Season5 Win €62,000 in Urban Food from Residual Heat Open Innovation Competition

Gothenburg-based consortium Season5 were announced as winners of the Urban Food from Residual Heat competition on Wednesday this week. The consortium composed of architects, urban farmers, engineers, consultants and social entrepreneurs claimed the grand prize of 650,000 SEK – approximately € 62,000 – in Sweden’s largest ever innovation competition at the final awards ceremony Food and Cities conference hosted by the City of Malmö.

The competition has been seeking an answer to the question ‘can we create food production centres in urban areas that are powered by low-temperature residual heat streams found in the city?’. In reality, however, the competition has asked for much more than that, demanding that proposals meet strict criteria within social and economic sustainability.

“It was a complicated question to answer as it was important that the winning solutions satisfied a wide variety of criteria, beyond just making the production of food technically viable,” says the competition’s head organiser professor, Bengt Persson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“Due to the economic barriers that often prevent food production in urban areas being feasible, any urban food production centre needs to have an innovative business model and significant social impact. I think all our finalists today achieved that”.

International Reach

Launched in March 2017, the competition has received entries from over 20 different countries worldwide, including ideas submitted from Kuwait, Jordan, the United States, and Kenya. Over the course of the competition, individual participants formed into six separate consortia, combining their individual competencies and ideas to create proposals covering all aspects of the centre design, from recovering energy from waste heat streams to the sale of goods and services on the local market. Whittled down to three finalists in March this year, after much deliberation the competition jury decided to award the final prize to Season5 as their unique modular model and approach to their centre’s business model was felt to have the edge on the other finalists.

Presenting the award to Season5, Märta Stenevi, Mayor of City Planning and Service, City of Malmö, highlighted the growing societal disconnect between residents of the city and the food they eat and the need for food systems to operate within the planetary boundaries. Congratulating the team on demonstrating how this can be effectively reduced, she stressed the need for more innovative urban food initiatives in order to close this divide.

Looking back at their journey, project leader for Season5, Fredrik Olson said “It’s a great platform for our concept. It’s fantastic to win but we want to build this obviously and build a lot of them, we are not content yet”. Looking to the future he added “There could be potential for a network of several of these installations. We have just started a feasibility study in Gothenburg about multi-functional greenhouses for food production and social functions. The process is similar to this one actually, so we could also bring a lot of knowledge in from that to this for example”

Following the competition, there is already interest from some of the Swedish cities to implement the team’s proposal. Per-Arne Nilsson, Head of the City of Malmö’s Manager of the Environmental Management Department, city development and climate is one such city. “We entered this competition because we were looking for ways to improve the sustainability and urban fabric of the city’s harbour area which is currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment. We see the contents of this proposal as an opportunity to create both a socially and environmentally sustainable installation as a centrepiece to this redevelopment. We look forward to working further with the Season5 team in the very near future.”

Reflecting on the competition process as an organiser, Peter Vangsbo, Climate-KIC said “We are very happy with the outcome of this process. We had three very strong finalists, answering what is, in reality, a very difficult question. And as such, selecting the winner was possibly the most difficult decision. Looking to the future, we are now looking forward to working with the Season5 team and our four Swedish city partners to attract investors for this project and bring this vision to life”.

Competition organisers and supporters

The Urban Food from Residual Heat is coordinated and managed by Swedish Surplus Energy Collaboration (SSEC). SSEC is a contractually bound collaborative partnership between cities, research institutions, the private sector and network organisations.

The innovation competition partnership is made up of thirteen partners: Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), Climate-KIC Nordic, Malmö Stad, Bjuvs Kommun, Oskarshamns Kommun, Lunds Kommun, E.ON Sverige, Kraftringen, Veolia, Sustainable Business Hub, Region skåne, ICA Fastigheter, Atri Nova/Oskarshamn kommun, and Länsstyrelsen Skåne.

The competition has been kindly supported by grants from Vinnova and the competition partnership.

 
Location
Sweden
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