Circular Economy in the Food System

Challenges in the Food system require a mind-shift and a thrilling change in the awareness and competencies of young people. Skills for the Future will be a one-year challenge giving students (15 -19 years old) in southern Italy the skills to bring the food economy toward a sustainable future.

With mentorship from agro-food sector leaders, students take on the challenge to reduce food waste and increase efficiency in the food system to the realization of winning project-ideas through an eye-opening and skill development training.

Italy Idea Camp

The Skills for the Future Idea Camp took place on 14 and 15 December 2020. All the activities were held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

128 students from 14 schools across the Sicily region attended the event and actively participated in the activities. Students were supported by 28 mentors from the Economics Department of the University of Catania.

Students worked on one of the following challenges:

  1. Food waste: how to reduce food waste during picking, processing, delivery and how to foster better consumer behaviour.
  2. Agriculture 4.0: how to grow produce following Agriculture 4.0 principles.
  3. Healthy nutrition and prevention of noncommunicable diseases.

After students presented their ideas and video pitches, an expert jury gave them feedback and assigned special mentions.

The best ideas were the following:

This idea tackles the challenge “Healthy nutrition and prevention of noncommunicable diseases”. It aims to create an app to monitor the daily intake of sucrose, showing the results to consumers or those who have a medical condition. This idea was developed by Class III A of I.T.T. “E. Majorana” of Milazzo (ME, Sicily).

This challenging idea aims to build a pen that identifies contaminants in agri-food products. Consumers and experts could use the Healthy Pen to evaluate the quality of an agri-food product and choose accordingly. Healthy Pen embraces the Agriculture 4.0 challenge. This idea was developed by Class IV A of the I.I.S. “G. Curcio” Institute in Ispica (RG, Sicily).

Soil is becoming scarce for agriculture and sometimes has a reduced capacity to support plant growth. The Shared Garden proposes developing a platform for easier use of abandoned agricultural land by connecting different stakeholders such as landowners, farmers, and final consumers. This idea embraces Agriculture 4.0 to safeguard resources and grow food sustainably. It was proposed by Class III A of I.I.S. “A. Damiani” Marsala (TP, Sicily).

Globally, about 2 billion people are overweight, whereas 800 million are undernourished. Health and Well-being proposes creating a digital platform with information on products for people with eating disorders, supported by expert recommendations. The idea was developed by Class III A of I.T. “S. Citelli” Regalbuto (EN, Sicily).

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our ways of interacting and working together. The Idea Camp 2020 took place in a virtual environment and, despite the difficulties of online learning, students showed genuine engagement and interest. Solutions were proposed for more sustainable and circular agri-food systems in the framework of the “Food-Health-Planet” challenge. The video below offers a sneak peek into the participants’ experience. The Skills for the Future project team wishes students a successful development of the ideas into real businesses!

We Are Looking for Mentors!

Join us and share your knowledge and experience with student teams a few times over the academic year.