We recently had the pleasure of joining a Women Changing the Face of Agriculture 2022 Conference planning meeting. It was inspiring to witness the enthusiasm from the WCFA leadership, and other industry professionals, for reaching out to, and mentoring, the next generation of women in agriculture.
The conference in the US regularly brings together close to 650 students from across Illinois’ high schools and colleges for a day of learning and connection – and it has been a pleasure to meet and share the wonderful world of Tate & Lyle with these young leaders for the past five years and more. We're now looking forward to being a part of the 2022 Conference which is planned for the spring.
Developing outreach programmes that make a difference
Women Changing the Face of Agriculture is just one way we’re reaching out to support women and students from diverse backgrounds in exploring and understanding agriculture-based careers.
Our teams are participating in a variety of connection -driven scholarship and mentorship programmes like FastFutures (UK), Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences / Link Unlimited Scholars (Chicago, US), South African Association for Food Science & Technology (South Africa), both virtually and in-person, across our local communities worldwide. Through this more personal connection, our volunteers are helping to share advice and real-world perspectives in one-to-one or small group sessions. And we’re pleased to share that while we’re coaching students, we’re learning just as much about ourselves and how we can be even better, more effective partners in ensuring belonging, inclusion and equity.
Lauren von Stackelberg, our Chief Equity Diversity & Inclusion Officer highlights, “Personal connection is at the heart of all meaningful change. The relationships we forge listening to, learning from, mentoring and engaging with our local communities will help us to collectively create a more equitable world and future.”
Supporting success in the field towards a more sustainable future
In addition to supporting women and students as they pursue further education and career planning in agriculture, we’re particularly excited about the power and potential of supporting women across our agricultural supply chain - starting in the field.
In our new Sustainable Stevia pilot programme in partnership with Earthwatch Europe and supported by Nanjing Agricultural University, we are helping local farmers in the Dongtai region of China develop and adopt sustainable growing practices - many of whom are women.
Anna Pierce, our Director of Sustainability notes, “The growers participating in our stevia pilot are from small, family run farms, many of which are owned by women. The program’s goal is to minimise the environmental impact within our supply chain while improving the livelihoods of our suppliers.”
Room to grow
We believe women can help change the face of agriculture, and we believe that Tate & Lyle – and our broader industry – have an important role to play in accelerating gender diversity in agriculture. We realise we have much room to grow in helping to develop access and diversity within our industry and beyond. That’s why we are committed to bringing positive and impactful change for the future – planting the seed of change, growing stronger together.
Tate & Lyle has committed to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and prioritised Gender Equality as a goal where we believe we have a significant opportunity to have an impact. While we continue to prioritise gender equality within Tate & Lyle, we are also working in our supply chain and with local communities to amplify our impact.
To learn more about our Purpose and our commitments, please visit our Purpose page
*Photographs taken from a WCFA meeting pre-Covid-19
- Illinois Agri-Women (IAW) started The Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference as an investment in the future of agriculture.
- This outreach project gives women the opportunity to explore different career paths offered in the agriculture sector.
- The goal is to help attendees receive accurate information firsthand from actual women agriculture professionals. See the most recent on-line curriculum here.
Sustainable Stevia programme goals:
- Lowering the environmental impacts of stevia production by changing usage of synthetic fertiliser and pesticides to more sustainable alternatives, and providing guidance on application timing, targeting and volumes.
- Taking a comprehensive prevention and control approach to protect against pests, crop diseases and weeds, replacing plastic materials used for mulching with more sustainable alternatives.
- Developing farming practices to help maintain soil health, keep carbon locked in and improve on-farm composting.
- Read more about our partnership with Earthwatch Europe here.