Frequently Asked Questions

Entering the competition

Is there aN ENTRY fee?

No. There is no entry fee.

May I enter more than one project to the competition?

No. You may only submit one entry to the competition.

Are students allowed to work in teams; for example, can a group of four students submit one design idea?

No. Only individual entries will be accepted. Team entries will not be accepted.

How do I submit my entry?

Click here to register and complete your entry online. You will be able to save your online entry and come back to it later before submitting. Read more about what is required and how to enter to get started.

To whom do we send permission forms?

Permission forms are submitted as part of your entry online. Click here to register and complete your entry. You will see a section where you can upload a scan of your signed permission form. You will be able to save your online entry and come back to it later before submitting.

Do I need to send a copy of my high school ID when I upload my entry?

No. You do not and should not upload a copy of your high school student ID when you submit.

is there a standard file-naming format required for uploading the design sketch and permission form?

No. Make sure your name or identifying marks are not included on your sketch or file name.

How do I submit a .jpg or .png of both pages of my signed parent/legal guardian consent form since only one image is allowed?

You may submit one image of both pages side by side. Alternately, you may also submit your signed parent/legal guardian consent form as a pdf that contains both pages.

i am a u.s. citizen living and attending high school abroad. am i eligible to enter?

No. To be eligible to enter you must be a high school student in 9th through 12th grades, between the ages of 13-19, residing within the 50 United States at the time you submit an entry.

are international students eligible to participate?

Yes. Any student may enter provided he or she is in high school, grades 9-12, between the ages of 13-19, residing within the 50 United States at the time of you submit an entry.

Can I enter the competition if I am attending a high school in the U.S. at the time of the submission but will move outside of the U.S. after?

Yes, you are eligible to enter if you are a high school student in the U.S. at the time of entry. Please be aware that if you are selected as a finalist, only travel within the U.S. is included, and you are required to attend the Mentor Day and final judging. If you are selected as the winner, trips also only include travel within the U.S. and are optional. Please refer to the complete Rule and Conditions.

If I am twelve years old and in middle school, am I eligible to enter the competition?

No. We are excited to hear of your interest, but you must be between 13 and 19 years old and in high school (grades 9-12) at the time of entry to be eligible for the competition.

Is it okay to submit a design idea that I am entering in another competition?

Yes, you may submit a design idea if you are entering it in another competition. However, your design idea may not be publicly shared (including on social media) until after April 7, when competition finalists are announced. If you are selected as a finalist, your design may not be publicly shared (including on social media) until after a winner is announced on June 4. If the other competition you have entered shares your name and design publicly prior to these dates, you will be disqualified.

If selected as a finalist in the competition, I will not be able to attend the final judging on June 4th. Should I still participate if I know I might miss an important step?

The final judging in New York City on June 4 is a required activity per the rules and conditions, and so unfortunately, you would be disqualified if you are unable to attend. Please note that domestic travel and accommodations for each finalist and his or her parent or legal guardian will be provided.


I AM eighteen years of age and in high school. do i still need the parent/guardian form signed?

Yes. If you are currently 18 or 19 and in high school, you are still required to have a parent/legal guardian review and sign the parent/legal guardian consent form.

If I am a resident of Washington D.C, what should I put as my state on my entry form?

It was an inadvertence not to include Washington, D.C. District of Columbia is now an option on the form.

I am a student from another country who is attending high school in the United States. Can my design idea focus on a community from my home country, or must it focus on a community in the U.S.?

Your design idea is NOT required to focus on a community in the U.S., but it should address the challenges of a community that you can describe and discuss when answering the questions.

My design is not about physically accessing healthy, fresh food. Does that fit the parameters of the competition?

Challenges in accessing fresh, healthy foods are not only connected to issues of proximity or price. They can be issues in food production and shelf life, or challenges of awareness and understanding among community members, or something else. Challenges are unique to each community, and potential solutions can benefit farmers, families, and local economies alike.

Could you clarify this text from the online submission form: Please review all your information before submitting. Double check that your name or any identifying marks are NOT on your sketch or in your responses, including uploaded sketch file name. Once your entry is submitted, you will not be able to change or add to it?

It is important to review your sketch and your question responses to make sure that your name or another identifying mark is not included. Mentioning geographic areas, such as regions, states or towns, in your question responses is okay. If your name or another identifying mark, such as a personal or school logo, school name, or photo of yourself, are included in your design sketch, you will be disqualified. Once you have submitted your entry, you will not be able to edit it.



No, you may only submit one sketch of your design. We suggest that your design sketch fit on an 8 1/2 by 11″ page. For suggestions on how to include more than one aspect of your solution in your sketch, please see these templates.

is it a requirement that the sketch i submit be hand drawn?

No. It is not a requirement that the sketch you submit be drawn by hand. You can use a computer to create your sketch.

Are students allowed to use photography in their designs?

Yes. Sketches may include photography, hand-drawn images, and computer created images.


No. You are not required to use the templates; they are guides to help you in creating various types of sketches.

Can entries be in the form of a poster that includes text? Are there any requirements for what type of text needs to be on a poster?

Design ideas can be in any form, including a poster. There are no requirements for text as part of your design sketch, but you are free to do so, if you feel it helps your design. Please note that the responses to the questions are required, and will address aspects of your design that might not be obvious in your sketch.

It says on the website that ‘we suggest that your design sketch fit on an 8 1/2” by 11” page.’ Are sketches allowed to be larger than this size paper?

Yes, you may work on your design sketch on a page that is larger than 8 1/2 x 11”. Please note that the file you upload of your design sketch (.jpg or .png) must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches at 96 dpi.



Yes, responses to all questions are required, but remember, there is no right or wrong answer! Responses will help the judges better understand your design.

Can I write more or less than the character counts noted in the questions?

Your responses must be equal to or less than the character counts noted. The entry form will have a character counter, and you will not be allowed to write more than the limit. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer!

Are spaces included in the 150 character maximum?

The character count does count spaces as characters. Please note that the system will not allow you to submit anything over the character count noted for each question.

Could you clarify question 4: Will your design be at a school, local park, library, shopping center, community center, abandoned store, online, parking lot, etc.?

Question 4 is to learn more about the setting of your design—where in the community one would see and/or experience your design. This could be a physical location, like a school or community center, but it is not required to be a physical location. The context or setting for your design idea could also be online or somewhere else.

How detailed and specific should my responses to the questions be?

There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions! The character/word count is meant to help you share your design solution in a concise way. You can be more broad or specific in your responses, depending on what you think best helps to explain your design solution.

My answer is less than 30 words but longer than 150 characters. Do the answers have to be 150 characters or less and 30 words or less?

For questions 1-4, your responses must be 150 characters or less. 150 characters is approximately 30 words. For question 5, your response must be 250 characters or less, which is approximately 50 words. The online submission system will not let you submit an entry with answers longer than the character limits.

Still have questions?

The open period for questions has ended. All answers to questions are posted on this page.