Net Impact: Collaborating to Nourish Nine Billion

Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Education - No comments

macJGuest blog by Mac Marshall

I’ve been back in my office for a few weeks now, but I’m still – for lack of a better phrase – basking in the glow of my Net Impact experience.

When I left for the conference in Seattle, I knew Net Impact is a marquee event where big ideas are discussed and where bold solutions are proposed. But nothing could have prepared me for the experience of being there in person.

Each day I go to work at Monsanto, we’re trying to solve sweeping, global issues – specifically, finding sustainable ways to feed a fast-growing population while confronting the effects of climate change. It’s a daunting, monumental challenge, but it’s also incredibly energizing.

That’s why I went into agriculture – because I wanted to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. That’s also why I jumped at the opportunity to attend Net Impact. I’m tremendously passionate about food-related issues and hoped I’d be able to share that with at least a few people.

I consider myself really fortunate to have had the chance to engage directly with students, and thought leaders from Google and Starbucks, in a discussion about the future of STEM and food during the “Nourishing 9 Billion Challenge” session.

It was truly invigorating to see future business leaders come together – from Berkeley to Boston, from both farming communities and bustling cities – to collaborate on finding solutions for the all-too-real problem of not just feeding, but nourishing the world in a sustainable way.

I came to Seattle hoping to share my enthusiasm for these issues, but I left a few days later having gained so much more from the energy and passion of those I was around. Simply put, participating in this conversation was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in my career in agriculture.

So as I sit in my office in St. Louis today, there’s an extra jolt of urgency and enthusiasm for my work. But even more than that, Net Impact has left me with a dramatically increased level of confidence in our ability to come together to find bold solutions to big challenges.

Mac Marshall is Deputy Chief Economist for Monsanto.

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