Wednesday, 03 July 2019 12:10

Hackathon to tackle food waste problem

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Hackathon to tackle food waste problem Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Technology devotees, data hackers and eco-engineers are taking part in a weekend long hackathon at Tech Fe(a)st in Brisbane when they will try to hack the problem of food waste by designing a prototype community composting system.

The weekend long hackathon at Substation 33 in Logan, Brisbane, from 5 to 7 July, is part of a new Food Agility CRC project led by QUT and Lendlease, that aims to make Yarrabilba in South East Queensland Australia’s first "sustainable food city".

The winning team will get $1000 and the glory of designing the system to be incorporated into Lendlease’s masterplan development at Yarrabilba, which will be home to 45,000 people by 2041.

The brief for the participants is to create a prototype composting system that tracks waste contributions from community members and offers "green credits" that can be exchanged for local goods.

Food Agility chief executive Dr Mike Briers said Yarrabilba would ultimately become a national model for digitally integrated, sustainable urban agriculture and the "circular food economy".

“The world is grappling with a major food challenge: how to make enough healthy food to feed a growing population, with less available land while minimising waste and environmental impact," he said.

“Yarrabilba will be a test ground for how we can embed cutting-edge digital technologies into the design of our cities to create local food systems fuelled by food waste.”

Stage two of the three-year project involves establishing small-scale food production enterprises where goods and services can be exchanged via Smartphone technology.

Yarrabilba Development director Michelle Wooldridge said the research would be incorporated into Lendlease‘s development plans at Yarrabilba.

“This will be the first circular economy community that integrates social, economic and environmental values to provide a dynamic and empowered community that fosters sharing, access, connection, diversity and control.

“We’re looking at environmental sustainability and community health in a whole new way and building in the necessary infrastructure from the beginning. We also think this will generate economic opportunities, whether that’s through urban farming, creating value out of waste or food-based tourism.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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