Blog Update
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.
Blog Update
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?

GFC on Capitol Hill

Posted by Leah Ellensohn, Diana Fu, Sydney Gray, Ayse Muratoglu and Blake Schweiner , Mon, August 8



As Congress headed into a period of recess, the Global Food Challenge team experienced a special time on The Hill. The streets were abuzz with legislators and their teams juggling multiple issues and working extra hours in an attempt to pass last-minute bills through Congress, including the GMO Labelling Bill. The Roberts-Stabenow Bill was passed by the Senate and House after two arduous years of drafting and revising between the two bodies. We were able to speak directly with staffers and congressmen and women to express our support for the bill and our excitement to see it progress. Here are some of our personal takeaways from Capitol Hill:


  • “I think it was really impactful to have students and young adults express their passion for food and agriculture to the representatives on The Hill that push all the changes.” –Sydney Gray


  • “It was interesting being on Capitol Hill and watching CSPAN while the bill was being debated and ultimately passed. I usually don’t watch the program, but while we were there, I was glued to the screen.” –Ayse Muratoglu


  • “Being able to witness the passing of a bill so relevant to Land O’Lakes was an awesome coincidence.” –Diana Fu


  • “Having the opportunity to see firsthand the legislative process, especially on a bill that was so pertinent, really helped me see the importance of Land O’Lakes’ government relations work.” –Blake Schweiner


  • “The GMO bill is extremely influential when it comes to the future of agriculture and agricultural production. It was very cool to be a part of something that will affect the industry for generations to come.” –Leah Ellensohn


A national standard will allow consumers to access information about their food no matter where they purchase it. Being immersed in the excitement surrounding the passing of this bill, the Global Food Challenge team was able to play a part in this monumental moment for the agriculture and food industry. In the words of Land O’Lakes CEO, Chris Policinski, “When we come together, we present a strong, united voice that is difficult for lawmakers to ignore” and we saw proof of that during our week in Washington D.C.




About the Authors: Leah Ellensohn (Iowa State University), Diana Fu (Northwestern University), Sydney Gray (Purdue University), Ayse Muratoglu (The George Washington University) and Blake Schweiner (University of Minnesota) are five Land O’Lakes Emerging Leaders who are working hard to find new ways to feed the world using fewer resources. You can connect with all of them on Facebook!