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University of Florida

UF/IFAS hosting One World summit to address feeding the world’s growing population

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Corn crops being watered by a pivot irrigation system. UF/IFAS photo: Josh Wickham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Professor Tony Andenoro is a determined man, bent on figuring out how to feed the world’s population when it grows to 9 billion people by the year 2050 – and he wants help in solving that problem through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Challenge 2050 Project and the upcoming One World summit at UF and via the web.

“How can we get people excited about what’s going on, but then also contribute to making a difference in the world?” asked Andenoro, who serves as UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Leadership Education assistant professor, the Challenge 2050 Project Director, and the Coordinator of the campus-wide Leadership Minor.

One way is for Challenge 2050 students, industry leaders and policy makers to participate in a major discussion on March 13 at the One World summit on the UF campus and on the web.  It is designed to bring together innovative thinkers to discuss new ideas that might, literally, save the world.

“We want to have tangible outcomes where real people are actually working together and creating things that we can actually apply to the real world,” Andenoro said. “Issues such as overcrowding, food security, energy and water management, and climate change need to be prioritized now.”

Challenge 2050, which is on track to become a certificate program in the fall at UF, utilizes research, leadership and education to advance ideas across the five major systems that sustain human well-being: food, environmental, economic, social, and health.

One World will involve networking opportunities and idea exchanges.  Six student presentations will also be selected from submissions sent in by the end of this month.  The grand prize is $1,500 – but students also win with the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with some of the world’s leading food scientists and advocates.

The summit is sponsored by a $10,000 grant awarded to UF/IFAS by Syngenta Corporation, a global Swiss agribusiness that markets seeds and agrochemicals. The grant is a part of the company’s Good Growth Plan, a series of six global commitments aimed at more food, less waste; more biodiversity, less degradation, and more health, less poverty.

“We were attracted to the University of Florida’s Challenge 2050 program due to its unique manner of addressing agriculture and food security,” said Jill Wheeler, who heads up Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan in North America. “There are no quick and easy answers for sustainably feeding 9 billion people, but the networking and dialogue inherent in Challenge 2050 is a solid approach to sharing information and refining the great ideas sure to be generated by this event.”

Ana Fraisse went through the program, graduating from UF in December 2013.  She is now an intern at H.M. Clause, a subsidiary of Groupe Limagrain, an international seed company that partners with Challenge 2050.

“This isn’t a textbook or an exam course,” Fraisse said, explaining that groups worked on a project through the semester to solve this problem. Their project was submitted to industry leaders. “This was something that you think about every day. Our project addressed the problems of food waste and food insecurity by creating a direct link between farmers and existing food distribution centers – vegetables that are left out in the field are not needed or don’t look as nice, they would just be collected and taken over to the warehouse. But these warehouses would serve as collection, distribution, education and family centers, too.”

Fraisse said every major at UF should become engaged in Challenge 2050 and the One World summit.

“I think that’s a great tool – practicing presentation skills, putting together presentations and thinking about them from every angle – you don’t get that I every normal university class,” she said.

The One World deadline for students to submit ideas for presentations is Jan. 30.  For more information, go to: http://oneworld.challenge2050.org/ The March 13 One World event will be held in University Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

By Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, 352-294-3302, k.moore.wilmoth@ufl.edu

Sources:      Tony Andenoro, 352-294-1999, andenoro@ufl.edu

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