Thought for Food Global Challenge

Thought For Food Global Challenge

Thu 26 Apr 2012

Story by Christine, on behalf of the TFF team

Young Change-Makers, It’s Up To Us!

We’ve inherited a pretty messed up situation. Every day, one billion people go to bed hungry. At the same time, one billion people over-consume. Day after day, this perverse imbalance in our world continues.

By the middle of this century, our planet’s population will increase from 7 billion to more than 9 billion. More people will live in cities—far away from food growers—and more will demand resource-intensive foods, like meat. Meanwhile, the amount of land available for farming is shrinking. Water scarcity is increasing. And our climate is heating up.

Even the food we do have isn’t always appreciated or respected. Well over 30% of food is wasted along the chain, rotting on farms because it can’t be distributed or discarded into the bin by apathetic consumers. And, it’s not just the food itself that is wasted – we are literally throwing away precious water too. According to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the amount of food thrown away in the USA alone is equivalent to turning on your faucet and dumping 40 TRILLION liters of water down the drain. It’s a sad fact too that our current agricultural production systems are completely reliant on non-renewable, old-fashioned petroleum inputs.

If we stick with business as usual, we’ll consume the equivalent of two and one-third earths by 2050. Clearly, the systems we have in place today to feed the world aren’t going to cut it.

But There’s A Lot We Can Do!

It’s up to our generation to pronounce our present unacceptable. We need to uproot the status quo, and find new, innovative solutions that improve food production, increase health and well-being and reduce waste. And we have the most incredible tools at our disposal to make this happen.

We represent the most globally-engaged generation in history. We deeply understand the power of community-building and crowd-sourcing, and how to amplify messages and multiply impact through powerful social media tools.

And it’s this spirit that is embodied in Thought for Food, a global movement that calls on young people to engage and connect so that we can develop the solutions that remake our world.

Last week, we launched the 2012 Thought for Food Global Challenge to universities around the globe. In the span of two months, exceptional teams of students from countries as diverse as the USA, India, Uganda, Nigeria, Taiwan and Canada will dive into the deepest challenges surrounding food security - applying their creativity and imaginations, challenging conventional wisdom, and breaking established rules. We’re asking them to blow our minds with wildly innovative ideas for a better future.

Last year, students across Europe had the chance to take part in the first-ever Thought for Food Challenge. From slam poetry sessions and flash mobs about food security and eating locusts to raise awareness about alternative food choices, to invading campuses dressed as chickens in order to promote Meat-free Mondays, to organizing school visits to urban gardens, the students showed us that saving the world can also be fun and entertaining. You can check out some of the they did on our YouTube channel.

This year’s teams have started to submit their big ideas on our Facebook page. Check out their entries and vote for the ones you like the most here. Over the next month, we will work closely with the top teams to bring their ideas to life and ultimately, two teams will be selected for the incredible opportunity to take the stage at One Young World, the premier global forum for young people of leadership caliber.

What will the future hold? Robots as farmers? Taxes on food waste? Farms in skyscrapers? Shopping rewards for buying local and seasonal foods?

The possibilities are endless.

And thinking of the big ideas is just the beginning. If there is one thing we understand better than any generation before, it’s the mantra: YES WE CAN! If we can dream it, we WILL make it happen.

The challenges facing us may be daunting, but we’re ready to take them on! It will certainly be a long journey, but we really do believe that feeding the world sustainably and responsibly is not just our calling; it is an awesome opportunity for us. We get to rethink everything and design the future we believe in. Could anything be more exciting?

Learn more about the Thought for Food challenge at and email us asap if you are interested to take part next year.

You can also show your support for the amazing participating teams by following them online on Facebook ; YouTube and Twitter.

Hurry up – the world is waiting!

About the author: Christine Gould is a founder of Thought For Food, a movementto mobilize a new generation of changemakers to take action towards solving the biggest challenge facing our future – how to feed 9 billion people.


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