From agricultural price indices to cereal usage stocks, reams of data about our food production and consumption have been opened up to the public by the government and businesses alike. Now the public is being invited to get creative about how we can use this data to improve the way we eat.
To be in the running to win the £40,000 prize, entrants are asked to respond to a specific challenge question:
How can we use open data to help people eat more healthily, eat more sustainably and / or have a more secure food chain?
The Food Open Data Challenge is one in a series of seven challenges run by Nesta and the Open Data Institute (ODI) to create new products and services that use open data (data that is freely available to the public). The Challenge welcomes entries from people from technical backgrounds, those working in the food production sector and informed members of the public.
Like FoodTrade, (match-making businesses to work together for a responsible and efficient food system), and Sincru (sells farm surplus direct to customers), open data is already used by many websites and applications to help address social issues. The challenge invites entrants to draw inspiration from tools and services already utilising open data in the food sector.
The open data food challenge wants to encourage more open data products and tools that support food production, trade and consumption and specifically those which focus on:
• Healthy eating
• Food security
The challenge is supported by Food Challenge Champion Amy Cooper, founder of social enterprise Secret Seed Society and urban food gardener, who will work across the programme to help explore the open data potential and to convene a community of participants with great ideas.
“This is a great opportunity to demonstrate to government, business and individuals how open data can be converted into meaningful information. I hope we’ll see participants from a variety of backgrounds coming together to design products or services powered by open data which will help people eat healthily, sustainably or create a more secure food chain.”
A list of open data sources that could be used as part of the challenge is available on the Open Data Challenge Series page of the Nesta website.
To apply or find out more visit the Food Open Data Challenge page. Applications will close on Monday 27 October at midday. A select group of entrants will then be invited to test their ideas at a Creation Weekend before three finalists are given a £5,000 prize and a tailored package of support for the two month incubation phase which will help develop their idea further. An overall winner will then be decided in January 2015.