This challenge is framed as a solution rather than a problem that needs to be solved. Perhaps this needs to be reframed to tackle a more specific food production problem? For example, what if the challenge is to replace chemical herbicides (reducing chemicals in our soils, water, and foods) with bioherbicides?
The chemical herbicide problem is major: 1. Weed Resistance (eg. at least 29 weeds are now resistant to RoundUp); 2. Consumer concerns; 3. Law suits; 4. Environmental concerns; 5. User exposure (potential carcinogens); 6. Disposal of used containers/remaining herbicide concerns; 7. Industry dominance through pairing of chemical sales with chemical-resistant seed sales; 8. Effect on non-target organisms; 9. Effect of chemical herbicides on microbiomes of consumers and farmers; 10. Global industry is dominated by a handful of companies.
The chemical herbicide industry is $34 Billion/year. The bioherbicide industry is emerging (less than .01%) and not funded (RFPs are generally targeting crop-breeding or new chemical processes). There is tremendous room for research and growth as very few teams are working on this. It is easy to find articles on all the 10 concerns above…but very hard to find alternative solutions.