Jeff Dykstra

Ashoka Fellow
United States
Fellow Since 2016


This profile was prepared when Jeff Dykstra was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Jeff is advancing global food security by redefining the relationships between global food industry companies and their employees and local small and growing food processing companies. In the most food insecure countries around the world, long-standing aid interventions are usually focused on providing incremental support to smallholder farmers or, in moments of crisis, on providing handouts to consumers (sometimes destabilizing the local economy). But the real opportunity – according to Jeff – lies with small and growing food companies in emerging markets. If they become more robust, these companies could provide greater markets for local farm products and also safer and more nutritious food in country.

Local banks and global philanthropic and investment funds have helped unlock financial resources for agro processors. Even with cash on-hand, securing world-class talent or sparking demand for that same talent locally, is a challenge major challenge for small and growing food companies. Jeff has championed a model that meets the needs of local food companies while providing a way for global industry leaders to invest in food security, rather than just one-off projects or charity. Partners in Food Solutions’ remotely connects expert volunteers from some of the world largest food companies with small and growing food processors across Africa to share their knowledge and expertise in an effort to improve nutrition, local markets and ultimately improve food security on the continent.

In this way, PFS can facilitate innovation, new product development, and higher safety and nutritional standards, all of which can have a far greater and more lasting impact on upstream farmers’ income and community health than traditional aid. Together food professionals around the world and high-potential food companies on the ground can contribute to greater food security, more robust domestic production, and spark more local demand for talent - from factory engineers to food scientists.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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