Global Food Security
A passion for food security led Morgan Schulz to explore the role she can play as a future educator. The University of Idaho junior participated in the year-long World Food Prize Global Orientation to Agricultural Learning (GOALS) program to gain insights and tools for her own classroom.
“As an educator, you actually have a really big role in global agriculture and food security because you’re educating the next generation,” said Schulz, an agricultural education student from Nampa. “It’s easy to think that only scientists or government officials can play a role in making the world a more food secure place, but as an educator, you’re teaching that next scientist or government official. That’s something I’ve thought a lot about throughout this entire experience.”
GOALS is a two-year, $280,000 project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to increase global citizenship in participants and high school students. The project is a partnership between U of I, Penn State University and the World Food Prize Foundation.
The program kicked off in October 2021 with participants from both universities attending the World Food Prize Foundation Borlaug Dialogues in Des Moines, Iowa. Along with attending the conference and learning about current food security issues, students also learned how to incorporate global agriculture curriculum into their classroom and how to plan a lesson on the topic.
Participants then worked in pairs over several months to develop a one-day lesson plan. The plans supplemented a four-day global agriculture curriculum developed by U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate student Oliva Murphy-Sweet in 2021.
Schulz and her partner, Celia Graef from Penn State, developed a lesson called Nutrition on our Plates focused on traditional meals from different countries and how they do or don’t meet nutritional guidelines. It was designed to show how culture, tradition and access to resources play a role in food security.
The program culminated with participants teaching Murphy-Sweet’s global agriculture curriculum and their own lesson plans at high schools across the country in March 2022. Schulz and fellow U of I students Kaelie Brown and Anthony Jefferies taught at Miami Jackson Senior High School in Miami, Florida. Alec Vineyard and Jordyn Bettencourt taught in Bardstown, Kentucky. The Penn State students taught in North Carolina, Montana, Tennessee and Idaho.
“It wasn’t my first time in the classroom or my first time working with students, but it was my first time teaching an entire week of lessons on my own so that was a really great experience,” Schulz said.
Miami was Schulz’ top choice because she wanted to experience something new.
“I knew I wanted to go to a more urban area,” she said. “Nampa isn’t particularly rural, but it’s more of an agricultural community and that’s what I’m used to, a very traditional agriculture setting. I wanted to choose somewhere more urban to learn more about how agriculture is incorporated into urban settings. I wanted to go to a school that was more diverse because that’s also something I haven’t really experienced.”
Schulz gained confidence in herself as an educator and the program provided her with skills to use in her future classroom.
“I think the best part was how much I learned throughout the whole experience,” she said. “I love to learn new things and I love new experiences and it was a great way to achieve that. I learned a lot about food security and global agriculture and how to teach in a classroom of demographics I’m not used to.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos provided by Kasee Smith and Morgan Schulz
Published in May 2022