As the world prepares for the first UN Food System Summit, the saying about the journey being more important than the destination rings true. So many people across the globe have participated in an incredible journey to prepare for this moment — I am humbled and honored to be one of them. And while I look forward to hearing from various leaders at the summit, what really matters is the work that got us here and what happens next.
My journey with the summit really began with my participation in the Private Sector Guiding Group (PSGG) as part of the World Economic Forum. This has been an inspiring group to engage with, and I am proud of the work put forth in the Business Declaration for Food Systems Transformation. As someone personally and professionally committed to building a sustainable future for our food system, I am particularly pleased to see the attention brought to the need to provide investments in research and innovation for seeds.
The work with this group forged a second path on my journey toward the summit. As the idea for 100 Million Farmers: Transitioning towards net-zero, nature positive food systems was being discussed, I noted the critical need for new innovations to be brought forth from entrepreneurs to support this effort. Fast forward to the pre-summit this past July and Inari is hosting the 10K Entrepreneurs for 100M Farmers affiliated session to begin to bring this idea to life. Today, we are building a coalition to define the work and aim to inspire entrepreneurs across the globe to bring nature-positive solutions for farmers of all shapes and sizes. We are grateful to have wonderful partners helping us move this work forward and bring diverse voices together.
What I have appreciated the most about my personal journey is the opportunity to bring new voices to the discussion. Up to now, a lot of focus has been placed on smallholder farmers in much of these discussions. And it should — the unique needs of these farmers are critical to creating food security for millions of people. But as we’re understanding more and more about the causes, impacts and implications of climate change, it’s clear that we need everyone at the table. Research shows that smallholder farmers are directly impacted by climate change, but it is going to take time to enlist enough smallholder farms to create large scale nature positive impacts. To ignite the momentum needed, it will be critical to engage large farmers in the industrialized countries to help drive the nature-positive movement.
The primarily large farmers in industrialized countries have a unique opportunity. With their relative size, their relative impact can be that much greater — positioning them to create broad positive change at a much quicker pace than their smallfarmer counterparts.
Many are already entrepreneurs, coming up with innovative, nature-positive solutions on their own. Now, through the 10K Entrepreneurs coalition, we can help take their ideas and bring them to scale for broader, even greater application. This sets a base from which to build and seek out innovation from other areas.
Farmers in industrialized countries have the opportunity to lead the charge and they are ready to do it. But we have to give them a seat at the table and give them a voice in the discussion. We simply cannot do this without them.
I have also been filled with hope to see so many great pieces about the need for innovation such as Climate Change: How Innovative Plant Breeding Can Help Feed the World, Nurture the Planet or These super crops can save us from climate disaster. At Inari, we are focused on advanced gene editing solutions because we believe in the power of seed. We know that the full potential of seeds has yet to be unlocked but we now have the technology to do so — making possible in 3-5 years what has traditionally taken 10-15 years. The impacts of climate change are already impacting farmers. We must move forward in a responsible manner, but we must give innovation the ability to move forward with ease and efficiency.
I’m proud to be leading the coalition focused on building a network of 10,000 entrepreneurs to support the movement for 100M farmers for nature-positive solutions. As we look forward to the Summit at the end of the month, we’re already focusing on what’s next. We are focused on building the sustainable food system we all know we need. Just as the journey that got us to this point was of great importance, the journey ahead is even more critical.