Syngenta announced that the winning and runner-up teams from its Thought for Food (TFF) challenge took center stage at the One Young World Forum held in Pittsburgh October 18-22, 2012. TFF is a one-of-a-kind global challenge from Syngenta that is cultivating and empowering a new generation of thinkers to address the biggest threat to our planet: food scarcity and how to feed an ever growing population.

More than 50 university teams submitted ideas to Syngenta for the TFF challenge this year and 13 teams were selected finalists. Their ideas involved innovative projects that encourage people to change their food habits and build a healthier, more sustainable planet. Five TFF teams, including two teams from North America, attended the One Young World Forum to collaborate with 1,200 delegates from over 150 countries and hear from CEOs, NGOs, activists and inspirational global leaders Bill Clinton, Kofi Anan, Mohummed Yunus and Rev. Desmond Tutu. 

Team Giving Tree from Texas A&M University, and team Growing for Change, from the University of Guelph in Canada joined the other teams from India, Korea and Uganda at the conference.

“Thought for Food was created by Syngenta and partners to bring a fresh new perspective to the global dilemma of food security and scarcity,” said Christine Gould, Syngenta senior manager, Global Public Policy. “Young people are increasingly becoming disconnected from agriculture and don’t understand the complex challenges and opportunities facing us.  As we focus on the long-term vision to improve agriculture, the environment and communities around the world, we are taking this opportunity to engage some of the brightest minds of the next generation.”

Gould continued, “There is no quick fix to this global issue; however, we were extremely impressed by the creativity and passion our TFF teams displayed throughout the challenge.”

Team Giving Tree, from Texas A&M University was named one of the global co-winners for their idea of an “eco-park.” Team members Erin Ponsonby, Jailene Santana, Beau Barnette and Ryan Pratt developed an “eco-park” that empowers communities to engage and learn about their food systems. Their model consists of a physical park space that educates and inspires visitors about food and agriculture through various components including demonstration farms, farmers markets, food preparation areas and a speaker series.

A runner-up team from the University of Guelph, Growing for Change, designed a conceptual model of permaculture that can be replicated and implemented in urban areas. The team challenges people to plant two perennial plants each year to create a permaculture property. Thus far, team members Michelle Arseneault, Daniel Kenel and Alice Lin have implemented “edible forest gardens” in urban Canadian communities and educated people how to be perennial gardeners.

One Young World is a global forum for young leaders. Its purpose is to connect and bring together the youngest, brightest and best to ensure that their concerns, opinions and solutions are heard. Throughout the Summit, delegates discussed issues that world leaders tackle every day — including business, global health, education, sustainable development, leadership and governance, human rights and social business.