Shane Stevenson, an agriculture educator in Meridian, Idaho, is on a mission to bring global awareness to his students and his community. He teaches at Meridian High School, a magnet school fed by five high schools. With a population of 1,600 students, the school has two full-time agriculture educators.
Stevenson has been sending students to the World Food Prize Foundation’s Global Youth Institute for several years. Each year, more than 100 high school students from around the world are selected to participate in the three-day institute and discuss food security and agricultural issues. During the event, students interact with more than 1,000 researchers and other global leaders in agriculture.
“My mom bought a book in the summer of 2012, The Man Who Fed the World – I read it and was captivated and blown away. I then had an inner drive to share this with my students and let their creativity and innovations be a part of the solution,” Stevenson said.
After reading the book, he learned that the American Farm Bureau offers curriculum that goes with the book.
To be eligible to attend the institute, students have to write an essay about how to improve food security. Once they attend their first year, they are eligible for internships and other international opportunities. Stevenson has taken three students to the institute and each has walked away with a better understanding of their role in the solution.
“There is a lot of relevance in the program to our urban students; many are interested in research and see their ability to be part of the solution to feeding the world,” he said.
This year Stevenson has three classes that went through The Man Who Fed the World curriculum and will participate in the essay contest.
“The book and this type of global awareness shows them that no matter their interest—economics, social sciences, business, etc.—an understanding of agriculture can be partnered with their unique interest to make a difference in the hunger challenge,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson and his students are captivating their community with their efforts. Check out this article in the Capital Press newspaper highlighting their participation at the institute. For more on World Food Prize youth programs, visit here.