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.
If you have been keeping up with the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders, you know that we are seasoned globe trotters. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration but we have experienced many facets of agriculture this summer. From Africa to Washington D.C., we’ve learned a lot of food security.
Politics have always been my passion, which is why I was so excited to travel to Washington D.C. with the Global Food Challenge emerging leaders to learn about agricultural policy this July.
Over the past few years, I've come to realize that being open to opportunities that come your way can often be more important than actively seeking them out. Some opportunities we would never consider or dream for ourselves can end up being exactly the best experiences for us. I learned this lesson four months ago when I received a text from a good friend of mine, “Are you interested in going to Haiti this summer?”