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Meet the anti-hunger idea that emerged victorious from Jefferson’s Nexus Maximus

Fresh Express, a company that would bring leftover produce from farms and grocery stores to Philly food deserts, won the four-day innovation challenge at the East Falls college.

Students from 10 universities in five countries participated in the challenge. (Courtesy photo)

At the end of Nexus Maximus, the annual four-day innovation challenge at Thomas Jefferson University, 220 students from 10 universities across six countries had come together to think through  Philly’s challenges.

From Sept. 21–24, the students worked on tech solutions to address problems like the opioid crisis, affordable housing and pedestrian safety.

The award for the most innovative solution — as well as people’s choice — went to the group behind Fresh Express, a company that would work to bring leftover produce from farms and grocery stores to Philly food deserts through a digital platform.

Students from Chile, Germany, Northern Ireland, Finland, South Korea and a handful of cities in the U.S. participated in the legacy event, formerly organized by Philadelphia University, which in 2017 merged with Jefferson to become Thomas Jefferson University.

“Diversity breeds creativity and innovation,” D.R. Widder, Jefferson’s vice president of innovation and Steve Blank Innovation Chair, said in a statement. “The more diversity we have, the more creativity we have in innovation.”

At last year’s challenge, students behind the winning project created Amicus, a communication system for refugees.


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