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Komal Ahmad And Nandeet Mehta Named Global Food Initiative 30 Under 30 Award Winners

Press Release

U.C. Berkeley graduate Komal Ahmad and UCLA student Nandeet Mehta were named among the inaugural Global Food Initiative 30 Under 30 award winners, the University of California announced June 14.

The awards recognize 30 young pioneers and innovators trailblazing to solve the global food crisis by making extraordinary contributions in a wide array of food-related fields, according to the U.C. office of the president.

The awards recognize individuals both inside and outside the U.C. system who have made outstanding contributions to fields including food production, food access and security, food sourcing, food education and communication, and food policy and public impact.

Ahmad, Mehta and the other 28 honorees were selected through a comprehensive nomination and review process by a committee of industry leaders and influential voices in the food movement.

“Today we honor 30 young people who have devoted their lives to addressing some of the most important topics of our day,” U.C. president Janet Napolitano, who launched the Global Food Initiative in 2014, said in a statement. “Food is at the heart of issues related to sustainability, climate security and healthy communities.”

Ahmad, 26, is the founder and chief executive of Copia, a website and mobile app that connects businesses with excess food inventory to communities in need.

Copia has fed more than 660,000 people and recovered more than 800,000 pounds of food, enough to feed the entire country of Luxembourg, the U.C. news released noted.

Copia recently partnered with the NFL during Super Bowl 50 to recover more than 28,000 pounds of food, and feed more than 23,000 people in need (three times the homeless population of San Francisco).

Mehta, 22, is an Edison scholar, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and a UCLA class of 2016 student majoring in history and minoring in global studies.

He is the founder and CEO of Pyur Solutions, a company that develops nontoxic, biodegradable, plant-based pesticides, herbicides and insecticides for agriculture.

While focusing on developing sustainable solutions to control pests in agriculture, Mehta became drawn to the subject of nutrition and its relationship to performance and health, according to his 30 Under 30 bio.

This past fall, Mehta, who also serves as a contributor for the Huffington Post, co-founded SNAC, a student nutrition advocacy group.

Napolitano launched the initiative to develop, demonstrate and export solutions that help put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feeding itself.

U.C. continues to work on developing solutions to improve food security, health and sustainability locally, nationally and globally.

She started the 30 Under 30 Awards to highlight and amplify the good work being done by 30 young leaders and further encourage dialogue about food education, access and security, health and sustainability, in line with the initiative’s goals.

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