MN food and ag leaders launch coalition to address top challenges

October 16, 2020

Globally-leading cluster of food and agriculture businesses, agriculture research institutions, and innovators team up to tackle climate change and other pressing challenges

MINNEAPOLIS – SAINT PAUL – Oct. 16, 2020 – Today, CEOs and executive leaders from many of the world's largest food and agriculture companies and key research institutions celebrated the launch of MBOLD™, a coalition that brings together Minnesota's unique array of global leaders to address major challenges facing the food and agriculture sectors.

Food and agriculture businesses based in Minnesota play an outsized role in nourishing our planet, connecting farmers with markets, and driving innovations that are fundamentally shaping the way the world eats. MBOLD's members reach consumers in more than 125 countries around the world and have combined annual revenues exceeding $250 billion. Minnesota is also home to the University of Minnesota and other world-class research institutions that are catalyzing solutions to meet increasing demand for food within our planet’s natural boundaries.

“The MBOLD coalition seeks to harness the power, reach and expertise of our members to accelerate practical solutions to pressing global challenges and drive real impact,” said Jeff Harmening, Chairman and CEO of General Mills and Co-Chair of MBOLD. “Minnesota's unique cluster of leaders is collaborating on some of the biggest challenges facing our food system and we are poised to lead the way to a more sustainable future."  

Powered by the GREATER MSP Partnership, MBOLD includes CEOs and other c-suite leaders from Cargill, Compeer Financial, Ecolab, General Mills, Hormel Foods, Land O’ Lakes, Inc., Schwan’s Company, Target, and the University of Minnesota as well as the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, Grow North and McKinsey & Co.

“MBOLD embodies the unique strength of our region, and through the collective commitments, there is an opportunity to have outsized impact,” says Stephanie Lundquist, President of Food and Beverage at Target and MBOLD Co-chair. “By working together to ideate, innovate and drive action on the ground, we can accelerate change and progress for some of the most critical challenges in the food system.”

“Our world is facing unprecedented and urgent challenges and we need food and agriculture to be part of the solution.  The need to collaborate better and faster to drive innovation has never been greater,” said MBOLD Managing Director, JoAnne Berkenkamp. “To have so many leaders of this caliber join forces is a testament to the leadership based here in Minnesota and our potential to help solve critical challenges.”

Through the MBOLD coalition, leaders are working to accelerate solutions to a range of challenges. Priority areas include:

Soil Health and Water Stewardship – As climate change continues to strain the natural resources that nourish our world, MBOLD is working to develop more regenerative and resilient agriculture systems that build soil health, protect water resources and diversify farm incomes.

Circular Economies for Packaging – Massive amounts of flexible film packaging are used every year within and beyond our food system, but in the U.S. less than 4 percent of that packaging is recycled. MBOLD is committed to changing that by fueling development of a circular economy for flexible films.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship – MBOLD is bringing together the disruptive thinking of entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world with the acumen and reach of large global companies to drive solutions to today’s major challenges.

Food Insecurity in The Face Of COVID-19 – COVID-19 is causing unprecedented economic hardships and accelerating food insecurity in the U.S. and around the world. MBOLD is exploring ways for the private and public sectors to find solutions together.

Talent – Given the global reach of its businesses and institutions, Minnesota is one of the best places in the world to build a career in food and agriculture.  MBOLD is mobilizing a world-class workforce with the talent and commitment to accelerate progress to the biggest challenges in food and agriculture.

“The food and agriculture sector is central to our history and it’s a pillar of our current economy,” says GREATER MSP President and CEO, Peter Frosch. “This effort guarantees Minnesota will be the source of solutions the world needs and it will sharpen our region’s competitive edge.”

MBOLD launched on October 16 as part of Minnesota's celebration of World Food Day.

To watch the entire program, visit:


At the MBOLD™ coalition, we believe that the future of food and agriculture must be one that nourishes a growing global population while protecting and preserving the Earth’s natural resource base for the generations to come.  We work together to accelerate solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the food and agriculture sectors, particularly our changing climate and other natural resource challenges and the quest to meet the nutritional needs of a global population expected to reach 10 billion by the year 2050.


GREATER MSP is the economic development partnership for the 15-county Minneapolis Saint Paul region. Over 200 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties, philanthropies and others are working together to accelerate the competitiveness of the regional economy and drive inclusive economic growth through job creation, capital investment and the execution of strategic initiatives.

Media Contact:

Maggie Habashy