STEM was a hot topic during the World Food Prize in Des Moines with the kick-off session focused on how to encourage young women to go into STEM careers including science, technology, engineering and math. The STEM Food and Ag Council (SFAC) has launched Feed, Nourish, Thrive, a STEMconnector initiative that aims to inspire the next generation of innovators in food and agricultural production.
The program is designed to develop the workforce pipeline in the food and agricultural sectors. According to a recent USDA report, only 61% of STEM food and ag labor demand is currently being met through schools of food, ag and renewable natural resources. Feed, Nourish, Thrive aims to increase awareness of study and career opportunities that exist in the field through a dynamic interactive online platform.
“The challenge of sustainably feeding the world will require the best and the brightest innovators,” said Dr. Sherri Brown of Monsanto, SFAC Chair. “We must inspire the next generation to take on this challenge. Feed, Nourish, Thrive connects young people and those around them to high quality resources about exciting careers in food and agriculture. This resource will help raise awareness that careers in food and agriculture are not only fun and high-tech but also impactful.”
The initiative focuses on three characteristics of STEM careers in food and agriculture:
- Make a Difference – STEM Careers in food and agriculture are on the front line of helping sustainably and healthily feed the world’s growing population.
- Have Fun – STEM careers in food and agriculture are interesting and fulfilling.
- Earn a Living – STEM careers in food and agriculture pay well.
An interactive web portal for Feed, Nourish, Thrive features videos from young professionals and students from member organizations of the STEM Food and Ag Council. The videos link to career profiles developed by AgCareers.com. In addition, the platform will connect users to high quality, age-appropriate, interactive STEM resources. The platform is open for submissions of materials to be included in the site as well and will continue to add new materials and engagement opportunities with partner organizations. A social media dialogue with the hashtag #FeedNThrive, will encourage students, young professionals and the broader industry to join in the conversation on Twitter and Instagram.