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Industry NewsWeston Family Foundation announces ‘Homegrown Innovation Challenge’ judges

Weston Family Foundation announces ‘Homegrown Innovation Challenge’ judges


The Weston Family Foundation has selected an international panel of expert judges for its $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge. The panel will be chaired by Dominic Barton, former chair of Canada’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

The Homegrown Innovation Challenge launched on February 8, 2022, to catalyze innovation by enabling solutions to solve the interconnected challenges that currently prevent the out-of-season production of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada. Participants in the Challenge are asked to create market-ready systems for growing berries year-round in Canada on a commercially viable scale. Teams that successfully complete the Challenge could be awarded up to $8 million in funding from the Weston Family Foundation.

The independent judging panel assembled by the Weston Family Foundation includes the following members:

  • Dominic Barton (Chair), Canada;
  • David Babson, United States;
  • Achim Dobermann, Germany;
  • Hicham Fatnassi, United Arab Emirates;
  • Jennifer Grenz, Canada;
  • Molly Jahn, United States; and
  • Sarai Kemp, Israel.

Based on the preset judging criteria, the judging panel will leverage their expertise and experience to select the strongest contenders. The primary objective of these criteria is to assess the system developed, and not solely the berries produced, to lead to solutions applicable to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

The six-year Challenge runs in several phases.

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