Tierra working the land

Celebrating the social entrepreneurs working toward a food-secure future

World Food Day promotes awareness and action for hunger and food insecurity. This year’s theme, “Water is Food, Water is Life”, explores water and its relationship to food and livelihoods.

At IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, it gives us a chance to highlight a few of the enterprises we support that are working innovatively with food and water usage.

Water is food, water is life 

Food security and management is a major global issue. In the last five years alone, food insecurity has increased from 135 million people in 53 countries to 345 million people in 79 countries, according to the UN World Food Program.   

Water is a necessity for all life on earth. With the rising population, there’s a need to produce more food while using less water and preserving our aquatic systems - although water covers 71 %of the earth’s surface, only 2,5 % of it is usable for agriculture.  

Water is not an infinite resource, so how we manage it is critical. It needs to be done equitably so that no one is left behind.   

IKEA Social Entrepreneurship supports enterprises that passionately address the global challenges of food and water security.  

Sustainable and equitable fishing 

In Peru, one of the world’s leading fishing countries, 51 % of the 33 million population experiences food insecurity. Small-scale fisheries are important contributors to national employment, food security and gross domestic product. However, they are often marginalised having to endure the consequences of ineffective regulations, environmental uncertainty, and lack of access to market. 

PesCo, a social enterprise based in Lima, Peru and part of our South America accelerator, works to link small-scale fishers directly to consumers in a sustainable way. The enterprise is committed to sustainably ensuring a quality supply of fish, prioritising responsible fishing techniques, promoting conservation and following the voluntary guidelines established by the FAO.   

Pesco has pioneered a transparent and equitable seafood supply chain that prevents overfishing and supports fishers in getting fair prices for their catch. Each fish product is packaged with a QR code, where consumers can see when and where the fish was caught, processed and packaged. PesCo has created a network of 250 artisan fishing suppliers and trained over 500 fishers.  

Through their B2B channels and retail stores, PesCo is creating a more widely available supply of responsibly sourced protein. 

PesCo shop
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High protein food with a lower environmental impact

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet and is particularly important for growth and development in children. While most of the world gets their protein by eating animals such as cows and chickens, edible insects like crickets can also provide a valuable source of protein.  

Griyum, a social enterprise part of our 2022 Mexico Accelerator Programme, has recognised the potential of cricket products to reduce global food insecurity. Founded by Alejandro de la Brena, the enterprise supports local cricket farmers by commercialising sustainable protein for foods of the future.  

Griyum collaborates with a network of 25 rural sharecroppers to produce edible cricket-derived ingredients for brands that use them to develop complete nutrition foods. Produced at a low cost and without a dominant flavour, cricket flour can be used in various foods, from bread and cookies to pasta, tortillas, and others.  

Compared to producing meat-based protein products, edible insects emit relatively few greenhouse gases, need significantly less land and water and are, therefore, a more sustainable source of protein.   

For Griyum, its social impact is equally crucial to its environmental impact - it works with farmers to produce edible crickets all year round, which means farmers receive an income eight times higher than they would with milk production. The enterprise also provides them with technology and training per international standards.  

All the hard work Griyum has done has saved millions of litres of water, avoided the sacrifice of forests, prevented excessive CO2 emissions and directly benefited 25 rural farmers.  

Griyum farmers
Griyum supports local cricket farmers by commercialising sustainable protein for foods of the future.
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Promoting native plants for a better, greener world

Endémika is a Mexican social enterprise promoting biodiversity conservation and greener cities. Locally, only 1% of Mexicans recognise their native plants and many gardens and green spaces are created using non-native Mexican plants.   

Native plants require less water than non-native plants because they’ve adapted to the local conditions and are more drought-tolerant. This means that once they’re established, they can survive on natural rainfall and don’t require additional watering.    

Founded in 2018 and part of our Mexico Accelerator Programme, Endémika is addressing this challenge, focusing on preserving, cultivating, and selling native Mexican plants.  

The company connects producers of 15 different species of native plants with end consumers in national and international markets.  

The company does more than preserve and sell plants; it is an educator and connector. Endémika empowers local farmers to grow and nurture native plants, generating economic sustainability, fair trade and dignified lives for small producers. The inherent resilience of native plants presents significant advantages, leading to increased income for farmers – up to four times that of traditional crops. Additionally, many native plant species fulfil medicinal and nutritional purposes. The company trains farmers and provides resources to guide them towards optimising production, including rainwater harvesting systems.  

Endémika’s plants are used to create gardens across Mexico and the United States of America that are beautiful and good for people and the planet. 

Endemika plants, Mexico
Endémika nurtures biodiversity and cultivates change in Mexico through sustainable gardens.
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Our commitment to a positive food future 

Food also plays an integral part of IKEA, from what we offer in-store to across the supply chain. As part of our sustainability strategy, we’re committed to reducing our CO2 emissions and waste, providing more plant-based options in our restaurants and food market (from veggie dogs to plant balls to vegan ice cream, there are various plant-based food alternatives in the IKEA range) and reviewing how and where we source our materials.   

Food scarcity and management will remain challenging as the world’s population increases. Being innovative and mindful of how we consume food and use water allows us to create sustainable momentum for the future. Working with and supporting social entrepreneurs is one way we’re working towards better food management and security for all.