Generation Good: Meet 5 Students Changing the Future of Food - and the World

May 2, 2018 3:00 PM ET

Generation Good: Meet 5 Students Changing the Future of Food - and the World

MINNEAPOLIS, May 2, 2018 /3BL Media/ - Generation Z – also known as Post-Millennials, iGen and Plurals, among others – is a new wave of 60 million young people that we're just getting to know. They are true digital natives and the most diverse and multicultural generation we've seen in the U.S. Researchers have deemed them as individualists, realists and more globally-minded. However you define them, one thing is for certain – they are change-makers.

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Gen Z not only has the desire to see positive change in the world, they are bringing their own ideas to the table. They look for solutions and seek to make things their own. The problem is, they don't always have the resources to grow their big ideas into big impact. That's why, this January, General Mills launched the Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program, an initiative encouraging bright young minds to share the programs they've launched in their communities that help combat hunger and protect important agricultural resources. The call was heard by students around the country, and they answered with incredible ideas.

Meet the five Feeding Better Futures Finalists who aren't waiting until graduation to change their world – they're doing it now.

Joy Youwakim, a student at The University of Texas at Austin and a Nederland, Texas native, applied for a permit to grow food on top of a Texas landfill near the Austin airport. Once approved, she successfully grew various crops on a 400-square-foot space on top of the closed landfill. The produce was tested by Food Safety Net Services and is safe for consumption, proving this is a model that could be duplicated across the U.S. in the future.

Jack Griffin, 19, created FoodFinder in his hometown of Duluth, Georgia, to address childhood hunger and close the information gap that exists between families looking for free food assistance and the programs providing that assistance. Now a junior at the University of Michigan, Jack's mission to make food more accessible to those in need continues to evolve amidst his studies. Today, FoodFinder's website and mobile app include 25,000 food programs with a presence in all 50 states, ensuring food insecure children and their families know exactly when and where they can receive free food assistance.

Braeden Mannering, 14, started Brae's Brown Bags ( 3B) in his hometown of Bear, Delaware, to provide hope and nourishment to homeless and low-income populations. Each bag is filled with healthy food, clean water and a note that tells the recipient he/she is cared about. His work has grown to different student chapters in Delaware, and he hopes to further expand and educate youth about food insecurity. Through 3B, Braeden has delivered more than 11,000 brown bags.

Ten years ago, Katie Stagliano, now 19, started Katie's Krops in Summerville, South Carolina, with the mission to empower youth to grow and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Today, the College of Charleston student has grown more than 80 Katie's Krops gardens across the country, helping to donate 39,000 pounds of produce to food assistance programs in 2017 alone.

Kate Indreland, 19, set out to solve the problem of nutrient depletion in agricultural land in Big Timber, Montana. Her project to balance the soil on her family farm resulted in increased nutritional density in plants by 30 percent. As this continues, the nutrient density in the soil will continue to grow and benefit crops, livestock and ultimately human health. And with such promising results on her own farm, Kate's goal is to educate farmers and spread this technique worldwide so we can feed more people with better quality food.

To learn more about these five young heroes and their in-action solutions, visit The grand prize winner will be selected in June and awarded $50,000, industry mentorship and the opportunity to present at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June.