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The Cambridge MAKEit FRUIT & VEG is a unique hybrid MAKEathon comprising a series of live online events and remote prototyping in Cambridge. The participants will work online in teams to create new business ideas that would help the fruit & veg supply chains to become more prepared for future disruptions such as pandemics and climate emergency. The ideas will be converted into physical prototypes with support from Makers and equipment at Makespace Cambridge. 


The Challenge

What can help the fruit & vegetable supply chains become more resilient to disruptions?



The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the inflexibility of our food systems. The fresh fruit & vegetable supply chains are struggling to adapt to the changes caused by the lockdown around the world. As the bulk buyers such as restaurants and schools all shut down, farmers were forced to dump thousands of tonnes of lettuce, potatoes, and strawberries. Local charity kitchens could not absorb all the donated surplus produce from local farms. In the meantime, consumers faced empty shelves at supermarkets due to panic buying. Many consumers turned to online shopping, resulting in drastic increase in the fruit & veg box deliveries. But they had to turn down new customers due to the limited capapcity. 

How can we channel the surplus to those who are in need and minimise valuable fresh produce being wasted? Beyond the COVID-19, what could help the fruit & vegetable supply chain become more resilient and prepared for future disruptions such as weather extremes, Brexit, pandemics? How can we build solutions to diversify the routes to consumers? What could help the farmers to be more agile for different markets? What can assist ugly fruit & veg delivery start-ups cope with volatile supply and demand?

         F&V challenge collage

Images clockwise from top left: masked customers at farmer's market, farmers donate unsold produce to local charities, harvest difficulties due to COVID-19, vegetables dumped at farms, empty shelves during the panic buying, demand surged for fruit & veg box deliveries



A Makeathon works like a hackathon but with an additional opportunity to make a physical prototype of the ideas generated.

On Day 1 and Day 2 (21-22, July), the teams will work together virtually on idea generation, initial sketches and prototypes on Zoom, Slack and Miro and experiment with prototypes with Making Kit at home. In the following four days, Makespace Cambridge will take the ideas to prepare working prototypes remotely. Following Monday, 27th July, will be the official Day 3 for the pitching and award ceremony.  

This is a fantastic opportunity to share your ideas and expertise, help solve the food resilience problem AND try out your skills in a unique environment!



agenda v4

British Summer Time


The Cambridge MAKEit FRUIT & VEG team will provide:

  • Virtual ideation platforms
  • Informative webinars 
    • Fruit & veg challenges and perspectives from various actors
    • Sustainability and resilience of the food supply chain
    • Creative thinking and prototyping
    • Business model development
  • Virtual mentoring and guidance 
  • Physical Home Making Kit 
  • Remote prototyping service with Cambridge Makespace



During Day 1 and 2, participants will actively experiment with the materials in the Making Kit* at home, and share the ideas, sketches and photos of the initial prototypes with the team members and Making mentors.

insert 3

3D printing at Makespace Cambridge

At the end of Day 2, the teams will send the final prototyping plan and sketches to the Making mentors. In the following 4 days, Makers from Cambridge Makespace will make one working prototype per team using available tools and materials such as 



    • Laser cutter
    • 3D printer 
    • Bandsaw
    • Chopsaw
    • Pillar drill
    • and other handtools 
  • Plywood
  • Acrylic board
  • Cardboard
  • Filament
  • Wire
  • Craft materials


Please note that remote prototyping would imply certain limitations in communicating the ideas. The expected level of the prototypes is a working demonstration of the concept, NOT a complete or life-scale model. 

Before the 27th July, the prototypes will be developed by Makespace. Makespace will send a short video clip and photos to the participants for inclusion in their final presentation materials.


Making Kit*

The Making Kit of craft materials will be posted to the partcipants for home prototyping. Due to the logistics of posting, we regret that we will be able to send the Making Kit only to British and EU addresses. For the participants from other regions, we will provide a list of materials to source independently.  


Cambridge MAKEit FRUIT & VEG is part of a series of MAKEathons delivered by the MAKEit Project under the consortium of EIT Food, partially funded by EIT. MAKEit tackles problems in various food supply chains, including fruit & vegetable, sugar, cocoa, dairy, meat, bread & bakery, and seafood.


Cambridge MAKEit FRUIT & VEG is open to innovative individuals aged 18+ from all backgrounds and genders  

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Ambitious innovators and nudgers
  • Compelling storytellers and communicators
  • Imaginative foodies
  • Creative makers and designers
  • World-class researchers, scientists and sociologists
  • People who observe others and get a kick out of solving other people’s problems

You DO NOT need to be a professional in the fruit & veg, just be willing to bring your expertise, passion and team spirit to work collaboratively to solve the problem at hand. PEOPLE FROM ALL DISCIPLINES, ESPECIALLY FROM FOOD SCIENCE, DESIGN, TECHNOLOGY, CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR AND BUSINESS ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY. We are committed to diversity and members of under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Cambridge MAKEit FRUIT & VEG registration is until 13th July. The application will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Places are limited, so apply early to avoid disappointment. 

If you are applying as a team (up to 4 members/team), please register individually and specify the team name in the application form.

If you cannot attend the event anymore, please inform the organisers as soon as possible so we can allocate new members to the team from the waiting list prior to the event.


Teams are required to submit the below final materials by 00:00 BST, the 26th July 

  • One page summary of the concept (template will be provided)
  • 2.5-min pre-recorded presentation pitch video covering below items
    • Project title
    • Team name and members
    • Challenge and problem statement
    • Innovation concept and how it works
    • Business model and target market
    • Next steps, necessary resources and implementation plan

Please ensure that the video is not longer than 2.5 minutes in total.

Submissions must be in English.

Hackathon Sponsors


Winner’s plaque with a surprise goody bag delivered home

Surprise surprise!

An invitation to apply for EIT Food venture programmes

For further development and networking with fellow food entrepreneurs

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted. For more info: https://www.eitfood.eu/about-eit-food

An invitation to pitch at Open Innovation Forum November 2020

The OI Forum is a programme of structured support for companies from all stages of the Food and FMCG value chain. Organised by the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, UK.
For further info: https://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/ecs/industry/oiforum/open-innovation-forum-introduction/

Virtual mentoring sessions with Making mentors

For further prototype development

Virtual mentoring sessions with business experts

For identifying the pathways to commercialisation

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Prof Steve Evans

Prof Steve Evans
Director of Research, Centre for Industrial Sustainability, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge

Dominic Oughton

Dominic Oughton
Principal Industrial Fellow, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge

Duncan Catchpole

Duncan Catchpole
Founder and owner, Cambridge Organic Food Co.

Chris Newbold

Chris Newbold
Food Technical Innovation Lead, Marks & Spencer

Mariana Fazenda

Mariana Fazenda
Research Strategy Manager, CambPlants Hub, University of Cambridge

Gemma Birley

Gemma Birley
Director & Project Manager, Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC

Guy Lewis

Guy Lewis
Chief Information Officer, Fresca Group

Lara Allen

Lara Allen
CEO, Centre for Global Equality

Judging Criteria

  • Innovation & Integrity
    Is it addressing the MAKEathon challenge? Is it a creative and original solution for the challenge?
  • Prototype
    Does the prototype demonstrate the concept effectively? Is the innovation concept technically feasible?
  • Sustainability Impact
    When scaled up, will the solution create enough social, environmental value?
  • Business potential
    Is the business model viable? Is it applicable to the real world market and consumers? Is the commercial opportunity scalable?
  • Team & Pitch
    Is the team enthusiastic to continue the entrepreneurial journey? Is the pitch compelling?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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