Sunday, October 27, 2013

2014 Student Teacher Emily Urban Travels to World Food Prize

Agriculture IS Sexy!

For most of us here in the United States, if we want to eat something, we: open up the refrigerator or the pantry, pick up the phone for delivery, stop at the local super market, or meet up with friends at a restaurant. The availability of food does not cross our minds and this luxury is a given in most of our lives. However, food insecurity is a major and rapidly growing issue around the world, as population, environmental, social and other pressures limit the availability for millions of people to obtain a dependable, nourishing, and safe food supply.

Penn State World Food Prize attendees from left to right: Veronica Pasi, Emily Urban, Sarah Eissler, Anh Tuyet Tran, and Abraham DeHart (missing) 
I, and four other Penn State students, had the opportunity this past week to spend three days in Des Moines, Iowa, attending the World Food Prize. After being granted a full scholarship to attend this conference, I was prepared to be inspired by the work being done around the world to improve food security issues. The World Food Prize is held annually to recognize top biotechnology achievements in the field and to conduct dialogue pertaining to the many different issues related to this area. With top industry correspondents and international guests, world leaders in the area of international agriculture gathered together in the remembrance of Norman Borlaug’s achievements in biotechnology and the impact that the Green Revolution had on the world, as it brought millions out of hunger, especially in Latin America. Guests and speakers at this year’s World Food Prize included Tony Blair, Howard Buffet, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of Iceland, and corporate CEO’s, including Brett Begemann from Monsanto.

Agriculture IS sexy

This was a major theme after Mpule Kwelagobe, CEO of MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development, stated this boldly in the opening session. Young people are losing interest in agriculture she argued, the subject that feeds the world! To me, this is how the importance of agricultural education comes into view. We as agricultural educators, whether in formal school or informal settings, are given the notable task of promoting agriculture and expanding agricultural literacy not only here in the US but also around the world.


The State Capitol Building of Iowa.
The inspiration and knowledge of opportunities that I gained from this experience will have a lasting impact on my professional development. As I am currently a senior in Agricultural Education and Extension with a minor in International Agriculture, I am looking into entering graduate school with plans of making a positive impact on global food insecurity issues, while also utilizing my agricultural education background. It was truly amazing how top professionals from around the world were simply sitting next to us during speaker sessions, and we all jumped on the opportunity to talk to as many people as possible. Many of us gained career ideas, job offers, and graduate school opportunities.

To check out more about this year’s World Food Prize, checkout #worldfoodprize and #agricultureissexy.

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Emily Urban
Student Guest Blogger
2014 Student Teacher 
Oley Valley High School

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