Week-long interdisciplinary educational program launched in Rio with participants from over 40 countries

The Thought For Food (TFF) Foundation announces the first graduating class of the TFF Academy, a unique immersive educational program focused on empowering the next generation of talents in food and agriculture.

From July 23-26th, the Escola Eleva, a bilingual school based on the principles of design thinking and located in the center of Rio de Janeiro, opened its doors to a select group of 200 of Thought For Food’s next-generation innovators and entrepreneurs. The participants represented over 40 countries as well as disciplines as diverse as science, agronomy, engineering, agriculture, architecture, business, and public policy. They took part in an intense curriculum focused on connecting with relevant topics and experts in the industry, building skills and capabilities in design thinking, leadership and entrepreneurship, as well as developing their personal selves through emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and adaptability to change.

Described as a “food-and-ag-summer school for millennials,” the TFF Academy is the latest addition to Thought For Food’s suite of industry-transforming initiatives, which also include the TFF Challenge (to catalyze new ideas and startups), the TFF Summit (to bring together changemakers across sectors to co-create solutions) and the TFF Startup Bootcamp (to support early-stage startups through business training). The first edition of the TFF Academy was held in Rio, a city with a thriving social impact startup scene, with plans to extend the program to other parts of the world in the future.

By deepening and broadening the key elements of their educational approach, Thought For Food is empowering the next generation with the skill sets and mindsets to create and lead purpose-driven businesses that will help create transformational change in food and agriculture.

The first TFF Academy was brought to life with the support of leading organizations in the food and agriculture sector, including Syngenta, KWS, DSM, BASF, Sight and Life Foundation, reNature Foundation, Borlaug Foundation for Food and Agriculture, and the Kirchner Food Fellowship.

The program offered a wide range of expert-led specialization tracks that covered topics such as Agroforestry, Understanding Farmers’ Needs Around the World, Frontiers of Synthetic Biology, DIY Innovation in Emerging Economies, and Open Business Models. In addition, participants were equipped with practical skills such as design thinking, fundraising, creativity, and storytelling. Over the course of the TFF Academy days, participants helped solve real industry challenges through a process of ideation and rapid prototyping in “capstone projects”; and to stimulate global community building they took part in cultural activities such as Brazilian drumming, capoeira, slam poetry, and dancing.

Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of Thought For Food Foundation explains: 
At Thought For Food, we inspire, engage and empower the next generation of leaders in food and agriculture. With the new TFF Academy, we’re introducing an approach to breakthrough innovation based on something we call ‘multispectral thinking.” This is about opening our minds to new ideas and perspectives and collaborating with unconventional partners in order to solve our global challenges in new ways. Now, more than ever, we need to see it as our responsibility to uncover hidden opportunities that only come to life by bringing together diverse people from all around the world, with different areas of expertise, but an aligned set of values.”

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Originally published on newswire.