For anyone passionate about feeding a hungry planet, the next Youth Ag-Summit in Brazil might seem like a long way off – so in the meantime, what about setting your sights on an alternative challenge?
The annual Thought For Food (TFF) Challenge is the world’s largest open competition for the next generation to build the future of food and agriculture. Each year, TFF provides over 8000 students from 129 countries with the resources and mentorship to develop their innovative idea. Their aim? Eradicating global hunger by 2050 and building a more sustainable world.
ANYONE can join the TFF movement online, no matter where in the world you’re located – and when you join, you’ll be joining a unique group of bold, unconventional thinkers and doers to transform food and agriculture.
Need more convincing? We asked Sergio Urioste Daza, one of our YAS Alumni and an Ambassador for TFF, to tell us about his experience:
For me, my TFF journey started in Johannesburg two years ago. I was at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) when I found out about the Challenge from a colleague who was a TFF Ambassador at the time. I realized that it was a window of opportunity which I definitely had to explore further, and that year I applied to become an ambassador for the 2017 Challenge.
What I discovered exceeded my expectations: an amazing community of youth, led by youth, all with a single objective of feeding nearly 10 billion by 2050. Both the YAS and TFF Summits were events that changed my life. As an ambassador, I had the opportunity to work with several teams from all around Latin America; who with their enthusiasm and crazy ideas have made me grow both as a professional and as a person.
In my country Bolivia, as in most of the developing world, being a farmer often means being stuck in a poverty trap. As a result, talented youth are encouraged to leave rural areas and find education and employment in sectors other than farming. But education and agriculture are not mutually exclusive. If anything, education is necessary to connect the brightest minds in agriculture to the latest innovations. So when I had the opportunity to become an ambassador for the 2017 Challenge and join a community of like-minded individuals, I didn’t think about it twice! Most importantly, this experience gave me the opportunity to realize that there are thousands of young enthusiasts who, like us, believe in the future of agriculture and are striving to achieve Zero Hunger.
While anyone can enter the TFF Challenge, it culminates in a Summit where chosen finalists come together, hear from global leaders in the field and pitch their ideas for seed funding. In fact, it’s very similar to YAS! I was lucky to be awarded with a scholarship to attend the TFF Summit in Amsterdam, a mind-blowing experience: morning raves, youth-led workshops, inspirational talks and the opportunity to meet some of the most enthusiastic young entrepreneurs in agriculture.
I was never a TFF delegate, but I wish I had been! It made me realize the real potential for youth to work together as the next generation and end rural poverty, and I can’t recommend it enough. This year I’m a Next Generation Council member for South America, where I'll be coordinating the TFF Ambassadors’ activities in the region. I am glad to have three YAS alumni in our team; a good example on how the networks from both events have integrated to achieve greater goals in life.
If you're already part of the YAS community, you have all it takes to be part of the TFF family. Here is a link to the application form. It closes on May 4, 2018. Good luck!