TreeHugger is at the INDEX: Design to improve life Awards in Copenhagen. The challenge is to "Inspire, Educate and Engage in designing sustainable solutions to global challenges." Here are the winners; greater detail will follow.
This one caught me by surprise; a paper that extends the life of food products, developed by Kavita Shukla, a young inventor and designer. It is already in production, and Kavita did the most wonderful introduction to it which will be shown in a subsequent post. She was also excited to meet a TreeHugger rep; Melissa's post on Freshpaper was one of the first to cover it.
While the world’s farmers harvest enough food to feed the planet, it is estimated that up to 50% of the global food supply is wasted. Fenugreen is taking on this enormous, yet often overlooked, global challenge with a simple design, FreshPaper. Low-cost, compostable and infused only with organic spices, FreshPaper keeps produce fresh for 2-4x longer, and holds the potential to change how the world keeps its food fresh.
Kavita Shukla, a young inventor and designer, came across an old home remedy after accidentally drinking some tap water while visiting her grandmother in India. Her grandmother gave her a “spice tea,” and when she didn’t get sick, her curiosity was sparked. After years of experimenting with the spices (starting with a middle school science project), she discovered a new application of her grandmother's generations-old home remedy - a remarkably effective way to keep food fresh. She was awarded a patent for FreshPaper at the age of 17. Today FreshPaper is available in stores across the United States, , including Whole Foods and Wegmans, and used by farmers and families in over 35 countries.
Why the Judges liked it:
Jury Chairman Mikal Hallstrup points out: "It is a simple design that splits people into skeptics and believers. It solves a problem that everyone faces, but no one has found a solution to. FreshPaper is simple, low-tech and hyper affordable, with the potential to scale into new markets. The product has taken off in the United States, but it has immense potential to improve the lives of those living in less developed areas as well, where access to refrigerators are limited. Not only that, but the design is an iconic example of the challenge of food; it's not about producing more but rather about preventing spoilage."
What she is doing with the prize money:
Kavita Shukla and Fenugreen will use the award sum of €100,000 for:
- Distribution by partnering with NGO's and/or research institutions to distribute FreshPaper in India and/or Africa.
- Identifying new markets and contexts of use in Africa or India and/or identifying new application contexts, e.g. in non-fridge households or farming.
- Further research, development and testing (including in the field) to develop new versions and different applications.
- Assessment and reporting on impact to the INDEX: Design to Improve Life® organization .