Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
Zero Five Farming
Explain your idea in details:
Zero land and five percent of the amount of water commonly used in traditional field farming, these are the numbers of Zero Five Farming. The goal is to provide a sustainable source of fresh and safe vegetables to communities living in desertified areas. The use of aeroponic growing techniques allows green leaf vegetables and potatoes to grow without using any water. Standardized aeroponic kits can be organized in energy autonomous modules to be delivered, set up and remotely monitored. Any manual intervention can be operated by the member of the community who benefits from the specific module keeping him or her actively involved in the project and empowering him or her to help and support other communities or individuals managing their modules. Cooperation with local authorities, universities and companies will be fundamental to give the necessary support to every phase of the project, from the planning to the deployment. The members of each community will be actively involved in order to find the right location, provide logistic support, take care of the modules and benefit from their products. The implementation of the Zero Five Farming project will prompt the local schools and authorities to improve the learning programs in fields such as agricultural techniques, engineering and IT in order to have the necessary expertise developed locally. A single module alone cannot feed an entire family but will surely give them the possibility to add new foods to their alimentation and, ideally, to produce an amount in excess to be traded. The module will then became a means of financial sustainability and a full time job, giving to the whole community better development perspectives.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Zero Five Farming aims to fight hunger and malnutrition by improving the accessibility to certain kind of vegetables for communities living in areas where traditional farming is difficult, if not impossible. A single module can be deployed by a family or a set of modules can be set up by a larger number of people. The more modules set up the more vegetables are produced, allowing to feed a larger number of people or even to trade the products. Ideally the cooperation among the members of the community would provide each of them with a stable supply of fresh vegetables that would not be possible to grow otherwise. The technology employed in Zero Five Farming allows for the production food with no water consumption, avoiding waste of our most precious resource. Furthermore, given the possibility to adjust the production based on the community's specific needs, any food waste will be avoided by producing only the necessary amount of food. A critical factor for the project's success is the involvement of the individuals among each community implementing the Zero Five Farming. From day 1 new roles will be created, employing people from the planning phase to the installation of the module. In a latter stage the "growers" will need to support the modules with constant supervision of the correct function of the system and of the crop itself.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
The idea is now at its conceptual stage and therefore more research is needed to define the budget for a single unit deployment. Ideally the research phase would be operated with the cooperation of subjects already operating in areas where the Zero Five Farming project has potential to thrive led by technical experts in the fields of the aeroponic farming and local universities. The research and development phase should result in a prototype of a module and a reliable estimation of the production costs of the module itself. This will allow to work on the actual financial plan to evaluate the scalability and sustainability of the project. Once fully implemented, with the support of external funding, each community involved should then become financially independent in relation to the module usage and development. Trading the module's products and the services related to the maintaneance and improvement will allow everyone involved to benefit from the fresh food and to give their active contribution through their work.
24 yo from Italy. Business graduate in Rome with international experience and hunger for challenges and discoveries. During my time in Finland, I developed relationships with fellow business students from all over the world and joined the vibrant community of Aalto University. In China I jumped into a completely different culture and experienced the thrill of one of the most dynamic societies and economies of our times. In Slovakia I joined a large multinational company dealing with the complexities of the worldwide business environment. I look forward to the next countries, people and challenges this idea will bring me in touch with.