Here's some of what we heard over two days at the 2015 Feeding The Planet Summit. Students from nearly 30 schools from across the country and abroad attended. They shared their stories and videos. They engaged in a remarkable dialogue directly with leaders from the private sector, NGOs, farmers, scientists, community organizers, media leaders and storytellers.
Here are the top 10 things we heard at the Summit:
1. Ideas, inventions and innovations are needed to inspire change and feed the planet. We need many stakeholders and diverse voices around the table.
2. We could eliminate hunger if we had the political will. There are people in Washington who care about these issues and are working on them. But we, as a population, need to do our part and actually vote for the people we want to represent us, and our views, both in Congress and on a local level.
3. It is not about OR, it is about AND. Food production needs all players — big farms and small, organic and conventional. It is a privilege to feed people — celebrate our farmers.
4. Young people should see farming as a career path. It is hard work. It can be exciting, independent and rewarding. It deals with food, land, technology and business. There is a 10-fold disconnect between the jobs needed in this sector and those ready to fill them. There are jobs to be had.
5. Climate makes it worse: climate change will fall especially hard on the impoverished and on women. Women increasingly are the farmers and the providers in the developing world.
6. In many parts of the world, the toughest challenge is getting food from where it is grown to where it is needed.
7. We won’t be able to feed a world sustainably without understanding the role of science, and we need to think about the need of science for food and agriculture in the same vein.
8. Innovation comes in many shapes and sizes. We heard about some of them: from greenhouses at 10,000 feet in Peru to water conservation in Maryland, from an inexpensive all terrain vehicle in Cameroon to a food forest in India, from biotechnology to a four-season organic farm. Amazing ideas driven by smart people.
9. A compelling character, trying to overcome obstacles to achieve a worthy outcome, is the main ingredient for a great story that can inform, inspire and move the planet forward.
10. Innovation + Storytelling = Impact