Filipina agriculture advocates named in World’s 50 Best Next Leaders 

World's Best Next Leaders Filipina agriculture advocates
Louise Mabulo of The Cacao Project and Cherrie Atilano, founder of Agrea. Photos from Louise Mabulo and Cherrie Atilano socials.

The World’s 50 Best has named Filipina agriculture advocates Louise Mabulo and Cherrie Atilano in its inaugural 50 Next leaders list of exceptional young people from all over the world who are shaping the future of gastronomy.

The 2021 list from the United Kingdom-based organization honors those under the age of 35 to showcase a diverse global selection of trailblazers who are making waves in the food and drink industry.

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This year’s awardees include six Asians including two young Filipina leaders: Cherrie Atilano, an agricultural educator from Agrea, and Louise Mabulo, the farming advocate behind The Cacao Project, which is equipping Filipino farmers for sustainable success.

Hailing from 34 countries across six continents, the 50 honorees are divided into seven categories: Gamechanging Producers, Tech Disruptors, Empowering Educators, Entrepreneurial Creatives, Science Innovators, Hospitality Pioneers and Trailblazing Activists.

Formed through robust research and analysis by 50 Best in partnership with the internationally renowned Basque Culinary Center, 50 Next is an unranked list that aims to inspire, empower and connect young people who are pushing boundaries and tackling challenges from fresh perspectives.

The 50 Best is behind the annual rankings of the finest restaurants and bars on the planet.

Louise Mabulo, 22, San Fernando, Philippines
Gamechanging Producer

Louise Mabulo is an award-winning chef, entrepreneur, agriculture advocate, public speaker, and competitive archer. She is the founder of The Cacao Project, a social venture that helps farmers make a profit while working sustainably.

The young Filipina initiated The Cacao Project to assist farmers in the Philippines’ Bicol region who had their livelihoods destroyed by Typhoon Nina in 2016. She and her team are now currently in the research and development phase to create a new series of chocolate products.

“I want to deconstruct the negative stigmas surrounding agriculture in my country and change the narrative for local farmers so that we can make their trade into an art form that is agriculture and food sovereignty in the Philippines,” the organization quoted Louise Mabulo as saying.

Through The Cacao Project, Mabulo was able to revive water sources and combat deforestation while also providing sustainable livelihood for a community.

The 22-year-old is also the founder of The Culinary Lounge, a laidback farm-to-table kitchen studio that hosts events, workshops, cooking demonstrations, and pop-up dinners.

In 2019 she won the award Young Champions of the Earth awarded by the United Nations Environment Programme and was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2020 list.

Mabulo is a 2020 Young Explorer recipient of the National Geographic Society which awards funding to young people engaged in impact-driven efforts to address global issues.

Cherrie Atilano, 36, Makati City, Philippines
Empowering Educator

Cherrie Atilano is an agricultural educator and the founding farmer, CEO and president of Agrea.

Founded in 2014 in the island province of Marinduque in the Philippines, Agrea is an inclusive enterprise on a mission to build a replicable model for island economies with zero hunger, zero waste, and zero insufficiency.

Through community and organization-based programs, Atilano created a project that puts people at the center of its activities, empowering all players in the food chain to be sustainably supported and nurtured. Eradicating poverty for farming and fishing families, community-based tourism, alleviating the effects of climate change, quality education, and food security are the pillars on which Agrea stands.

Atilano also implemented the Forward initiative, which puts women at the center of the movement for better agriculture and rural development. As co-founder of Hatienda holdings, she is putting Filipino products front and center on the local and international market.

Cherrie Atilano is also the Philippine food security ambassador and a UN Global Food Systems Champion.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Louise Mabulo and Cherrie Atilano of the Philippines who have been named in the inaugural 50 Next leaders list of exceptional young people from all over the world who are shaping the future of gastronomy.

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