Ardent Mills is joining Partners in Food Solutions, a U.S. nonprofit with headquarters in Minneapolis, as its newest corporate partner.
Partners in Food Solutions connects corporate volunteers with small and growing food businesses in eight African countries in an effort to improve food security, nutrition and economic development across Africa, where the population is expected to double by 2050. Strengthening the middle of the local food system – the processing sector – can create a ripple effect of stable markets for smallholder farmers, job growth and more nutritious food available to consumers. Through a model of remote consulting pioneered by Partners in Food Solutions and recognized by leaders around the world, Ardent Mills’ volunteer experts will connect with African client businesses to provide technical and business expertise.
Ardent Mills’ volunteers will join others from General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, Bὒhler and The Hershey Company.
“Our social responsibility efforts are focused on ending hunger and educating people on the value of grains to a healthy, balanced diet in the communities where we live and work across North America. By joining hands with Partners in Food Solutions, we are expanding our reach with these efforts on a truly international scale,” said Dan Dye, Ardent Mills CEO. “We are all about nourishing what’s next and engaging our team members in helping others.”
Partners in Food Solutions CEO Jeff Dykstra underscored the importance of this effort:“We believe that supporting the development of a robust local food industry in Africa is at the heart of building stable and thriving communities. Africa is home to more than 1.2 billion people and that population is expected to double to 2.4 billion by 2050. Harnessing the power of the private sector can have a significant impact on increasing food security across the continent for a rapidly growing population.”
Adding Ardent Mills volunteer experts to its force is part of Partners in Food Solutions' aggressive growth plan over the next few years. The five-year-old nonprofit has already helped more than 700 food companies through training or consulting projects, and has gone from working in four countries in 2011 to eight in 2017. Partners in Food Solutions has 980 volunteers who have contributed 75,000 hours of technical and business expertise to promising food processors, who in turn are doing business with 896,000 smallholder farmers.
Partners in Food Solutions began as an internal employee volunteer program at General Mills in 2008. It was spun out as a nonprofit organization in 2011, with Cargill joining the effort along with the Dutch nutrition and pharmaceuticals company DSM, Swiss technology company Bὒhler, and The Hershey Company in 2015.