Last week, I was given the opportunity to attend the 2017 Youth Ag Summit organized by Bayer Crop Science. Never have I ever attended such a motivating and uplifting agricultural event. One hundred young people, aged 18-25, gathered in Brussels, Belgium to tackle some of the world’s top issues in agriculture.
During the Summit, delegates worked in groups of ten to develop their ideas centered around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Gender Equality, Quality Education, and Responsible Consumption and Production. Groups pitched to a jury of experts and the audience. Winners were selected based on feasibility, innovativeness, and creativity. Bayer will be funding the top three future projects developed.
– Third place went to “Imperfect Picks”, a group who was assigned to work on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. These delegates impressed with their cartoon campaign to promote “ugly fruits” to children and enable a broader cultural shift towards accepting food that appears blemished but is still of good quality. They won €3,000 to further develop and implement their project.
– Second place went to “Seeds of Change”, a group of delegates focusing on SDG 4: Quality Education. They will use their prize of €5,000 to fund a project aimed at promoting agriculture in schools through young agricultural champions, in order to bridge the disconnect between people who consume, and people who produce food.
– First place was awarded to the group “AGRIKUA” (“kua” being the Swahili word for “grow”), whose project focuses on promoting Gender Equality (SDG 5) in the agricultural sector. Their plan to create an online professional platform for young Kenyan women seeking opportunities in agriculture impressed the jury and audience alike, and they took home the grand prize of €10,000. On top of this funding, the AGRIKUA delegates will also receive dedicated training and coaching to help make the project a reality. They will also be invited back to Europe to present their project to a relevant industry platform.
I was able to speak to the Agrikua spokespeople following the announcement to dive deeper into their project and hear their enthusiasm. Listen here: Interview with Agrikua
View and download photos from the event here: 2017 Youth Ag Summit Photo Album