Global food security: Engaging youth in taking action

Youth can be prepared to face the challenges of feeding a growing world population by attending two upcoming opportunities.

The time for the next generation to step up is now. Every night, almost 815 million people world-wide go to bed hungry; that’s one in every nine people who are food insecure. We need young people who are leaders, scientists, advocates, researchers and entrepreneurs willing to solve the challenges of feeding a growing world population.

Young people are uniquely equipped to address these complex issues because they are innovative, collaborative and bring positive energy. 4-H members participating in some of the following project areas (though not limited to only these) have developed expertise, skills and passion that position them ideally to undertake this role—animal and veterinary science, civic engagement, communications, community service, engineering, entrepreneurship, environmental science, global and cultural education, food and nutrition, leadership, plant science, and technology.

There are two upcoming opportunities that will inspire young people to learn more about and take action on issues related to global food security: Exploring Food Security Around the World and World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute.

Exploring Food Security Around the World

Exploring Food Security Around the World will be Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 8:45-10:45 a.m. on Michigan State University’s campus in 1279 Anthony Hall. This event will feature a number of MSU researchers who will share with participants their research related to global food security issues. This is an educational event intended to provide teens with a perspective of some of the many issues related to food security, and hopefully inspire them to participate in the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute. Interest in this topic may also lead teens to explore potential educational and career pursuits.

This event is taking place during MSU’s Ag and Natural Resources week, prior to the opening session of the Michigan FFA State Convention. The Exploring Food Security Around the World event is open to 4-H and FFA members, youth in grades 8-12 and the public. Register at Exploring Food Security Around the World.

World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute

World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2018. New this year, the event will be hosted in two Michigan locations—the MSU campus in East Lansing and the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham. This opportunity is open to any youth in 8-12 grades.

Registration for this event is due by April 1 at 2018 World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute and must include a copy of the youth’s research paper attached to their registration. A copy of the newly updated research paper instructions is available at World Food Prize website.

Youth participating in the May 2018 World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute will have the opportunity to research a country and a related food security issue, and then make recommendations of potential solutions to address the food security issues. Students participating in the program will present their paper to a roundtable that includes their peers as well as experts who work in various roles related to global food security.

In addition, participants at the Michigan Youth Institute will meet with a variety of MSU students and faculty to hear about work that is being done through research, extension and outreach at MSU to address global food security needs.

This event will also feature immersion experiences in East Lansing and Chatham, where students will be able to visit a research lab or farm. All participants completing the experience will be named Borlaug Scholars.

Being a Michigan Youth Institute Borlaug Scholar opens the door to many additional future opportunities for the youth. A select number of Michigan Youth Institute participants will be nominated to attend the Global World Food Prize in Iowa in October 2018. Participants will also gain eligibility to apply for Borlaug-Ruan International Internship for high school students, USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship and George Washington Carver Internship.

Questions about the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute program can be directed to Brian Wibby at or 906-315-2662, or Betty Jo Krosnicki at or 810-648-2515.

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