helping to Feed the world

The World Food Prize

Created in 1986 by Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, the World Food Prize honors the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Each year, the prize recognizes a significant contribution from any field that affects the world's food supply, including food and agriculture, science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership or the social sciences.

The prize was almost discontinued in 1990 when the original sponsor withdrew its support and the Nobel committee turned down Dr. Borlaug's request for funding. Fortunately, John Ruan heard of his fellow Iowan's dilemma and made the decision to establish a foundation that assumed sponsorship of the World Food Prize.

The prize became one of Mr. Ruan's passions, and he worked to raise its profile in Des Moines, across the nation and throughout the world. In 1994, Ruan and Borlaug added the World Food Prize Youth Institute, and in 1997, Ruan contributed $10 million to permanently endow the prize and ensure its tenure in Des Moines. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates-spearheaded by John Ruan III and the City of Des Moines-opened in 2011.

Today, with its $250,000 award, the World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing excellence and progress in overcoming global food production and distribution challenges while inspiring new generations to embrace the cause.