The awards recognize global excellence in food innovation and community impact and were presented by the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph in Canada. The university has been at the center of food and agricultural research in Canada for more than 150 years. Each award was accompanied by a prize of $100,000 CAD.
Harnessing The Power of Markets To Effect Social Change
Solidaridad received its award in recognition of its efforts to harness the power of markets to effect social change on behalf of the smallholder farmers of the world. Solidaridad was represented by Nico Roozen, Executive Director of the Solidaridad Network, Isaac Gyamfi, Managing Director for West Africa and Sebastian Teunissen, Managing Director for North America.
Speaking at the event, Executive Nico Roozen outlined the limitations of certification and advocated for the power of incentive-based market system and corporate social responsibility. Speaking alongside Roozen was Isaac Gyamfi Regional Director of West Africa, who shared insights on how local offices can translate the latest in global thinking to local situations.
At the Forefront of Improving Social, Environmental and Economic Sustainability
From its origins as an ecumenical NGO in the Netherlands, Solidaridad has evolved into a global network organization working around the world from its nine regional offices.
From initiating the fair trade labeling movement, to establishing companies that market sustainably grown bananas, to promoting global commodity roundtables, Solidaridad has been at the forefront of engagement throughout agricultural supply chains to improve social, environmental and economic sustainability of smallholder farmers.
Climate Change & The Need to Plan Accordingly
Dr. Myers, principal research scientist at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health and director of Harvard’s Planetary Health Alliance, has shown that climate change could make food less nutritious. According to his research, rising CO2 levels could significantly reduce the amount of iron, zinc, and protein in staple crops such as rice and wheat, that billions of people around the world rely on.
Dr. Myers and Solidaridad, in their respective work, have emphasized the need for agricultural producers to take climate change into account if the planet’s growing population is to be supplied with adequate and nutritious food. Dr. Evan Fraser, Director of the The Arrell Food Institute says:
“Both of these winners are considering the global food challenges we all face with a holistic perspective."
The Arrell Food Institute was established with a major grant from the Arrell Family Foundation, together with funding from the University of Guelph and additional support from the Government of Canada.