Iowa State University Student Start-up Wins Global Award for Combating Food Waste

November 7th, 2016

AMES, Iowa – The KinoSol team, which began as an Iowa State University student start-up, recently won second place and $35,000 in the Global Citizen Waislitz Award competition in New York City.

KinoSol co-founder, Elise Kendall, was selected as one of three finalists worldwide to present an idea that alleviates world hunger and food waste. The idea she presented outlined how a KinoSol unit — a solar-powered food dehydrator for fruits, vegetables, grains and insects — can be used to aid in reducing food waste.

“Whether you live in Shanghai or deep in the Andes Mountains, we have a unit that easily preserves produce of all kinds,” said Kendall, an Iowa State global resource systems 2016 graduate. “The goal of KinoSol is to end food waste, increase nutrient availability and improve livelihoods around the world. Today, one third of all food produced is wasted. KinoSol is working to save this third."

Along with Kendall, the team includes Mikayla Sullivan and Ella Gehrke, Iowa State seniors in global resource systems; and Clayton Mooney, a 2012 graduate who is a junior entrepreneur-in-residence with Iowa State’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The team designed the solar-powered dehydrator in response to a Thought for Food Global Challenge competition in 2015. The competition challenged university students worldwide to form teams and develop ideas to address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. The team didn’t win, but continued its mission to obtain funding to develop and market KinoSol dehydrators.

The team is midway through a Kickstarter campaign to increase awareness about food waste in the United States. KinoSol units were initially designed for rural farmers in developing countries and the team is working to expand its use to urban residents.

“We recently added ending domestic and specifically consumer food waste to the KinoSol mission,” Gehrke said. “This Kickstarter fundraiser will help us tremendously as we move on with prototyping and developing a unit that we are comfortable putting on the urban market."

The funds will be used to develop urban KinoSol units, which will help reduce a portion of the average $1,800 spent every year on wasted food by American households.
“Kickstarter is the perfect platform for us to launch a community driven movement to bring awareness to the global problem of food waste,” Mooney said.

The Kickstarter fundraiser ends Nov. 18. For more information:


Clayton Mooney, Economics, (515) 294-6740,
Ella Gehrke, Global Resource Systems,
Mikayla Sullivan, Global Resource Systems,
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-0707,