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Thought For Food Global Summit 2015 – Building the next generation's powerhouse

Thought For Food Global Summit 2015“Ending Hunger is doable!” This is how Nicholas Haan, team project leader at Singularity University, started the 2nd edition of the Thought For Food Global Summit. The 2-day event was held in Convento do Beato, a 15th century magnificent monastery which is a Heritage Site of Public Interest.

From the 13th to the 14th of February, 2015 this white marble building located at the historic centre of Lisbon, provided a shelter to the 400 participants from more than 25 countries that gathered to attend the event. The mission? Finding the answer to one of the biggest questions facing our generation: How to feed 9+ billion people by 2050.

Top professionals from the agricultural sector such as Sarah Menker, CEO and founder of Gro Intelligence; the Senior Fellow on global agriculture and food policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Roger Thurow; or Maximilian Loessl, founder of Agrilution and the Association for Vertical Farming, took the stage to send a common message to the youth: Follow your passion and don´t dare to dream big.

Interacting, brainstorming & pitching ideas!

As one of the summit´s appetizers, attendants had the chance to learn and interact with some of world´s most brilliant thinkers and doers through 2 rounds of workshops.

Each round offered 6 different speakers on so diversified topics like the use of artificial intelligence for growing food –with Gonçalo Cabrita, founder and CEO of Cool-Farm-, ways to raise capital to build and scale food security projects -with the Kirchner Food Fellows-, or benefits and pitfalls of GMO´s in modern ag. –with Julie Borlaug, Associate Director of External Relations at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture-.

Most of these sessions included discussions in which the different attendants had to design a 100% food secure utopia, or explore new ways of philanthropy to apply for funding for a social film project/campaign.

TFF Challenge – And the 10,000 USD prize goes to…

Thought For Food Prize for InnoVision!2015 TFF reached its momentum on Sunday, 14th with the TFF Challenge. An annual incentive competition in which an expert jury selects 10 projects that compete for 10,000 USD Grand Prize in seed investment for their project. From 336 teams from 51 countries that took part, only 10 teams were selected as finalists to join at the Summit in Lisbon to pitch their projects in front of the jury and all the TFF participants.

Each team had only few minutes to expose their projects which was a big challenge considering the complexity and important social impact of the initiatives pitched. After the presentations, the jury only had one hour to choose the 3 winners, which were:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself”

Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of X-PRIZE, closed the event with this empowering message to all the already excited attendants. He reminded that people between 26 and 28 years of age were the ones who led the way to the .com revolution, and that is the same young people who are taking the lead in many key projects at NASA.  

Having said this, I must thank Syngenta, and particularly YPARD latest Steering Committee member, Christine Gould, for having given me this incredible experience to attend 2015 TFF. As YPARD main representative during the summit I have had the opportunity to strengthen our partnership with the International Association of students in Agricultural and related Sciences (IAAS); meet in person YPARD members as our Trinidad and Tobago representative, Keron Bascombe, Luke Smith or Alpha Sennon; as well as to get in contact with great initiatives like the Youth Ag-education Innovation Cooperative (YAIC).

It hasn’t not only been a pleasure to meet the youth powerhouse of the future but, as Nicholas Haan reminded in the beginning, to confirm that we live in the era of technology democratization, where creating big impacts in the global society is possible. After all, giving the answer of how feeding 9+ billion people by 2050 is a mission that is really worth it working for so... Keep it up, guys! 

Click here to read the showcases of Keron Bascombe, Luke Smith and Alpha Sennon, our YPARD members and TFF young ambassadors!

Check out our interview with Mikayla Sullivan, IAAS Regional Director of the Americas and participant of the Thought For Food Challenge with the KinoSol project!