In February, we launched the Cultivate Community competition. Open to all college students in the United States, it tasked students and student groups with submitting an idea that and helps feed the surrounding community, no matter how big or small.
Wheels up for Africa! The 2019 class of students chosen to participate in the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security™ Program depart Friday, June 14, to learn more about agricultural practices in Tanzania and South Africa. The prime focus of the trip is to learn more about the challenge of global hunger and to share the program’s mission of ending food insecurity.
Serving as a mentor for the Global Food Challenge with Land O'Lakes has been the most rewarding professional and personal experience of my entire career at the University of Minnesota. When Land O'Lakes approached the University of Minnesota, we were thrilled to find how far-reaching this experience would be, not only across this campus but across the nation. Working with colleagues from our peer institutions to find new ways to efficiently feed the world was, and will continue to be, transformative.
Peri Warren’s grandfather and great-grandfather were farmers. But as she got older, the distance between her and agriculture grew. However, she got another taste of ag during her time as a 2017 Emerging Leader with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge. This internship included spending time on a smallholder coffee farm in Tanzania; visiting blueberry, hazelnut and hop operations in Oregon; and having a discussion with a USDA official in Washington, D.C., about food deserts and food injustice.
Everyone knows that agriculture doesn’t look the way it did 100 years go. But, even in the past 10 years, technology has changed the way food is grown —if not at the speed of light, then at a speed nobody quite anticipated.
It’s estimated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that one in eight Americans can be defined as food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to food that is needed for an active, healthy lifestyle. With nearly 40 million Americans across the country struggling, it can seem like an insurmountable challenge for one person to tackle and make a difference.
Global food security means that people everywhere have access to enough safe, nutritious food to eat every day. But it’s not a reality. And with 9 billion of us projected to live on the planet by 2050, feeding the world tomorrow won’t be possible unless we all start working together today.
That’s why Land O’Lakes, Inc. is introducing Cultivate Community With the Global Food Challenge. It’s a new food security-focused competition open to college students in the United States who want to help devise solutions to the problem of food insecurity.
Growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, Deanna Zernicke was familiar with Land O’Lakes, Inc. and recognized the value of advocating for the agriculture industry. In college, she heard about an internship opportunity with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge program. This piqued her interest, and she attended a career fair to find out more.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), fall armyworm was first confirmed on the African continent in 2016. This destructive pest can feed on 80 different crop species, including corn, a food staple in Africa. It has been found in more than 30 African countries and poses a serious threat to the food security, income and livelihoods of people.
As participants in the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge during the 2017–18 academic year, we learned a great deal about how business can have a positive effect on advancing agriculture, helping mitigate food insecurity and turning something that seems insignificant into something transformative. Our roles as Emerging Leaders in the program changed us forever and helped us further guide our career paths to an agricultural focus.