Food Sustainability Innovation Challenge


Food Sustainability Flyer

School of Hospitality Launches Food Sustainability Student Challenge for Spring 2024

The USF School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has teamed up with USF Dining Services and Aramark to host a student competition to address pressing food system issues and showcase solutions.

The global COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus issues related to food systems, supply chains, environmental sustainability, food insecurity, and the looming challenges to come from global climate change. Focus has since increased on addressing food waste in hospitality, reducing food insecurity, sourcing sustainably and inclusively, and promoting ocean friendly practices by reducing single use plastics. Carbon footprints from far flung food supply chains have also been scrutinized with local food systems being promoted. 

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have offered a framework to promote sustainability with 17 interconnected goals from SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 2 Zero Hunger to SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. Aramark’s sustainability plan is aligned with the UN SDGs and it aims to make a positive impact on people and planet. Aramark is working to reduce inequity, support and grow our communities, and protect our planet.


Entries will include an abstract (250 words) of the project and the submission which can take multiple forms to reflect the need to adopt transdisciplinary approaches to tackle the challenges and disruptions to the food system and promote solutions. The solutions presented need to align with at least one UN SDG that is featured in your idea and have implementable outcomes (to reduce food waste with a target goal, increase awareness about an issue to a specific group of people, create a map of local food systems, get a climate friendly recipe adopted by a hospitality enterprise, etc.).


  • Policy paper reviewing one of the problems in the food system with recommended solutions (5 pages or less).
  • Esri ArcGIS Story Map displaying the issues and solutions in visual and text formats with a targeted audience to impact.
  • A performative piece highlighting one or more of the food system issues: song, poem, piece of art. Performances should be 5 minutes or less must be original and not copyrighted by someone else. The audience and impact need to be described in the entry forms.
  • Environmentally friendly recipe with video demonstrating the preparation and showcasing sustainable ingredients, food miles involved of the individual ingredients, carbon impact of the recipe, and ethical sourcing. Targeted hospitality organization to implement the recipe needs to be identified with a specific implementation plan.
  • A Film Short creatively exploring a major food system issue. The film will be judged on its ability to educate, inspire, and raise awareness. Film shorts should be 5 minutes or less. Targeted audience and impact needs to be described.
  • A business plan for promoting sustainable food systems that could be implemented by you or an organization/business.
  • Other creative entries are welcomed.


  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards (1st place $3,000, 2nd place $1,500, 3rd place $1,000)
  • 3 runner ups ($500 each)
  • 4 high school awards: 1st place $1,000, second place $500 and 2 runner ups ($250 each). High school students must have a sponsoring teacher


  • Certificate of Participation
  • Presentation at a local conference (opportunities include 7th Annual Grow Gardens Conference April 2024, USF STRENGTH through Sustainable Tourism Conference July 2024, USF Urban Food Sovereignty Summit Oct. 2024)
  • Project feature on the digital wall in the Muma College of Business


  • USF individuals, groups and/or student clubs are eligible to apply.
  • The competition is open to USF students.
  • The competition is open to all high school students
  • Submissions are due March 20, 2024
  • The top 15 entries will present and pitch their idea in 5 minute presentations on April 5, 2024, from 3-6pm in BSN 115 where the winners will be announced.


Brooke Hansen, Associate Professor of Instruction, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Muma College of Business