Q&A with Rachel AndersonShare
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up as the oldest of four kids in a very rural area just south of La Crosse, Wisconsin–an area that’s home to a good portion of the dairy industry in Wisconsin. I wanted to step outside my small town, so I decided to attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where I currently study Mechanical Engineering. Music and art are a passion of mine, so I sit down with a crochet hook, pencil, or guitar any chance I get. One fun fact many people might not know about me is that I shaved my head in the winter of 2016 after dealing with Alopecia Areata for seven years. It was a super uplifting and freeing experience!
What inspired you to apply for the Global Food Challenge?
Engineering wasn’t going to cut it for me if I didn’t find a way to help people through it. When I learned about the opportunity to work for a company that was already working around the world to solve current and future issues in agriculture, I felt compelled to be a part of this mission.
I had previously been interested in vertical farming and hydroponic technologies, so an internship with Land O’Lakes felt like a perfect fit.
What’s surprised you most about agriculture, Land O’Lakes and the Global Food Challenge?
Land O’Lakes has a huge influence in Wisconsin, so I knew it was more than just a “butter company.” But, I had no idea of their work in cutting edge technologies through their WinField United business. I’ve already broadened my perspective of agriculture beyond the small family farms I see in my community.
What do your friends think about this opportunity?
My friends are the kind of people who want to make an impact in some way on the world, but I don’t think they ever thought of agriculture as an avenue to do so. After hearing about my experience in this internship, I think they’ve gained a new respect for the agriculture industry and will learn ways to get involved themselves.
What ideas do you have for encouraging your peers to get involved?
There are so many careers in agriculture. I would encourage young people to take a moment to consider how their personal aspiration could fit. Our future is dependent on the bright and innovative minds of people working toward finding a more sustainable way of living.
I hope that through our work this year, our peers will become more conscious of the energy and resources that go into the food on their plates.
What do you hope to accomplish as an Emerging Leader?
At a minimum, I hope to spread awareness about the issue of food insecurity. But my biggest goal is to develop a solid plan that addresses solving a challenge related to food security that can be carried out by Land O’Lakes and expanded on by future Emerging Leaders.