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Maria Kolesina: Transforming Agrifood Systems Worldwide

Maria Kolesina: Transforming Agrifood Systems Worldwide


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Maria Kolesina, the Youth Food Lab co-lead at the World Food Forum. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Welcome Maria. Let’s jump right in. Can you tell me what challenge the World Food Forum is addressing?

Maria: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! The Youth Food Lab of the World Food Forum identifies, supports, and scales solutions to transform agrifood systems worldwide. Our mission is to support young innovators from all backgrounds and countries of the world, to nurture their innovative, high-potential ideas.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Maria: I love working with young bright innovators from all over the world! Their success and growth really motivate me.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Maria: The Youth Food Lab supports young innovators to bring their proposals to reality. We do that through capacity development training, hands-on support, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Maria—it’s been an honor!

Maria Kolesina is an aspiring social innovator and advocate for a more equitable future. Before joining the World Food Forum team as the Youth Food Lab co-lead, Maria worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Biodiversity Finance Initiative as well as local non-governmental organizations. Maria holds a master’s degree in international cooperation for development from La Sapienza University of Rome. (Nominated by Janina Peter at Food and Agriculture Organization. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 26, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.