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Creative Ways Youth Can Help Feed the Future

Andy Shuai Liu's picture
How do you imagine your life 10 or 20 years from now? What if I told you that one day, there might not be enough food on your plate?
It is no exaggeration. Today, around 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. By 2050, we will need to produce at least 50% more food to feed a population on track to reach nine billion.
That’s a daunting challenge for our food systems, our planet, and our generation.
Already, the way we are consuming our natural resources puts enormous pressure on the future of food. On land, more food produced means more water used to grow crops and raise livestock. In the ocean, it is estimated that over 90% of large fish have already been consumed in the past 50 years (learn more). We are also wasting up to one-third of the food we produce, which could have helped fill the hunger gap in developing countries. And climate change doesn’t help: Frequent droughts and floods are leaving many rural poor from Africa to South Asia without enough food on their dinner plates.
If we keep eating our planet, what will be left for our children and ourselves in the future? In other words, how will we nutritiously feed nine billion by 2050 in the face of environmental threats?

There may not be a silver bullet, but the great news is that our generation can help — and we can do it creatively.
As Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, passionately states, youth are the “movers and shakers” who can unlock Africa’s potential of achieving shared prosperity. Every one of us can help innovate and transform the way we produce, source, and consume food for a greener future. For example, we can:
  • Design an app to help local farmers grow healthier produce and sell it better, just like Agro Central, a web and SMS-based service in Jamaica that connects producers to the market, and informs them of crop diseases and weather events.
Take On: Growing Incomes in Jamaican Farming
Via World Bank YouTube
  • Become an “agri-preneur” who produces popular, naturally sourced food. Get inspired by a Senegalese agribusiness that makes chemical-free juices from ginger, lemon and other produce grown by 150 local farmers, as well as one of my favorite agri-prenuers who turned waste into “niche” food products for export.
  By InfoDev
  • Promote a more sustainable food culture in your community. Perhaps try to help a local restaurant market healthy dishes made from sustainably grown fruit and vegetables? In the Pacific state of Samoa, pride in traditional cuisine has been proven to boost the production and distribution of fresh produce grown in local soil.

(Photo: Laura Keenan/World Bank)
  • Get behind the movement for ocean health. Besides picking up trash on a beach, we can also pick up a camera to show and tell through photos and videos the importance of protecting the oceans so that we can have seafood well into the future. Images of these mangrove-planting and ocean-guarding women oyster farmers in Africa will warm your heart.

Countless ideas for solutions exist, and they all start with your passion for a hunger-free future, your care for a greener nature, and your commitment to fighting poverty, plus a good dose of creativity.
So, why not put on your creative hat and tell us: What is the one thing that you can do to help build a sustainable and food-secure future?
Tell us who you are and share your ideas by tweeting a few words, an image or a video with #food4future. Better yet, tune in on Oct. 10, and ask a question to Adesina and other experts on the future of food security and the environment. 

This blog is part of a series exploring what different sectors can do to feed the world in the face of climate change. For more, tune in to Food for the Future, a high-level panel discussion on Friday, October 10 at 12:30 E.T. and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #food4future.


Submitted by Eleanor Justice on

70% of our potable water is used in agriculture and it doesn't have to be.

By working with hugelkultur on a commercial scale, switching from monocultures to more sustainable polycultures, and by creating small, productive pockets of food forests and perennial crops we can SLASH the amount of resources we use to produce food.

Producing food is not a problem. The problem is our assumptions about how we can and cannot produce food.

Wasting food is a problem. Setting up sound systems to connect hungry people with about-to-be-thrown-away food will make astounding differences in the well-being of people and the economy.

People able to purchase food will still prefer blemish-free, high-choice food. There are spaces for supermarket chains, farmers markets AND free food in this tiny world of ours. We have but to open our minds and participate in the process of making it better for everyone.