The Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference on January 29–30 will be hosting the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Challenge 2050 Project.
A group of 25 students have been selected to attend the conference. “They are being sponsored by HM. Clause, a large vegetable seed company here in the U.S. and globally,” says Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).
While at the conference, the students will have an opportunity to present their individual research projects, be involved in the behind-the-scenes horticulture tour of Disney and much more.
LaVigne, who has worked closely with the Challenge 2050 Project, says that “It’s a great opportunity to interact with the industry, and for the industry to interact with the students.” He says the main goal is to bring in the students to see what “we do in our business” and to let the industry professionals see what the University of Florida is doing with its Challenge 2050 Project program.
Tony Andenoro, an assistant professor of leadership education and the director of the Challenge 2050 Project at the University of Florida, says the project is all about how to bring together students and industry professionals to address the complex problems associated with the world’s growing population that is projected to exceed 9.725 billion by the year 2050.
“In 2013, we started this journey. We said ‘Just because someone is 17 years old doesn’t mean that their perspective is any less valued. And we need to have all of the minds that we possibly can to figure out how to address all of the problems that are stemming from our population growth,'” Andenoro says.
According to Andenoro, the Challenge 2050 Project focuses on agricultural yield, energy production, stewardshipof the environment and natural resources, climate change and global health. The goal is to find solutions to meet the needs of the 2050 world population.
Andenoro says that he loves the approachability that HM. Clause has with the Challenge 2050 Project. “The relationships that are cultivated through interactions help to create a positive trajectory for our students,” he says.
“It’s awesome. HM. Clause is one of the most amazing organizations that I’ve ever had the privilege to work with because they view the problems that we see from an integrated approach, which takes really good intentional social science to understand the culture and the people we are trying to serve,” says Andenoro.
“I would like to see the continued evolution of the program, so we hope to see them again in two years when (the conference) is back in the state (Florida),” says LaVigne.
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