Collaborating to Nourish 9 Billion | Net Impact

Collaborating to Nourish 9 Billion

Students and industry discuss the future of STEM and Food at NI15
Students and industry discuss the future of STEM and Food at NI15

I’ve been back in the office for several 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 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 an economist at St. Louis-based Monsanto, an agriculture company committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world.