RTP Ag Biotechs Have No Competition In Fight Against Hunger
By Megan Fruchte, Novozymes research associate
|Bayer Crop Science volunteer Vinila Duggirala (left) and the author, Megan Fruchte, packaging meals at The Frontier.|
On May 7, 2016, about 100 RTP ag biotech employees and students joined forces in the fight against global hunger.
Around the world, nearly 795 million people lack adequate food. RTP is home to many leading ag biotech companies, dedicated to improving food production and sustainably feeding a growing world population. For many students and employees in the ag biotech industry, world hunger is a serious issue. I’m one such employee, as a research associate at Novozymes, a company that uses bacteria and fungi to improve crop yields.
I saw an opportunity to link RTP ag biotech businesses with Stop Hunger Now, a nonprofit dedicated to ending world hunger as efficiently and sustainably as possible. This led me to coordinate the Ag Biotech Collaboration, a multi-corporation volunteer event through Stop Hunger Now.
My goal was for this event to serve as a model for corporate global responsibility. Our biggest challenge is feeding a growing world in a sustainable way, and if we have any hope of solving this problem, we will have to work together. This event is unique because industry competitors are working together toward a common goal, and by working together we will make an even bigger impact than we would alone.
Founded in 1998, Stop Hunger Now has delivered aid and disaster relief supplies in the form of food, medical supplies, clothing, and more to thousands of disaster victims and other hungry and vulnerable people in 73 countries.
|Fellow Novozymes volunteers sealing packaged meals. We did 25,000 meals in just 90 minutes.|
Stop Hunger Now meal packaging events are volunteer-based programs that coordinate the streamlined packaging of highly nutritious yet cost-effective dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soy, vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals. Each meal costs only 29 cents to package and ship, and is used as either emergency aid or to support school lunch programs, which keep children in school.
The Ag Biotech Collaboration was held at the Frontier; RTP's center for startups, free work space, networking, and events. Sponsors included Syngenta, Novozymes, BioResource International, and Bayer Crop Science. Approximately 100 volunteers were able to package 25,000 meals in less than two hours. The event was a big success, with many volunteers eager to participate again in the future.
I'm so glad the event was successful; this is proof that companies can collaborate to do great things, and to make the world a better place. I hope more businesses follow our example here in RTP, and strengthen their communities through global citizenship.