General Mills awarded Ugo Angeletti, founder of back2earth, and his sister Emma $50,000 as the winners of its annual Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program. The program recognizes young people in North America who are doing great things to improve global food issues, such as fighting hunger, reducing food waste and advancing sustainable agriculture in their communities.
The siblings learned they were this year's grand prize winners after presenting their initiative to a panel of judges at the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis. Surrounded by family and General Mills employees, the Angeletti's were presented a check for $50,000 and will also receive industry mentorship and a chance to attend the prestigious 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival.
"I am so excited we were named this year's Feeding Better Futures grand prize winners," said Ugo Angeletti in a statement. "It's amazing to be a part of this wonderful program and have the opportunity to expand the reach of back2earth in Florida and beyond. Back2earth's mission is to grow gardens, not landfills, and with the help of General Mills, we'll be able to do just that."
Back2earth has collected more than 15,000 pounds of food waste and produced more than 4,000 pounds of compost to nourish hyperlocal gardens by installing food waste drop-off stations and compost stations around the Miami community. With the leadership and monetary support through the Feeding Better Futures program, the siblings plan to further their initiative by developing even more drop-off stations and local gardens, as well as distributing more compost kits for residents to use in their own homes.
"We're inspired by how driven today's youth is to champion a happier, healthier world," said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills, in a statement. "We're proud to combine the ideas and passion of these young leaders with General Mills' ability to scale. Together, we can turn small steps into big impact."
The other two Feeding Better Futures finalists each received $10,000 to continue their forward-thinking initiatives:
- Bradley Ferguson, Post Crashers & Mustangs Against Hunger: Ferguson developed two solutions to eradicate hunger, one that focuses on growing fresh food for homeless veterans and another food pantry run out of his high school.
- Kenzie Hinson, Make a Difference Pantry: Hinson started a multiservice food pantry that provides quality food to people in need, including special distribution for seniors and kids and mobile programs for disaster relief.
Here is a deeper look at some of General Mills’ recent work in environmentally and socially responsible practices across its supply chain, as well as in hunger relief efforts across the globe:
- A commitment to advance regenerative agriculture on one million acres of farmland by 2030. Regenerative agriculture works with nature to pull carbon from the air and store it in the soil, ultimately increasing biodiversity, improving farming communities and reducing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
- Commitment to sustainably source all 10 of the company's priority ingredients by 2020. The company is 85 percent of the way there.
- Donated more than $102 million to charitable causes and enabled 29 million meals for food-insecure children and families in 2018.
- Empowered 30,000 retailers to recover 4.2 billion pounds of surplus food over the last year, through MealConnect in the U.S. and FareShare in the U.K. These efforts redirect food to people in need before going to waste.