Mr. Simon Groot was awarded the 2019 World Food Prize at the Iowa State Capitol last night in Des Moines, Iowa. The ceremony rivals that of the Nobel Prize, drawing over 800 people from more than 50 countries. Watch live today as Mr. Groot gives his official Laureate Address at 12:00 p.m. at www.worldfoodprize.org/live.
The 2019 World Food Prize was formally awarded to Mr. Simon Groot of the Netherlands during the ceremony, which took place during the 2019 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, themed, "Pax Agricultura: Peace Through Agriculture."
“The awarding of the World Food Prize to a vegetable seedsman is reason for excitement and gratitude,” Groot said. “But the ultimate recognition is for the millions of smallholder farmers that stepped up farming from a way of living to building a business.”
Each year, world-class performers take the stage to honor the World Food Prize Laureate. Past performers have included Ray Charles, John Denver, Chachi Tadesse, and Kathak Gunjan. Following the Ceremony, the celebration continues at the Laureate Award Ceremony Gala Dinner and reception, held in the Capitol Rotunda.
As a special honor for Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, the Foundation welcomed back the Brazilian 2wins. Growing up in an urban favela in Rio, their mother enrolled them in violin lessons in an effort to keep them from being caught up in gang culture. In 2006, at 19 years old, the pair performed at the Laureate Award Ceremony to honor three Laureates who revolutionized agriculture in Brazil. The twins were awarded full-ride scholarships to the University of Northern Iowa after the performance.
As a tribute to the 2019 Laureate, the ceremony closed with a performance from the international musical theater star Rachelle Ann Go. The Fillipino singer and actress is currently starring on the original West End production of Hamilton as Eliza Hamilton. Mrs. Go performance honored the Filipino roots which tie her and Groot together.
Mr. Groot, the founder of East-West Seed, was announced as the recipient of the Prize on June 10, 2019. He was awarded the Prize for his transformative role in empowering millions of smallholder farmers in more than 60 countries to earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production, benefitting hundreds of millions of consumers with greater access to nutritious vegetables for healthy diets.
Mr. Groot has led the transition of millions of subsistence farmers, many of them women, to horticulture entrepreneurs, thereby greatly enhancing their livelihoods and income. These farmers have invigorated both rural and urban markets for vegetable crops in their communities, making nutritious vegetables more widely available and affordable for millions of families each year.
During the ceremony, Mr. Groot stated, “I am very grateful to receive this prestigious award for the work I have done over the past 40 years. Looking back, our success has really come from sticking to our philosophy of being a true friend of the farmer.”