I am thrilled and honored to report that this year the Biodesign Challenge winner from Rutgers is the project Yeasties: Protein to the People. And they are presenting today via live stream at: https://biodesignchallenge.org/summit-2020. The presentations usually take place at a closed summit at NY MOMA. However, because the summit was moved to a virtual space, it is open to the public. So, please log on and while you are at the site, vote for the Rutgers Project at Community Award link here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdKK15-DJ_rjEdhRCbqgxcS9LPpJILFWbOv21n3zx5Xvd4y0Q/viewform

If you miss the Yeasties, Protein to the People presentation in realtime, you can check out their slide presentation and BDC Video at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC0hWViqf4M

The finalist team is Kenzie Mozitis, Alexis Winters, Taylor Vincent, Aliyah Jones, Layla Fitzgerald and from art Aaron Scharonknight (intermedia/digital studies), Alyson Ung (animation), Brian Mazzucco (graphic design) and Josh Feinbaum (theater). The team’s science advisor is Dr. Jens B. Nielson from Chalmers University of Technology in Swededn. 

Each year the Biodesign Challenge group at Rutgers is tasked with envisioning ways that our waste stream may be utilized as a resource. This year’s team was particularly interested in system that can meet the immediate needs of local communities in New Jersey. So, this year RU BDC project considers the types of food that can be found in a food desert, an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. The Yeasties Protein to the People System takes sugary junk food and, through the magic of yeast, turns these unhealthy food items into a yummy sources of protein.

Yeasties, Protein to the People is a domestic farming strategy that has been tailor made for communities living in food deserts or anybody who would like to take a sugar laden Slurpee, soda pop or candy bar and transmute it into something healthier to eat. To use this system all you need is ammonium sulfate, yeast and sugar or sugary junk food. Over 18 hours, the Yeasties system will turn these simple ingredients into a delicious, nutrient dense, source of protein. 

The Yeasties system is cruelty free, commerce free, gluten-free and, ultimately, sugar-free. So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a food desert, give our system a try. It’s the yeast you can do for yourself and your nine billion neighbors on planet Earth!

Cheers and best!