Innovator tackles food insecurity on world stage

Courtney Davies will represent NZ at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit.

Dairy Flat’s Courtney Davies, 23, has some big ideas when it comes to agricultural innovation, which has landed her a place at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil this November.

Every two years, 100 delegates aged 18 to 25 are selected to participate in the summit where the aim is to formulate ways to end food insecurity in a growing global population.

Those selected receive an all-expenses paid trip where they complete three days of discussions, as well as learning networking, debating, and project development skills, so they can apply their findings back home.

Courtney’s submission suggests that using virtual reality (VR) technology to expose people to agricultural practices and innovations could help lower food insecurity.

“It can be dangerous when people in power rely on misinformation when they make big policy decisions, like how to fix food insecurity,” Courtney says.

“Technology is an effective way to bridge the rural and urban divide by getting everyone on the same page and to stop this from happening.”

Courtney says that as an example, the realistic experience of VR could be used to show children, who can’t physically visit a farm, the process involved in getting food onto their plate, so they become more aware of its value.

Courtney has already seen the effectiveness of VR education through her role at the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

“I travel around schools in Auckland and use VR headsets to show the students what goes on in our oceans, so they can learn why it is so important to protect them,” she says.
Courtney’s innovative ambitions stem from her background in agriculture and science. She founded her award winning stud farm, Inca Ayrshires, in 2012, showing her cows both in NZ and overseas. She is also a qualified Ayrshire dairy cattle judge.

Courtney completed a Masters of Natural Science in microbiology at Massey University last year. Her Masters project looked at how bacteria can be used to create biodegradable plastics and as a drug alternative to antibiotics.

Courtney says she is looking forward to applying her background knowledge and NZ perspective at the summit.“It will be great to bring some inspiration back to NZ, too,” she says.


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