Lazarus Lynch is one 4-H'er who has a lot on his plate.
A student at New York City's Food and Finance High School, a Cornell partner school, Lynch is an aspiring chef, a food blogger and a global food security advocate. He recently became the first New York 4-H student to be selected as a New York finalist in the World Food Prize essay contest sponsored by the New York Youth Institute at Cornell.
As a finalist, he presented his work at the Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation as part of its annual international symposium in October in Des Moines, Iowa.
Also selected as finalists were Alyssa Pritts, a former 4-H'er and senior who attends Trumansburg High School; Ariana Shapiro, a senior at Ithaca High School; and Hannah Zhang, a sophomore at Cortland Junior Senior High School.
The students worked this past summer gathering research on this year's theme, Solutions for the World's Smallholders, and writing essays under the supervision of a teacher-mentor. At the World Food Prize Foundation's New York Youth Institute at Cornell Sept. 25, students came from around the state to present their findings and meet with Cornell researchers working on food security. The four were selected at that time to attend the Global Youth Institute with their teacher-mentors; expenses were covered by the foundation and Cornell.
Joining 200 high school students from around the world, they met with Nobel and World Food Prize laureates as well as more than 600 global leaders during the three-day event.
The experience was eye opening, Lynch wrote on his new food advocacy blog, "Keeping It Healthy With Lazarus Lynch"; it exposed him to "Issues relating to food insecurity and disadvantages to small shareholder farmers ... for the first time," he wrote. "It made me realize how uninformed people really were on where their food comes from, the lack of distribution of this food and the struggles encountered by those who produce it."
Pritts said that the opportunity to be in such proximity to world dignitaries, authors, business leaders and other distinguished members of the global food supply system was "life-changing."
"We saw the ministers of agriculture from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States discuss issues their countries are facing both individually and with each other," Pritts said. "We heard Kofi Annan speak, as well as the administrator of USAID, Rajiv Shah, the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others. My favorite part was just being able to take in everything they were discussing, and to learn so much more about food insecurity."
Colin McClung, M.S. '49, Ph.D. '50, World Food Prize laureate, founded the New York Youth Institute in 2009 in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' (CALS) International Programs Office. Conceived by Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, a former A.D. White Professor-at-Large (1982-88), the World Food Prize is the foremost international award given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the improvement of quality, quantity and/or availability of food in the world. CALS-affiliated winners include McClung; Per Pinstrup-Andersen, the H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy; Pedro Sanchez '62, M.S. '64, Ph.D. '68; and John Niederhauser, Ph.D. '43. In addition, the first laureate in 1987, natural ecologist M.S. Swaminathan, was an A.D. White Professor-at-Large.
Molly Cronin '11 is a student intern with CALS Communications.