Teams of students and community partners will compete against one another in developing solutions to real-world problems in U of G’s Improve Life Challenge March 6.

This year’s theme is “Hack the Farm in a Climate of Change” and will focus on the many challenges facing the agriculture and food sector, including aging demographics, advancements in technology and pressures for sustainable practices.

The Improve Life Challenge involves students from across all U of G programs collaborating with community and government partners to develop practical solutions to tackle the big problems facing the agriculture and food sectors.

At the end of the day, student teams present their solution in a pitch-style competition.

Top three teams will receive monetary prizes and have the opportunity to continue working with their community or industry partner to implement their solution.

The event is organized by the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Ontario Agricultural College, John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise, Arrell Food Institute, Research Innovation Office and Community Engaged Scholarship Institute.

“The event provides an opportunity to work across disciplines and collaborate on real challenges facing real organizations,” said Erin Doherty, program manager at the Wood Centre.

Several community partners have teamed up to provide real issues facing their industry for the students to investigate so that they can collaborate and develop unique solutions.

Those partners include the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Maple Lodge Farms, Conestoga Meats, The Co-operators, Highline Mushrooms, Holland Marsh Growers’ Association, OCP Group and Wellington Brewery.