Leedan Trau U of California, Davis, United States of America
The goal of this team is to create a framework for leveraging and building up existing resources in society that would act synergistically to combat malnutrition and food scarcity.
Why: Today, healthier food is very expensive and less healthy food is very cheap. This seems logical economically: lower quality, lower cost or higher quality, higher cost. But perhaps it is more ethically sound to frame it as follows: being rewarded for damaging your health or being punished for trying to improve your health. In an era where medical advancements are far beyond what they have been prior to the past century or so, it seems strange that we allow such ambiguity to enter the sphere of quality nutrition, namely a wide variety of diets and types of food and drink products. In addition to this, with significant innovations in healthcare (and political corruption) comes higher costs. Therefore, it would seem logical to invest in what is likely less expensive than resulting health issues, nutritional capacity. What: In order to combat this issue, we propose the following solution: the creation of a framework for an entity responsible for integration, coordination, and development of existing resources to optimize potential synergies. Generalized Specifics: Today, we have a variety of existing and evolving technologies. To name a few, we have vertical farming, grocery stores, hydrogen fuel cell and electric battery vehicles, smartphones, "ride share" driving and delivery smartphone applications, biodegradable dishes and cutlery, refrigeration, food processing, and navigation technology. The framework that logically forms from all of this is that of a complete system for maximizing food production efficiency in terms of convenience, and perhaps one day, economics, if not already. Concession: To leverage all of these technologies, the proposal is simple, but readers should acknowledge that we concede the actual execution is a leap requiring significant resources and, even though there would likely be a significant reduction in medical costs over the long run, would likely only be feasible for firms at a massive scale. Proposal: 1) Leverage current strategic and demand driven placements of existing food stores (restaurants, grocery stores, supermarkets, etc.) 2) Place strategically devised vertical farms that develop fruits, grains, vegetables, herbs, and spices precisely targeted towards local supermarkets (drive production in line with thorough and consistent information pertaining to demand) 3) Treat food stores as traditionally (serving/selling in-house), but add coordinated delivery system WARNING, FOLLOWING INCLUDES EVEN GREATER "CREATIVITY" 4) Coordinate with "ride share" and delivery smartphone/internet applications to create system of the following (complicated): give drivers with fuel cell vehicles or electric vehicles the following options: a) traditional passenger-only (if relevant), b) flexible passenger or food delivery, c) newer state of the art food delivery (the creative part): give drivers the option to install a food storage and processing system in their cars that would likely require a good deal of development which could likely be carried out successfully. Essentially, install a system where the entire vehicle cabin, asides from the driver seat and regions necessary for visibility, is occupied by refrigeration, room temperature, and/or heat storage systems for a variety of foods/dishes. Offer a permanent system and a removable system, though a removable system would likely need to have less capacity for food products, but drivers might not want to permanently transform their vehicles. In addition, install a blender in the trunk and provide biodegradable cups, napkins, forks, knives, spoons, and potentially other food tools. Once drivers with environmentally friendly vehicles have decided their option, the only two relevant options to this proposal are b and c. Considering option b is taken, there is not much left to be done except for coordinating food stores, drivers, and customers with each other. To do this, an additional application would likely have to be designed and it would be accessible via smartphone and the internet. This application would allow the purchaser to decide what company they would like to transport the goods and what company they would like to purchase the goods from. Also, purchasers would be able to select an option b vehicle or an option c vehicle. An option b vehicle would likely be less limited in that it would be able to bring whatever from the source, while an option c vehicle would likely be slightly more complicated than that. With an option c vehicle, a fairly large quantity of food products would be stored on the vehicle for a prolonged period of time, likely throughout a workday. This would bring rise to a complication of the matter in that strategic design of a variety of these storage systems would likely be challenging, but provide great benefit if executed effectively. More specifically, with an option c storage system, it would likely be wise to employ different storage system configurations to ensure availability of variety among these configurations. Option c systems would also create challenges in that most of these driving/delivery applications currently offer complete flexibility, but option c drivers would likely have to have schedules or minimum workday shift terms. This is why option c would likely be more effective when autonomous vehicles enter the market and could act as mobile dispensers with food processing capabilities in the trunk and environmentally friendly food tools for raw consumption. In addition to all of this, hydrogen infrastructure for FCV fueling and storage of variably generated renewables for also returning to the grid and charging EV's would be beneficial. Also, navigation development would be crucial to generating an optimal balancing between availability, convenience, and cost efficiency. This system in conjunction with extensive renewable production and high quality infrastructure could achieve great things. Conclusion: This system is very demanding in that it would require significant customer participation in order to be economically successful in the modern world. It would also require significant resources to get off the ground. However, as close as this model can be approached would still provide great benefit. When it comes to providing help in the developing world, this system could create greater capacities and efficiencies for city centers where wealth is easier to build, where the city could thereby implement this system and bring in impoverished people from around that given city's country and supply sustenance for them.