RMIT student Simon Berman has won the $2000 first prize at the fifth Green Innovators Competition for the innovative thinking behind his "Trove" food production project.
Berman, a Master of Information Technology student, impressed the judging panel and audience at the 2016 Sustainable Living Festival with an aquaponics food production concept.
“In order to meet the demands of the next two billion people, the planet will need to produce the same amount of food it has in the past 10,000 years in just the next 50,” he explains.
The modular and scalable system - called the Trove Project - addresses food security on a personal, regional, national and global scale, challenging today’s unsustainable systems of food production and consumption.
Trove is an integrated, modular system that allows the growing of fish and vegetables in any given environment.
Berman’s design is customisable with self-handling features, each module managing its own water, data, communication and power.
Outlining his vision for the project, Berman said: “Food security is a huge, and growing global concern, but unlike many geopolitical issues of this magnitude, individuals and small communities can make a real difference.
"I hope that by providing a simple food production system, the project can have a hand in empowering people to do so.
"The panel provided incredible feedback and encouragement and I am excited about now building a team which complements my skills, and taking the next steps."
Led by facilitator Bernie Hobbs, an award-winning science writer and broadcaster, the panel of judges provided insightful feedback to the finalists on how they could advance their projects beyond the competition.
The 2016 competition judges included Simon Lockrey (award-winning designer), Giselle Wilkinson (Cofounder of the Sustainable Living Foundation) and Emily Ballyntyne-Brody (expert in sustainable design).
Other finalists included Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) students, Oscar Fehlberg and Taemin Kim.
Fehlberg's electric cargo bike, the EsCargo, addresses transport and delivery in growing urban environments, while Kim's animal conservation project, Kids make the Message, is being piloted by the Learning Experiences team at the Melbourne Zoo.
The annual Green Innovators Competition is supported by RMIT’s Sustainability Committee and is a part of the University's initiative to encourage students to "Think Green".
Story: Jordan Di Stefano