receive a unique opportunity to attend the GuideWell Block by Block Food Insecurity Forum on Thursday, Oct. 17, an invitation-only, collaborative event bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the state and nation to focus on building food-secure communities in Florida.