In 2017, the third edition of the Youth Ag Summit arrived in the heart of Europe, with 100 agvocates from 49 countries gathering together in Brussels, Belgium, for a week of talks, field trips, and project work. The 2017 Summit was co-organized with two Belgian young farmers associations, Groene Kring and the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs.
Speakers at the 2017 Summit included Professor Louise Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research; Hlami Ngwenya, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network; Georgie Aley, CEO of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology; Caleb Harper, Director of Open Agriculture (OpenAG) initiative, MIT Media Lab; and Frank Sesno, Emmy Award-winning journalist, Director of The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and the creator and host of Planet Forward.
As befitted an event hosted in the home of European politics, delegates also paid a visit to the EU institutions to debate agricultural policy with MEPs Richard Ashworth and Tom Vandenkenoelaere, as well as visiting Hof ten Bosch, a Bayer ForwardFarrn in the heart of the Belgian countryside, to see innovation in action. Delegates also had the chance to hear from a wide range of industry partners and companies such as Rabobank, The Crop Trust, Thought for Food, and Ahold Delhaize Group.
Alongside these varied and inspirational experiences, delegates worked together in groups to develop concrete project ideas for tackling hunger and food insecurity in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Three of these projects were selected for future funding from Bayer, with the top prize going to the team behind AGRIKUA; an online platform aiming to help rural Kenyan women access professional development opportunities.
See some impressions of the YAS 2017
Class of 2017: Delegates of the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit meet in Brussels
Getting to know each other: All corners of the globe were represented in Brussels!
Shaping the future: Liam Condon, President of Bayer Crop Science, urges delegates to make a real impact
Delegates heard from a range of inspiring speakers in innovation, sustainability and leadership
Belgian agricultural youth organizations Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA) partnered with Bayer to host the Youth Ag-Summit
Alumni Kelly Hodgins, Daniel Kasprowicz, Diego Moscoso and Bridgette Byrne were invited to share their journey since their YAS experience
Delegates came face-to-face with some of the world's foremost experts in food security - Karen Lopez (Guatemala) addresses Professor Louise O. Fresco of Wageningen University and Research
'Can I please have a selfie?': Simon Pampena's selfie stick was always at hand!
Cultural Dinner: Nigerian delegates Matthew Oguche and Boris Nwachukwu display their national dress, accompanied by their mentor Olusegun Oworu
Hlami Ngwenya urged delegates to look beyond stereotypes and think of P.E.R.F.E.C.T. opportunities in agriculture: Policies, Education, Research, Finance, Extension & Advisory services, Communication and Technologies
Escaping the city: Seeing innovative farming in action at the Bayer ForwardFarm 'Hof ten Bosch' in Flanders
A breath of fresh air: Delegates learn about innovation at ForwardFarm Hof ten Bosch, from animal health to biodiversity
Relaxing: An evening of music, dance and barbeque food awaits!
Barn dance: Enjoying a musical performance from Livio Hans and Ella Blue
MIT Media Lab's Caleb Harper on how computers could soon be providing the world with food
Policy in action: Delegates take to the European Parliament to debate ag policy with MEPs
Continuing the conversation: MEP Richard Ashworth was keen to engage delegates in discussions about agricultural issues around the world
Breakout sessions: The ten groups diverged every afternoon to tackle a key SDG and come up with concrete solutions to feeding a hungry planet
A tough decision: Our jury panel (Fleur Wilkins, Georgie Aley, Kurt Boudonck, Hlami Ngwenya, Frank Sesno, Giel Boey) had the impossible task of choosing which 3 'Thrive for Change' projects will receive Bayer funding
Powerful You!: Victone Onyango (Kenya) shows that everyone has the power to make a difference
Third place: With 3,000 euros to implement their idea, 'Imperfect Picks' aim to reduce food waste by transforming consumer perceptions of 'ugly' produce
Second place: 'Seeds of Change' will use their 5,000 euros funding to connect agricultural champions with school audiences
The winning moment: AGRIKUA delegates find out that they have been awarded first place and will be taking away 10,000 euros for their project
First place: AGRIKUA will use their funding to create an online platform where young Kenyan women can learn about development opportunities in agriculture
Making an impact: Every participant was asked to commit to doing ‘3 Little Things’ to impact on food security in their own communities (pictured: USA delegates Ben Carson, Emily Buck, Noah Hamlish, Anna Gomes and Julie
Youth Ag-Summit Closing Video 2017, Brussels, Belgium
Meet the YAS 2017 alumni delegates
IndiaApoorva Valli Shankar
New ZealandBeth Hampton
HungaryBrassó Dóra Lili
SpainCarla Espinós Estévez
El SalvadorDiana Pamela
United KingdomEmily Davis
IndonesiaFajar Sidik Abdullah
ArgentinaFlorencia Luz Brochiero
ChileIgnacio Mateo Rubio
MalaysiaJeen Vern Liew
New ZealandJemima Snook
NetherlandsJeroen de Goffau
PhilippinesJohn David Pilapil
GermanyKathrin Marie Muus
South AfricaLandi Ehlers
Marques Da Costa E Silva
United KingdomLuca Steel
BelgiumLucas van den Abeele
United KingdomLuke Blomfield
SpainMario González Azcárate
South AfricaMarlese Bester
ItalyMaurizio Junior Chiurazzi
NetherlandsPatrick Van Der Hart
ZimbaweSharon Nyarai Washaya
IrelandSophie Healy Thow
Sri LankaSuraweera Arachchilage
BrazilTamires Santos Lacerda
UgandaTinka George William
VietnamTùng Lê Quý
AustraliaYang Ming Goh
Show all 100 delegates
Thrive for Change
The impact of the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit will live on long after our delegates have returned to their home communities. Not only did each and every delegate commit to doing "Three Little Things" to impact food security in a positive way, but with the help of funding from Bayer, many of their innovative ideas on solving food insecurity will be put into action via the YAS ‘Thrive for Change’ projects.
A central pillar of the program, the projects – based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals – saw delegates develop concrete solutions under the umbrella theme of Zero Hunger (SDG 2). Every afternoon the ten breakout groups diverged to develop their innovative project ideas based on a specific SDG. On the final day, groups took to the stage to make the case for why their project should take home future funding. Some had dancing, others had videos, and one group even turned to cartoons to tell their story!
With the pitch process highly competitive, three of these ‘Thrive for Change’ projects were selected for further funding from Bayer
Taking home the top prize of €10,000 were AGRIKUA, tackling Gender Equality (SDG5) in agriculture through an online platform where young Kenyan women can access information about professional development opportunities. As they explain, “If we can connect these young women to opportunities, we could see drastic change in the empowerment of women.” In addition to receiving funding and professional development support, AGRIKUA will also be invited back to Europe to present their project to an industry platform.
The runners up were Seeds of Change, winning €5,000 for their idea of building a grassroots community of young agricultural champions – or as they put it, “planting the seeds of change to connect a forest of impact.” Aiming to educate the public about modern agriculture (Quality Education, SDG 4), their project will bridge the disconnect between people who consume and people who produce food, starting in the classroom.
In third place with €3,000 of funding came Imperfect Picks, who will develop their cartoon campaign to change children’s perceptions of ‘ugly’ fruit and veg and tackle Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12). Their rationale? “Just like humans, we don’t care about the appearance of fruit and veg: what matters is what’s on the inside.” They hope to create a cultural shift for retailers and consumers, including developing a points-based game to win the hearts of the younger generations.
Our partners 2017
We’re excited to be teaming up with two Belgian youth ag-organisations Groene Kring and Jeunes Agriculteurs to achieve our goals. Together we aim to develop relationships with young leaders and empower them to act in the face of a rapidly changing future.
About Groene Kring
Groene Kring (GK) is an association for young farmers in Flanders, Belgium, which counts around 3,500 members. GK brings young farmers together via regular activities and events, organizes entrepreneurship education, and protects the interests of young farmers on a regional, national and international level. For more information, visit: www.groenekring.be
About the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs
La Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA) represents young farmers living and working in Wallonia, Belgium. FJA represents the views of 2,800 members, advocating on their behalf at a regional, national and European level. As an official education provider within the agriculatural sector, they also organize training courses. For more information, visit www.fja.be