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Cultivate Community, a Competition From the Global Food Challenge

Posted by Land O'Lakes, Wed, February 13

What does it take to truly feed the world?

Global food security means that people everywhere have access to enough safe, nutritious food to eat every day. But it’s not a reality. And with 9 billion of us projected to live on the planet by 2050, feeding the world tomorrow won’t be possible unless we all start working together today.


That’s why Land O’Lakes, Inc. is introducing Cultivate Community With the Global Food Challenge. It’s a new food security-focused competition open to college students in the United States who want to help devise solutions to the problem of food insecurity.


How does it work?

Let us know about your idea, initiative, club or campus program that demonstrates the farmer-to-fork journey in action. Show us how your idea promotes efficiency in a food production system and helps feed those around you.


Two students or groups will win a prize: $1,000 for first place and $500 for second place to make their food security project a reality.


What types of ideas qualify?

Ideas and activities can run the gamut. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Josh is a member of a group that grows lettuce and other leafy greens for the campus dining hall. However, the produce must be transported to the kitchen by foot in cumbersome 18-gallon bins. Josh’s group wants to raise money for an e-bike to transport the produce and make the farmer-to-fork journey more efficient.
  2. Ingrid is a supply chain management major and her roommate studies environmental science. The two realize the value of reducing food waste. But they also want to help solve an on-campus hunger problem. The idea? Raise funds to create a composting system using food waste from the campus dining hall to grow more food, which can then provide hungry students at her school with a reliable source of nutrition.
  3. J. is a sophomore studying computer science. Together with a group of friends, they would like to develop a smartphone app that helps students track the farmer-to-fork journey of their dining hall food. The group has started to raise money for costs associated with building the app and would like to continue to grow their funds.


Am I eligible?

The Global Food Challenge competition is open to college students in the United States.* Students can compete as individuals or on a team of students. Each individual or team must have an advisor from their current university to oversee the project and act in a supervisory role to the students. This can be, but is not limited to, a tenured professor, adjunct professor, current university staff member or university researcher.


*Must be an undergraduate post-secondary student(s) currently enrolled in a 4-year college or university and, unfortunately, past Global Food Challenge and past Land O’Lakes interns are not eligible to compete. However, Cultivate Community entrants and/or winners are eligible to participate in a future Land O’Lakes internship, including the Global Food Challenge.



Reach out to us at with any questions.




Ready to Submit?

Congratulations on getting started with your entry! To help you get started, we’ve created a few simple steps for getting your proposal ready for submission. Please follow the below instructions closely and email with any questions.  To view full instructions click here.


Step 1: Learn about industry challenges. Watch the four online video modules presented by Land O’Lakes experts to learn more about the Land O’Lakes, Inc. farmer-to-fork journey.


These videos will help you better understand how the farmer-to-fork journey comes to life in each Land O’Lakes business unit: SUSTAIN, WinField United, Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition. You will also find articles that expand on these challenges that may be helpful to reference.


Our goal in providing this content to you is to help deepen your understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the food and agriculture industry on a macro level. Submissions that demonstrate an understanding of the content presented here are encouraged. That said, it is not required that your project relate directly to any  of these challenges specifically. Focus on drawing connections between the project and the industry in a meaningful way.


  • Getting to know Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN
    • Jason Weller, senior director of sustainability for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, discusses Land O’Lakes’ newest business unit, SUSTAIN, and how it benefits both farmers and consumers through sustainable practices, innovation and ag technology tools. Watch here
  • What is WinField United?
    • Joel Wipperfurth, director of e-business for WinField United, talks about the purpose of the WinField United business unit and how the stereotypical image of the farmer you know is changing with ag technology and on-farm innovation. Watch here.
  • A look inside Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods
    • Katy Morlok, SPARK team lead, shares how she went from microbiology to food science and what the farmer-to-fork journey looks like in the dairy business. Watch here.
  • Understanding Purina Animal Nutrition
    • Aileen Joy Mercado, technical innovations project manager for Purina Animal Nutrition, gives a look into her research and development role with Purina Animal Nutrition and how this Land O’Lakes business unit enriches the lives of producers, animals and consumers alike. Watch here.


Step 2: Create a video summary. Tell the story of a project – one that already exists or one you want to create – that needs seed funding to come to life in your community.

Create a 1 - to 2-minute video with the following components:

  • Your name(s), major(s) and school(s)
  • A brief overview of your project
    • Is this an existing or new project?
    • What was the inspiration for this idea?
    • What will the impact of this project be on your community?


Think of your video as a project overview and a chance to show your creativity, passion and the inspiration behind the idea. A more in-depth explanation of your project and its elements should be outlined in your project plan (see Step 3).


As you develop your video entry, focus more on the idea than the production value. Videos can be developed using a smartphone (landscape orientation is best) or a camera.


Step 3: Develop a project plan. Answer the prompts below to further outline your project proposal.


Your project plan can come to life in the written form of your choice – a Word document (up to 5 pages) or a presentation like Prezi, Google Slides or PowerPoint (up to 10 slides) How you deliver the plan is up to you, but it must answer the following prompts:

  1. Describe your project in detail. (e.g. What is it, how does it work and where did the idea come from?)
  2. How is your project related to the farmer-to-fork journey?
  3. How will your project promote improvement in a food or agricultural system or encourage your community to think about food in a new way?
  4. How do you plan to use the seed money to fund this project? Please provide an estimated budget breakdown.
  5. Please include any other key information necessary to include about your project.


Each individual, group or school club must have an advisor from their current school to oversee the project and act in a supervisory role to the students. This can be, but is not limited to, a tenured professor, adjunct professor, current university staff member or university researcher. The advisor must send a University letterhead letter in digital or print form that clearly states: The name of the individual(s) involved in the pitch, the University, and their approval of supervising the concept and implementation.


Timeline/Important Dates

  • Competition opens for submissions on February 13, 2019.
  • Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on April 22, 2019.
  • Winners will be announced the week of May 13, 2019.



All submissions are due April 22, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. CT. Please include your video submission and business plan in a Dropbox link and email to


Your email submission subject line should read “Cultivate Community_YOUR LAST NAME(S)_Entry”


The file names in your Dropbox link should follow the below naming conventions:

  • Business Plan: CultivateCommunity_YOUR LAST NAME(S)_BusinessPlan.file
  • Video Summary: CultivateCommunity_YOUR LAST NAME(S)_VideoSummary.mp4



Q: Is the competition open to students at both 2-year and 4-year colleges? How about trade schools?

A: The competition is open to all undergraduate post-secondary students currently enrolled at 4-year school in the United States. The competition is not open to students at 2-year colleges nor trade schools.


Q: Do students need to be at a certain level in college (for example, juniors and seniors only)?

A: No, any undergraduate post-secondary students currently enrolled in a 2-year, 4-year or trade school in the United States are eligible.


Q: Do students need to be working toward a major that is related to food or nutrition or can students in any type of major apply? 

A: We encourage students of all majors and academic backgrounds to apply! The food and agriculture industries need you!


Q: Can past or current Global Food Challenge or Land O’Lakes interns participate?

A: No, past or current Global Food Challenge and Land O’Lakes interns are not eligible. However, Cultivate Community entrants and/or winners are eligible to participate in a future Land O’Lakes internship, including the Global Food Challenge.



Reach out to us at with any questions. We look forward to seeing your entries!


Download the full instructions here.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The "Cultivate Community Global Food Challenge Contest" is open only to individuals, groups, or members of a designated college/university group that are undergraduate post-secondary student(s) currently enrolled in a 4-year college or university, and are permanent legal residents of the 50 U.S.A./D.C. who are at least 18. Void outside the 50 U.S.A./D.C., and where prohibited or restricted by law. Subject to Official Rules available at: Enter Feb 13, 2019 through April 22, 2019. Sponsor: Land O’Lakes, Inc., 4001 Lexington Ave N, Arden Hills, MN 55112.