Bruce Ferree wants to give everyone a chance to make a difference in the field of food science, whether they participate in Feeding Tomorrow’s annual Fun Run + Fitness Challenge themselves or pledge to sponsor his run. “I want to be the place where people who don’t or can’t run can contribute to the event. I’ll do the running for them,” he says.
A food safety consultant and longtime IFT member, Ferree believes in the power of collective giving to launch the careers of the next generation of food scientists. He has participated in every Fun Run since the year 2000 and estimates that in the first 10 years alone, he helped raise approximately $40,000 toward student scholarships. This year, his goal is to run 300 miles and raise $30,000.
In return for his dedication and efforts, the Fun Run has rewarded Ferree with some memorable moments. There was the year he attempted a 155 mile run across the Atacama Desert in Chile and broke his foot on day three of the journey. While he may not have finished that run, he did collect $35,000 for Feeding Tomorrow scholarships. Then there was the year he ran on a treadmill just outside the expo hall at the IFT Annual Event and Food Expo. He says the best part of that experience was when his friend Russ Nishikawa filled in for him to give him a break, running in a full business suit while a student leader helped collect donations.
Why It Matters
Ferree notes that the annual Fun Run + Fitness event is the flagship fundraiser for Feeding Tomorrow, the foundation of IFT, with all proceeds going directly to fund academic scholarships for students pursuing a variety of degrees in the science of food. As a professional in the field, he has a vested interest in helping attract creative and innovative new talent to the science of food profession. “I may not be able to provide a scholarship by myself every year, but as a community, we can do just that. If every IFT member contributes just $50 each year, there could be upwards of $250,000 annually for scholarships for deserving students,” he says.
In a world recently disrupted by a global pandemic and facing a future marked by population growth amid a changing climate, food science and innovation will be key to feeding the world’s projected 9 billion people in 2050. Science of food professionals from a variety of disciplines are a critical part of the equation.
Doing the Math
It has been five years since that desert trek, and Ferree is ready to raise some serious money again this year. He encourages donors to “Think about it this way. You would typically pay approximately $30 to participate in the event. At $0.10 per mile, if I run 300 miles, there's your $30.” He already has several donors contributing $1 per mile, so “all I really need now is for 98 more of my best friends to step up and contribute at the $1 per mile level and I'll achieve the goal.”
Help Us Help the Students
As tuition costs continue to rise, scholarships are of the utmost importance for our future food scientists and innovators. Our ability to provide these much-needed funds to the largest number of undergrad and graduate students depends entirely on the success of the Fun Run + Fitness. There are several ways you can help.
Whether you decide to get active with us or move vicariously through Bruce, we hope you’ll join us in helping the next generation of science of food professionals gain access to the skills they need to lead successful careers. The future of food depends on it.
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