The NourishNet Team
Image Credit: Graham Binder
Prince George’s County, MD – A University of Maryland team, including the PG County Food Equity Council has been awarded a $5 million award by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop NourishNet, featuring Quantum Nose, a portable and user-friendly food quality sensor that can detect early-stage food spoilage, and FoodLoops, a real-time app to optimize surplus food distribution to food insecure people.
This project will unite a network of producers, donors, distributors and those who are hungry to fill food pantries with fresh produce and reduce food waste. The Prince George’s Food Equity Council will help drive the project’s initial area of focus on English- and Spanish-speaking food-insecure individuals in Prince George’s County.
Prince George’s County Food Equity Council Program Associate Heaven Jordan stated, “We are proud to be an integral part of NourishNet’s Phase 2 journey. The innovative solutions align with our mission to address food insecurity and promote more equitable and sustainable agriculture practices.”
Under the leadership of Professor Stephanie Lansing from UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the NourishNet Team has secured funding through the NSF Convergence Accelerator’s Track J: Food & Nutrition Security.
“We are thrilled to receive Phase 2 funding from the NSF Convergence Accelerator, which gives us the resources to create new connective tissue between consumers, producers, donors/distributors, and institutions,” said Lansing.
During Phase 2, NourishNet plans to achieve key milestones such as direct sales and distributing their innovative toolbox, comprehensive financial marketing and business development, and expanded consumer education initiatives within food pantries and national universities. New partnerships with organizations like ChowMatch, LindaBen Foundation, SCS Engineers, and Well Said Media will complement existing collaborations, including the valued partnership with the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council.
“This project has several ambitious goals, but our main focus is to deploy NourishNet on a national scale to increase food accessibility for all populations, and reduce spoilage to build a more sustainable and responsible food system,” said Lansing.
Aligned with Track J’s objectives, NSF aims to transform food systems nationwide, ensuring access to healthy, safe, and affordable food, while promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
Jordan adds, “As we move forward, we are confident in our ability to create positive change and enhance food equity for all.”
About the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council:
The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) is a local food policy council that works to help residents grow, sell, and choose healthy foods. Since 2013, FEC has been a voice for county residents at the policymaking table. The FEC focuses on systematic and sustainable changes to promote health, economic opportunity, food security, and well-being in Prince George’s by advocating for policy that creates a more equitable local food system. The FEC is fiscally sponsored by the Institute for Public Health Innovation. For more information on FEC, visit www.pgcfec.org and follow FEC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook | @pgcfec.
About the National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator:
Launched in 2019, the NSF Convergence Accelerator — a TIP program — accelerates solutions toward societal and economic impact through multidisciplinary teams using convergence research fundamentals and innovation processes. For more information, visit new.nsf.gov/funding/initiatives/convergence-accelerator.
About the National Institute of Food and Agriculture:
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts.