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?”
My upcoming trip to Africa had been on my mind for months. I had prepared a list of things I needed to buy, to pack, and to finish before leaving. However, when the day came to fly out, I found myself feeling as though I had never been more unprepared in my life.
When the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders and their university mentors arrive in Arusha, Tanzania–the first leg on a 10-day visit to Africa–they’ll meet Malcolm Hatley. Malcolm is the director of Operations for the Public-Private Partnership for Artificial Insemination Delivery (PAID) program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Land O’Lakes International Development.
On my first Monday morning commute, I experienced an odd mix of emotions when the Land O’Lakes, Inc. headquarters office came into view. My feet were restless as the ability to create change grew more palpable, stimulating excitement painted my smile wide and, although partially due to the promise of a free breakfast, unrelenting nerves made my stomach churn. The first day of an incredibly unique internship experience was finally here.
If I’m honest, the bustling metropolis of Washington D.C. is not a place I once equated with effectively telling the story of sustainable agriculture. When I left the crowded airport to ride a crowded metro to find our hotel on a crowded city street, I thought to myself, “What does this have to do with agriculture?” No farms. No dirt. Definitely no cows.
Think back to your grade school days: when someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, was it easy to reply with an answer? Maybe you were considering a career as a firefighter, doctor, nurse, teacher or an astronaut. As you grew up, did those dreams change?
I grew up on a farm in Minnesota and now attend Iowa State University majoring in agricultural engineering, so it’s probably not surprising that a question that often crosses my mind is how do we feed the world? It’s a question that we in the agriculture industry often ask, and the more people working to answer it, the closer we’ll be to finding a solution.