Each year, FoodShot Global, a collaborative investment platform, asks individuals, companies, and organizations to develop transformative food system solutions. These challenges, known as MoonShots for Better Food, tackle pressing issues surrounding sustainability, nutrition, and equity in the food system. This year, FoodShot Global launched two focus areas for the MoonShots for Better Food Challenge centered on soil health and protein discovery.
The first 2020 FoodShot, Innovating Soil 3.0, Deep Dive, reflects FoodShot Global’s ongoing efforts to shift global land management from extractive to restorative practices. The FoodShot seeks to fund innovations that focus on three key areas: measurement of soil carbon levels, microbiome functionality, and rapid adoption of regenerative practices.
FoodShot Global identified these themes after conducting an examination of topics missing from last year’s inaugural MoonShot Prizes. They hope that this year’s solutions will complement the innovations of past winners such as Dr. Dorn Cox’s OpenTEAM — or Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management — which provides farmers around the world with an open source platform to share science-based soil health data and recommendations.
FoodShot Global’s second 2020 FoodShot focus area, Precision Protein, calls for a more nuanced understanding of protein. Of all macronutrients, protein has the greatest impact on resources, environmental ecosystems, and human and animal health, according to FoodShot Global. This FoodShot aims to rigorously investigate the role of proteins, peptides, and amino acids in improving human and animal health. It also encourages the production of diversified sources of proteins such as insects and algae, as well as solutions for more efficient and regenerative livestock and aquaculture systems.
Founder and Chairman of FoodShot Global, Victor E. Friedberg tells FoodTank, “With this next FoodShot we hope to reframe the discussion [away] from plant protein vs animal protein, good vs evil, and focus on the protein system holistically, without any silver bullets.” Friedberg hopes the FoodShot will align solutions in protein science, production, processing, and personalization with the needs of a growing population in a resource constrained world.
To carry out the yearly MoonShot Challenges, FoodShot Global relies on support from an international consortium of venture funds, banks, corporations, universities, non-governmental organizations, and foundations. The winning for-profit businesses receive equity, debt, and blended finance. Winners working in research, early stage entrepreneurship, and advocacy receive cash prizes. All winners of FoodShot challenges also gain access to expert guidance and capacity building resources.
Friedberg explains that to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050, the world needs transformative food system solutions. “What is clear now more than ever is that food and human health are inextricably linked. As complex as the path ahead is, the goal is quite simple: we need to deliver quality and affordable nutrition to our human populations while maintaining the health of the planet.”