Apr 30, 2018 • By

5 students changing the future of food and the world

Earlier this year, we kicked off the inaugural General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program, an initiative aimed at solving the food accessibility problems of today and tomorrow with help and ideas from amazing young people.

After reviewing a number of fantastic submissions from across North America, we selected five finalists who are doing big things in their communities with work that tackles hunger relief and sustainable agriculture.

With nearly 12 percent of the world struggling with hunger, including 13 million kids and teens across the U.S., we need to take an active role in addressing this ever-important challenge, but we can’t do it alone.
Feeding-Better-Futures-stat-quoteWe’ve seen time after time that small steps lead to big ideas and even bigger impact, and seeing incredible ideas flood into the Feeding Better Futures entry page drove this point home that much more.

Being a part of the team who selected our finalists, I was completely floored by the passion and dedication these students have for bettering our world.

From a 19-year-old who developed an app that connects families to local food pantries to a 14-year-old who’s already delivered more than 11,000 brown bags of nutritious food to those in need, these young adults are the future and proof that change can happen at any age.

Check out each of their stories:

Jack Griffin, Duluth, Georgia, FoodFinder: In March 2013, Jack Griffin, now a junior at the University of Michigan studying business and community action and social change, recognized an information gap between families looking for food assistance and providers of food assistance.

He noticed the stigma around poverty prevented people from seeking and receiving the help they needed from a food pantry or similar program. That’s why Jack created FoodFinder, a website and mobile app that streamlines the effort to feed the 40 million people who are food insecure in the U.S. – FoodFinder now collects information from more than 25,000 food programs covering all 50 states.

Kate Indreland, Big Timber, Montana, Regenerative Agriculture: Kate Indreland, a senior at Sweet Grass County High School in Montana, was fascinated by regenerative agriculture, an approach to farming that uses natural stimulants rather than pesticides and artificial fertilizers to grow food.

After testing regenerative agriculture on her own ranch, Kate saw the technique was providing a wide variety of benefits including nutrient dense crops. Kate’s goal is to educate farmers and spread this technique worldwide so we can feed more people with better quality food.

Braeden Mannering, Bear, Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags (3B): After attending The White House for the Kids’ State Dinner for winning the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, Braeden was inspired to create solutions for food insecurity in the U.S., so he came up with the idea for Brae’s Brown Bags, a 501(c)3 that packs and delivers brown bags full of healthy food and water to people in need. Each bag comes with a personalized note that includes information about resources available to them in the area.

Since founding 3B in 2013, Braeden, now 14 years old, has helped grow his charity by creating student chapters across his state of Delaware. Recently, the organization started helping in disaster relief areas, helping to pack and deliver bags to those in need. Since 3B’s inception, Braeden has delivered a total of 11,800 bags to those in need.

Katie Stagliano, Summerville, South Carolina, Katie’s Krops: When Katie Stagliano was nine years old, she grew a 40-pound cabbage. She donated this cabbage to a food pantry where it fed 275 people. Katie was moved by the difference this made in her community, and decided to found Katie’s Krops, a program that empowers kids across the country to grow fresh produce locally to fight hunger in their communities.

Now 19, Katie reviews applications from children 9-16 years old who would like to become “Growers.” Each year, she selects new “Growers” and provides them with funds, tools and access to growing resources. Today, there are more than 80 Katie’s Krops gardens growing across the country and more are in the works. In 2017 alone, Katie’s Krops donated 39,000 pounds to soup kitchens, shelters, food banks and back pack programs.

Joy Youwakim, Nederland, Texas, Produce Grown on Top of a Landfill: Joy Youwakim is a senior at University of Texas, Austin, majoring in Economics and passionate about using her degree to find practical solutions for food insecurity. She was bothered by the food deserts she observed in her city, which led her to obtain a food permit to grow crops on top of a closed Texas landfill. Her idea was to use this public land to help feed people who lacked access to healthy food.

After a year of meetings and proposals with the City of Austin Municipal Solid Waste Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Joy successfully grew crops on a 400-square foot lot. The produce was tested by Food Safety Net Services and is safe for consumption, proving that this could be a model that could be duplicated across the U.S.

It’s time to vote!

These five young individuals are one step closer to winning the grand prize of $50,000, mentorship from industry leaders and the opportunity to present at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival, where General Mills will be a lead sponsor.

But, they’re looking for your help.

Tell us who you think should win Feeding Better Futures. Cast your vote at FeedingBetterFutures.com from now until May 15.

Besides their videos above, you can hear much more from each of the five finalists in the latest episode of the “A Taste of General Mills” podcast.

Listen (23 min)

SHOW NOTES – Episode 34: May 1, 2018

Link: Feeding Better Futures

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