Canadian Space Agency

Deep Space Food Challenge

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The Deep Space Food Challenge (DSFC) wishes to thank the Technical Reviewers from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) for their support in the evaluation process of DSFC submissions. Their expertise and generous contribution to the Challenge are greatly appreciated.


The Jury

Lynn Blackwood

Policy Analyst-Food Security, Department of Health and Social Development – Nunatsiavut Government

  • Full bio

    Lynn is a Nunatsiavut Beneficiary born and raised in Happy Valley- Goose Bay, NL. Lynn completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University and her Dietetic Internship with the Health Care Corporation of St John’s now Eastern Health in St. John’s NL. Lynn works with the Nunatsiavut Government as a Policy Analyst focusing on the Food Security file. Lynn is one of few Indigenous Dietitians in Canada. Lynn has worked over 20 years as a Dietitian in the North West Territories, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Lynn is Director of the Dietitians of Canada board and will be joining the Canadian Foundation of Dietetic Research board as a director this summer. In her spare time Lynn enjoys cooking, reading and exercise as well as spending time with her husband, daughter and 2 dogs.

Lynn Crawford

Celebrity Chef, Author, Restaurateur, Canadian Food Ambassador

  • Full bio

    Acclaimed Food Network celebrity chef and bestselling author, Chef Lynn Crawford has over 25 years of culinary experience, including many years as executive chef for the Four Seasons Hotels in Toronto and New York. One of the highest profile chefs in the country and a genuine household name, she is continually sought after as a dynamic host, public speaker, brand ambassador, spokesperson and mentor.

    Chef Lynn is recognized for her appearances as a competitor on Iron Chef Canada, Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, and as a judge on Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada.

    Chef Lynn is a longtime supporter of the farm-to-table movement and sustainability and a dedicated philanthropist, giving back by participating in several charitable initiatives.

    Chef Lynn is passionate about cooking and educating and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge, wisdom and expertise, teaching children, chefs and home cooks where their food comes from and to take pride in having a hand in the whole process of making and enjoying the healthy, delicious food they cook.

Lawrence Goodridge, PhD

Leung Family Professor of Food Safety & Director, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, Department of Food Science, Ontario Agricultural College – University of Guelph

  • Full bio

    After completing a B.Sc. Honours degree in Microbiology at the University of Guelph, Lawrence completed both his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Food Science with an emphasis on microbial detection of foodborne pathogens, also at Guelph, before leaving for a Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue his training in microbial food safety in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Doyle in the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. Prior to returning to Guelph, Lawrence has held faculty positions at the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University. More recently, he was the Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety in the Food Science Department at McGill University. In January, 2019, Lawrence joined the Department of Food Science as Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, where he holds the Leung Family Professorship in Food Safety. Dr. Goodridge conducts research related to control and detection of pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. Dr. Goodridge has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has been awarded more than $30 million in research funding from US, Canadian and international funding sources.

Thomas Graham, PhD Co-Chair

Assistant Professor and PhytoGro Research Chair in Controlled Environment System, School of Environmental Sciences, Ontario Agricultural College – University of Guelph

  • Full bio

    Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and the PhytoGro Research Chair in Controlled Environment Systems at Ontario Agricultural College (University of Guelph). Over his nearly 25-year research career, including a 3-year NASA Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Thomas has participated in a wide variety of space-related research and outreach activities covering numerous ground, parabolic, sub-orbital, and ISS experiments/outreach activities. Thomas teaches upper year undergraduate and graduate courses in Controlled Environment Systems/Agriculture and Environmental Remediation, including modules on bioregenerative life-support for human space exploration. Thomas also advises numerous graduate and undergraduate research course students, and regularly serves as a mentor for grade school science projects. Thomas is involved in space-based STEM programs (e.g., TomatosphereTM), and is an editor for several scientific journals, including two recent special issues focusing of crop production in space and space analogues settings.

Chris Hadfield Co-Chair

Astronaut | First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station

  • Full bio

    Referred to as “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Chris Hadfield became a household name as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. Hadfield is also a bestselling author of four books, an acclaimed musician, and the host of two internationally acclaimed television series, including National Geographic’s One Strange Rock.

Jas Jaaj

Managing Partner, AI and Data – Deloitte

  • Full bio

    As Managing Partner, AI and Data, Jas oversees a global team of AI strategists, data scientists, machine learning & data engineers, and risk specialists, working to help businesses drive growth through innovation, technology and data-driven decision-making. Jas also champions our client’s and the firm’s acceleration to be an AI-first enterprise, collaborating with business leaders across the firm to infuse AI and a data-informed approach into all key market offerings to bring differentiated value to our client's transformation journey.

    With over 20 years of experience in tech, data and AI, Jas specializes in collaborating with enterprises to transform their organizations from being AI-aware to AI-first. Prior to joining Deloitte, Jas has stellar track record of being an innovative leader, having led multiple practices in the emerging technology space, including Blockchain and Digital.

    Jas is passionate about fueling the Canadian economy by leveraging the power of AI. He is a change agent and an active advisor to multiple external Boards and the AI start-up ecosystem, including being a member of Canada Space Agency’s Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare where he is helping shape Canada’s role in deep space missions to the Moon and Mars.

Chantal Langlois

Kitikmeot Regional Clinical Dietitian for the Nunavut Department of Health

  • Full bio

    Chantal Langlois has been Kitikmeot Regional Clinical Dietitian for the Government of Nunavut Department of Health since 2017. Prior to coming to Nunavut, she worked for nearly thirty years in primary health care (Centre local de services communautaires-CLSC) in Québec performing clinical, community and public health nutrition, especially through Food Security, Healthy Lifestyles and Perinatal Programs. She holds a Dietetic BSc from Université Laval. On behalf of the GN-DH (Kitikmeot), she has been promoting and developing collaborations with researchers, community stakeholders, decision makers and funders to support local and regional Public Health Nutrition initiatives that further a healthy, autonomous, and sustainable Inuit Food System, such as the Indoor Year-Round Cambridge Bay Greenhouse Project.

Frank Leffelaar

Agri-food Tech Strategy & Growth Advisor, Mentor, Angel & Impact Investor, Founder – Crush Marketing

  • Full bio

    Frank advises early-stage companies in Agrifood Tech on business and go-to-market strategy and supports them on their journey to get investment ready and scale-up. For the past 10 years he has been actively involved in the innovation ecosystem. As a mentor to startups, an angel and impact investor with an angel fund, as a leadership team member at an angel network and as an Executive in Residence focused on Agtech and Foodtech at a Cleantech accelerator. Prior to advising and mentoring early-stage companies Frank provided marketing strategy and services to SME’s with his agency Crush Marketing. He held senior marketing positions with high-tech SMEs in Canada and US Fortune 500 technology companies in Europe. He studied at the European Business School in London, lived and worked in 5 countries and enjoys traveling and exploring the wine regions of the world.

Lucie Poulet, PhD

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow – NASA Kennedy Space Center

  • Full bio

    Lucie Poulet is currently a NASA Postdoctoral researcher at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the Exploration Research and Technology Program office, within the Space Crop Production group. Her research focuses on studying the interactions between ventilation and photosynthesis in reduced gravity environments, through modeling and experimentations, to design future space greenhouse modules. Lucie Poulet holds a doctorate in process engineering from Clermont Auvergne University (France), a Master of Science in aerospace engineering from Purdue University (Indiana, USA) and Master of Engineering from Nancy School of Mines (France). She participated in four Mars mission simulations (analog missions) - including a 4-month NASA-funded within the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) group - and four parabolic flights to test an experiment she had developed.

Annie Locas, PhD

National Manager, Food Safety Science Services – Microbiology, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Full bio

    Annie is the National Manager of Food Safety Science Services (Microbiology) at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, where her team leads the coordination and implementation of the National food microbiological surveillance programs and related laboratory activities during food safety investigations and foodborne illness events. Annie has 20 years of academic and professional experience related to microbiological risks in food and drinking water as well as management and response of food safety events, surveillance of foodborne pathogens, detection methodologies and risk assessment. Annie is an International Food Safety Authorities (INFOSAN) focal point and serves on the World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Advisory Group on Food Safety – Safer food for better health that supports the update of the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety.

Cara Wehkamp, PhD

Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives – University of Guelph

  • Full bio

    Dr. Cara Wehkamp is of Algonquin and European ancestry and a member of the Antoine Nation. As the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Guelph, her responsibilities include guiding the implementation of U of G’s commitments to decolonization and reconciliation and she has dedicated much of her career to enhancing the access and support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners in postsecondary education. Cara’s doctoral work examined the effects of hypobaria on plant development to assist in determining the atmospheric pressures required within bioregenerative life support systems. Her interests include working within holistic, ethical and land based spaces, Indigenous food sovereignty and the weaving of Indigenous and Western science knowledge systems.

Challenge details

Who can apply?

  • Businesses or other for-profit organizations in Canada;
  • Not-for-profit organizations in Canada;
  • Indigenous organizations and groups located in Canada;
  • Post-secondary/academic institutions located in Canada; and
  • Individuals or groups of individuals based in Canada.

Individuals or groups of individuals are encouraged to submit an application to the challenge, but in order to be eligible to receive prizes, they will be required to establish a Canadian legal entity (such as a corporation or a not-for-profit organization) capable of entering into binding agreements in Canada.

Key Dates

  • Phase 1 – Design Report Deadline: July 30, 2021
  • Up to 10 Semi-Finalists Announced: November 9, 2021
  • Phase 2 – Kitchen Demonstration Deadline:January 31, 2023
  • Up to 4 Finalists Announced: Spring 2023
  • Phase 3 – Full System Demonstration Deadline: Winter 2024
  • Canadian Grand Prize Winner Announced: Spring 2024


  • Up to 10 Prizes of CAD $30,000 open to all eligible innovators submitting a Phase 1 concept application.
  • Up to 4 Prizes of CAD $100,000 open to all Semi-Finalists participating in Phase 2.
  • Grand Prize of CAD $380,000 open to all Finalists participating in Phase 3.

Note: The number of winners and prize amounts may vary depending on the applications received. For each phase, prize amounts will not be less than the amount per winner indicated above.