ChowMatch to Collaborate with the University of Maryland to Develop the Next-Generation Food Surplus Distribution Platform under a $5M Award from the National Science Foundation.

A team led by University of Maryland has been awarded $5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop NourishNet, an advanced technology solution that will integrate all sectors involved in reducing food waste and hunger.

The overall project, led by Dr. Stephanie Lansing, professor in UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will feature FoodLoops, a real-time app to optimize surplus food distribution to food insecure people, and Quantum Nose, a portable and user-friendly food quality sensor that can detect early-stage food spoilage.  ChowMatch, the team led by Tod Hing will develop the FoodLoops App over the next three years with Dr. Vanessa Frias-Martinez of UMD’s Advanced Computer Studies and her team overseeing the design, implementation and testing of the software project. Dr. Cheng Gong of UMD’s Electrical and Computer Engineering, developer of the Quantum Nose, will help to integrate the food sensor with FoodLoops.

Tod Hing, CEO of ChowMatch shared this when asked about their involvement:

“When we were approached by University of Maryland to collaborate on the development of a national solution to eliminate food waste and hunger, we immediately thought it was the perfect match between ChowMatch and UMD.”

With the ChowMatch food recovery platform already deployed in over 700 cities and recovering over 30 million pounds of surplus food annually, NourishNet will add several key software and hardware components to the solution that will finally integrate donors, generators, distributors, agencies, and food insecure families and individuals onto one platform.

Tod recently attended the 2024 NSF Convergence Accelerator Principal Investigators Conference in Arlington, Va, and had this to say:

“It was a valuable three days collaborating and brainstorming with the NourishNet team that included the University of Maryland, and the other partners LindaBen Foundation, SCS Engineers, Well Said Media, and Prince George’s County Food Equity Council.  The NSF conference gave us the opportunity to learn more about the seven teams granted the $35M in Phase 2 to tackle food and insecurity challenges.  The ChowMatch team is very excited to be a part of one of the revolutionary technology solutions.”

Douglas Maughan, head of the NSF Convergence Accelerator program, had this to say:

“A collaborative approach between academic researchers, industry, government, nonprofits and other communities is important to optimize the production of food and connections between farmers and consumers, researchers and other stakeholders.  A lot of great work was accomplished by all teams in Phase 1, but there is still more to be done. The teams selected for Phase 2 are expected to build innovative, tangible solutions and strong partnerships to address food scarcity, irrigation issues, supply chain inequalities and inefficiencies and more.”

Significant contributors to the NourishNet project will also include Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez (project manager), Dr. Caroline Boules, Glen Hellman, Dr. Hee-Jung Song, Dr. Oliver Schlake, Dr. James MacDonald, Graham Binder, Lisa Alexander, Anna Beavan, Rachel Franceschi, Heaven Jordan, Julia Groenfeldt, Eleanor (Teddy) Broglie, Parita Shah, Dr. Amro Hassanein, Dr. Darrin Dilah, Hilary Shaw, Renee Comings and Devan Accardo.

Read the full press release and NourishNet project abstract from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Hing Consulting & Development (dba ChowMatch) is a private company with a public purpose. Some of our long-term partners since 2015 include Manna Food Center, Stanford University Biomedical department, Kern County Public Health, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, and Peninsula Food Runners.

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