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4-H Canada Blog

Uprooting Assumptions on Food Security

This past April, our YAC member, Andrea Soesbergen was invited to attend the 2016 Thought For Food Global Summit in Zurich, Switzerland. The following is a reflection piece from Andrea on the event and how her involvement with 4-H in Canada led her to these unique opportunities.

Thought For Food (TFF) is a movement that gathers bright young minds from around the world to work together in making the world a better place and engage in discussion about shifting common assumptions in food and agriculture. They take a hard look at the food system and work out how it can be improved by uprooting these assumptions.

The TFF Global Summit was a two-day extravaganza of excitement, communication and a commitment to breaking down food security barriers. We were invited to throw away our pre-established views of the world and design the future that we want to see.  TFF challenged university students to come up with ideas for entrepreneurial projects related to the food system for a $10,000 prize to help them accomplish their goals. At the summit, we watched the pitches of ten finalist teams. The overall winner this year was Kulisha, a group producing low-cost fish feed for aquaculture made from insects.

Throughout the Summit, we listened to talks by speakers like Daan Roosegaarde, founder of Studio Roosegaarde, an art studio whose productions often have educational and world improvement objectives, Julie Borlaug of the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, who shares the institute’s commitment to improving conditions for smallholder farmers and Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources, a company exploring space to see what resources can be used to make life better here on earth.

We also took part in interactive workshops on various topics like hacking biology, open-source data and sustainable business. This combination of activities made for an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience.

Although the invitation to attend this conference was not directly through 4-H, it was the result of my involvement with 4-H programming that set me on this path. Being in 4-H has always encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and to not be afraid to apply myself to something I am passionate about and watch what unfolds as a result of the hard work put in.

Involvement in 4-H has shown me the importance of not accepting the world as it is, but working to make the world better through volunteering and helping others. As a result, I have found myself attending conferences around the globe this past year, sharing ideas on agriculture and the food system, growing and realizing my own potential.

These experiences have shown me that I have a voice and knowledge to share and the power to make great change in the world around me by starting with small actions in my own community.

Thank you 4-H, for setting me on this journey of personal growth and taking me, quite literally, to the top of the world and back.