Search for creative and unexpected ideas for the world food problem

September 7, 2021

The number of people on this earth is increasing rapidly and by 2050 we will probably have a world population of 10 billion. That is far more than today. How do we prevent people from going hungry, how do we keep everyone healthy and how do we ensure that we produce and transport enough food in a sustainable yet profitable way?

It is a huge challenge, but with one small idea you can contribute to a sustainable world in the future.

And with many small ideas together, we are one step closer to solving this complex problem.

So, what ideas do students have?

Of course, the best ideas do not have to come from researchers or students alone. Wageningen University & Research thinks that high school students can have very creative and unexpected ideas. With the Wageningen Youth Institute, we are asking these high school students to help us solve the world food problem.

For example, they can participate in the Global Challenge of the World Food Prize Foundation with pupils from all over Europe. Wageningen Youth Institute also offers them (expert) guidance if their profile paper or Meesterproef (for the subject Research & Design) is about a topic that fits the global food problem.

Yasmin pitched her idea on Hydroponic

In 2019, Yasmin Dijksterhuis participated in the Wageningen Youth Institute. There she pitched Hydroponic greenhouses as a possible solution for growing crops in places where that is very challenging, for example due to extreme weather conditions.

Hydroponic is basically nothing more than a PVC tube through which water with nutrients flows. You can hang crops in this tube, which will then provide the plants with exactly the right amount of minerals. Besides being much more efficient than regular soil, this method of growing crops also takes up a lot less space. That makes it suitable for use on a small scale as well as in places where growing crops is not easy.

With this idea, she was also awarded the KNAW education prize for best VWO profile paper. (Article in newspaper in Dutch)

And is now helping other high school students

Yasmin is now studying Plant Sciences (in Dutch) in Wageningen and is helping other high schoolers with their profile paper or Meesterproef via the Wageningen Youth Institute.

Yasmin Dijksterhuis
I spoke to several passionate high school students this year, as I helped them with their extended essay about agriculture and sustainable cultivation systems.
Yasmin Dijksterhuis