Leveraging their combined networks, these organizations will enable and empower youth around the world to shape sustainable food systems

December 21, 2020, Basel, Switzerland – Thought For Food®️ (TFF), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), and Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) today announce a three-year partnership to join forces and collaborate on numerous projects to support youth engagement and impact in the food and agricultural sector.

In this partnership, TFF will pair its expertise in next-gen-led innovation and startup acceleration with YPARD and GFRAS’s communities focused on agriculture development, digital agronomy, and extension. Through cross-promotion of programs and activities, sharing of mentor networks and training resources, and joined policy advocacy initiatives, these organizations aim to provide young people around the world with the tools and resources they need to lead and shape more sustainable food systems.

Leveraging the TFF Digital Labs™ platform – a first-of-its-kind digital space for food and agricultural  innovation, collaboration and acceleration – the partners will elevate digital mentorship opportunities for young professionals. The platform will include a matchmaking ability that pairs a large database of mentors and experts with talents in a variety of areas.

The global uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the fragility of our world’s food systems and associated social issues, such as youth unemployment. TFF, YPARD, and GFRAS will leverage their combined expertise and global and local footprints to address these problems also on a policy level, ensuring systems-wide transitions towards safer, more nutritious, and more secure food systems. Additionally, the organizations will collaborate to develop impact tracking systems that capture the impact of their individual and combined programs.

Carl Larsen, GFRAS’ Executive Secretary, highlights that “Facilitating the creation of sustainable food systems at global scale is a formidable subtask within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It requires a collective effort which is why our three networks decided to tighten collaboration focusing on mobilization of the innovative potential of the next generation using their digital lead as a leveler and engine for change.”

Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of the Thought For Food®️ Foundation, states, Solving the systemic challenges facing our food systems requires people who deeply understand the needs and opportunities in their diverse localities to jump in and build relevant solutions. We can do this more effectively and efficiently if we have the chance to collaborate with others who are also working on these problems. That is why we are thrilled to bring our organizations closer together to connect the dots between next-gen-led, innovative approaches to agricultural development, extension and entrepreneurship. We can’t wait to see all that is to come.” 

Interested in meeting some of the next-gen innovators that will be supported through this partnership? Be sure to join the TFF Digital Labs™, a place where global collaboration happens and follow TFF on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. TFF®️ will be running more topical challenges with partner organisations and the UN Food Systems Summit throughout 2021. Stay tuned to learn more, and to get involved with your organization, please reach out to info@thoughtforfood.org.

About Thought For Food
Thought For Food is the world’s entrepreneurial innovation engine for food and agriculture. We work with more than 25,000 next-generation leaders from over 175 countries, empowering them to generate and scale breakthrough business ventures that build sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems. Our comprehensive suite of next-gen innovation programs include the TFF Challenge®️, an annual collaborative innovation prize competition: the TFF Digital Labs™, a digital startup accelerator and collaboration platform; the TFF Academy, an in-person incubation program for world-class startups; and the TFF Summit, a flagship global event focused on bringing the voices of the next generation together with policy and business leaders to co-create solutions. TFF®️‘s work is powered by a global operating structure that includes the TFF Core Team, 14 Regional Coordinators and 550 Ambassadors in more than 200 cities, as well as diverse partners such as DSM, KWS, and Rockefeller Foundation. Thought For Food®️ is a 501c3 non-profit entity. Find out more about Thought For Food®️ at https://thoughtforfood.org/.

Young Professionals in Agricultural Development (YPARD) is an international movement by young professionals for young professionals for agricultural development. In its almost 15 years of service, YPARD has worked with multiple partners to create a food secure world without poverty, where young people are enabled to fully contribute to their future. With appointed youth leaders in 70+ countries and a global network of 30k+ young professionals, YPARD’s global reach is unparalleled in the agriculture sector. YPARD’s members are encouraged to share their views and ideas as youth to shape sustainable food systems in their own local and global networks.

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) is a network working towards the enhancement of advisory services to support farm families and smallholder rural producers, contributing to improved livelihoods in rural areas and the sustainable reduction of hunger and poverty. GFRAS is present worldwide through 50+ country platforms bringing together a wide range of actors and stakeholders involved in or benefiting from rural advisory services in a country, as well as 17 regional and sub-regional networks.  In early 2020, GFRAS and YPARD entered into a strategic alliance to address global food security issues and work towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together on a global level.