Global challenge calls on youth to tackle food security
AMSTERDAM — Thought for Food, a organisation dedicated to engaging and empowering the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in food and agriculture, recently launched the 5th edition of the TFF Challenge, inviting young leaders from around the world to sign up and develop new ideas and business concepts that tackle the challenge of sustainably feeding our world’s growing population. This year the competition is open to everyone under the age of 35.
The TFF Challenge was established in 2012 to find new answers to the question: how do we feed 9+ billion people by 2050? It calls on young innovators to address a wide range of food and agriculture challenges by encouraging technology and business model innovation in all parts of the food chain — from production to distribution, as well as consumption and waste. Previous entries have covered key areas such as vertical farming, logistics, breeding, agtech, open data, aquaculture and livestock, food waste, synthetic biology, new proteins and appropriate tech for smallholders.
From Jan. 15 to May 4, participating teams will develop new ideas through an independent online platform that offers training tools such as a Design Thinking Lab and 12-week Startup Bootcamp. No pre-existing idea or business is required. Teams of three to five participants will be formed and led through a series of exercises that will help them identify an opportunity, and develop an innovative solution. TFF will work with teams to nurture their concepts into workable businesses.
“Thought For Food believes we need transformative thinking to tackle food security. With so much untapped potential and a need for industry change in mind, our annual TFF Challenge disrupts the standard development of food security solutions by incentivizing and rewarding innovations developed by young people from around the world,” says Christine Gould, founder and CEO of the Thought For Food Foundation. “We ask youth to do what they do best – which is to push boundaries and question assumptions. Through the years, this approach has delivered tangible impact with some of the most robust and inspired ideas of our generation — we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings forward.”
Since 2013, the TFF Challenge has engaged more than 8,500 youth from over 130 countries, and has kick-started and supported the creation of 37 impact-oriented food and ag startups, including FoPo Food Powder, Biteback, Sparky, Agrilution, Unibiome and AgroSmart.
The TFF Challenge culminates with the annual TFF Summit, which will be held in Summer 2018. This event brings together hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators and radical thinkers to uproot the status quo and invigorate innovation around food security. Additionally, 10 finalist teams will pitch their ideas for the chance to win cash grants from Thought For Food and partners such as the Kirchner Food Fellows and the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.