Patrick Mateer is joining Watson this fall as a junior from UNC Chapel Hill. He cofounded Seal the Seasons Produce (SSP), a value added local frozen produce company, seven months ago when his cofounder came to him concerned about farm food waste levels. SSP takes advantage of grade B “farm waste”, but fixes its blemishes, mixes it with grade A produce, and flash freezes it to drastically increase shelf life while preserving nutrition. They are then able to affordably sell retail packages in corner stores located in food deserts. This provides a cheap, local, nutritious option near homes that suffer from food insecurity, therefore eliminating two of the largest barriers to healthy eating: cost and transportation. In the last few months Patrick has won a spot in UNC’s social incubator, won a competition to represent his school at the state wide social entrepreneurial conference, and has become a finalist to travel to Madison WI for the $100,000 Ag Prize. While SSP will reduce food waste and increase access for lower income individuals, it will most importantly create food systems change. Patrick believes it is extremely important to change how our food system operates to allow all individuals, no matter their income level, to have access to healthy eating. Patrick is a member of UNC’s Bonner Program, a four year, ten hour per week program working with Farmer Foodshare on food insecurity and the Human Rights Center on childhood education, where he found his passion for this work.
In high school Patrick joined his improv team and to this day follows the basic rules of improv as guidelines in life. First: don’t contradict the new ideas of friends and family, say yes and add to it! Second: commit to the fun and take it to the next degree.