Guest post by Christine Gould, founder of Thought For Food. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Food+Tech Connect.
“Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care and nonpolluting, ubiquitous energy…” Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler write in their must-read book, Abundance.
Thought For Food (TFF) is building a powerful community of optimistic, tech-savvy students from top universities around the world, who are tackling the food part of the abundance equation through bold, breakthrough solutions.
What if we turned deserts into farms? What if we rolled out e-credits for food waste? What if we all owned vertical farming systems in our homes, powered by open-source platforms? What if we could improve nutrition and increase productivity of smallholder poultry farmers in developing countries using solar-powered lamps? These are just some of the projects TFFers are developing and prototyping.
In the three years since TFF launched, our movement has tripled in size, and now comprises more than 2000 student innovators, ambassadors and mentors from over 30 countries. Through the annual TFF Global Challenge, we’re uncovering the next generation of superstars who are uprooting the status quo and feeding the world.
We created Thought For Food because we need young people – the very people whose future is at stake – to be thinking about long-term solutions that positively impact, and disrupt our food system.
Our current situation cannot continue: we produce enough food to feed the world, and yet, at the same time, on the same planet, there are people starving. Despite a century of dramatic technological advances, today’s food production and consumption systems depend upon large inputs of non-renewable energy and place enormous, unsustainable demands on water and other natural resources. Add climate change and a fast-growing population to the mix, and the situation becomes even more ominous.
Our generation has unprecedented power to pronounce the present unacceptable and to create the breakthrough solutions that will shape the future of food. Indeed it has always been youth (or youthful attitudes) that have driven innovation forward. Throughout history, the world’s most important game-changers have been exceptionally young and inexperienced:
These icons didn’t set out to be revolutionaries in their respective fields. They simply answered the door when opportunity knocked and took on the important challenges that came their way with the enthusiasm, curiosity and fearlessness of their youth.
That’s why Thought For Food is tapping into the minds of the world’s most potent generation and providing a stage for you to shine and pitch you ideas to other changemakers at our Annual TFF Global Summit (taking place in Lisbon, Portugal on Feb. 13-15, 2015). We are empowering people like you with mentors, tools and educational resources, as well as the experiences and connections you need to make a difference.
Christine Gould founded TFF out of her belief that the power to solve the most pressing challenges faced by humanity lies with the next generation. She holds an MPA with a concentration in Innovation Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics from American University. She has spent her career trying to improve agriculture and the global food system at various leading organizations in the United States and across Europe. In 2013, she was named into Ashoka Changemakers League of Intraprenuers. She’s obsessed with all things science and tech, as well as open innovation, contemporary art, modern architecture and dancing to electronic music.