Saturday, June 16, will mark a life-changing day for the 2018–19 class of Emerging Leaders in the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge program. At that time, the 10-member group of college sophomores will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi, for the first leg of its 10-day trip to Africa. The group will travel to South Africa for the second half of the trip.
Katie Enzenauer knew in high school that she wanted to see the world and help people in developing countries overcome challenges such as food insecurity. “When the Global Food Challenge program came along,” she recalls, “I remember thinking it was a perfect fit.”
The 2018–19 class of Emerging Leaders for the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge program has arrived in the Twin Cities to begin its 12-week summer internship experience. The 10-member group will convene at Land O’Lakes corporate headquarters in Arden Hills on May 21.
As an agricultural economics major at Purdue University, Jacquelyn Brown was interested in an internship opportunity with an ag-based company. As an Emerging Leader with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge, she got that and a lot more.
Growing up on a corn and soybean farm in Iowa, Olivia Reicks admits it was hard for her to imagine that food insecurity was a prominent problem.
Regeneration, sustainability and conservation seem to be buzzwords in today’s society. And while they can’t be separated from agriculture, the disconnect between consumers and farmers is in some ways too wide. The solution to deepening understanding is storytelling.
Hydroponics is derived from two Greek words: “hydro,” meaning water, and “ponics,” meaning labor. The concept of using an aerated nutrient solution and additional lighting to provide energy for photosynthesis is both interesting and promising. Today, complex hydroponic systems can grow highly nutritious foods in rapid amounts of time, with customized lighting and controlled growing environments.
When I think about food insecurity, generally I think about people in the community who are not able to afford fresh food, about people who need the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food and nutrition service; and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). I think about people who don’t have access to clean water and who live on less than one dollar a day.
Since the Global Food Challenge program was launched in 2014, 31 students have walked through the doors of Land O’Lakes as sophomores curious about what the future will hold. It’s a similar and familiar feeling we’ve all had, whether it be your first day at school or your first day on a new job.
I drink skim milk, occasionally pay $5 for a specialty cup of coffee and am a loyal consumer of organic vanilla bean granola. Growing up in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, the only time I stepped foot on a farm was to get lost in a corn maze.