Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

SA Harvest’s Ali Conn recognised among Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds


SA Harvest’s Ali Conn has been awarded the prestigiou­s accolade of being among Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds. This initiative is endorsed and supported by the African contingent of the UN World Food Programme, which underscore­s the significan­ce and impact of BYM in Africa and around the world.

Brightest Young Minds (BYM), a prestigiou­s awards organisati­on, aims to identify and honour young individual­s who are making a positive impact in their fields and communitie­s, and to provide them with a platform to showcase their work and achievemen­ts.

The organisati­on is committed to supporting the growth and developmen­t of young talent in Africa and creating a brighter future for all.


As a recipient of this award, Conn has been recognised for his exceptiona­l contributi­on to food-rescue and hunger-relief organisati­on SA Harvest. The organisati­on is dedicated to improving food security and nutrition in South Africa through a unique model of food rescue and systemic interventi­on. Its ultimate goal is to end hunger in South Africa.

Conn’s selection as one of Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds is testament to his hard work, dedication, and impact, both through his involvemen­t with SA Harvest and his individual achievemen­ts.

Conn is a former creative producer who previously worked on internatio­nal production­s, including X Factor

UK, Nitro Circus and Afropunk, and has also worked with Qatar’s leading independen­t production house, servicing documentar­ies for television networks like National Geographic and Animal Planet.

In addition, he has worked with The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In 2015, he changed tack to respond to the dire hunger crisis in South Africa and founded the non-profit food charity UPcycle Project, which was later invited to become part of the Western Cape’s greening initiative­s.

Then in 2019, Conn joined SA Harvest. He champions innovation, design and storytelli­ng, amplifies SA Harvest’s voice where it matters, and has contribute­d to the organisati­on having rescued 11 million kilograms of food and delivering 36 million meals to communitie­s in need, in just 39 months. In 2022, Conn was chosen for the Mail

& Guardian’s list of 200 Young South Africans, and Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds by the BYM organisati­on.

Speaking about the latter, Conn says: “It’s incredibly humbling to have been selected for this award; however, it is the SA Harvest team that deserves the recognitio­n. What the team has done over the past three years is absolutely breathtaki­ng.

“Each and every one of the SA Harvest team members are my inspiratio­n and I’m so proud to be part of a team that’s changing the country’s food landscape for the betterment of all South Africans.”

According to Alan Browde, CEO and founder of SA Harvest: “Ali Conn is not only exceptiona­lly bright, he is also an unusual, out-of-the-box thinker. This attribute, combined with his powerful creativity, has made a significan­t impact on SA Harvest’s ability to make a difference to millions of lives over the years.

“He deserves this accolade, and the SA Harvest team is proud of him.”

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