Q&A: Avery C. '20

Avery C. '20 represented California as the state delegate at the Global Youth Institute as part of The World Food Prize.

This fall, Avery C. '20 represented California as the state delegate at the Global Youth Institute (GYI) as part of The World Food Prize. At the Institute, she presented research at a roundtable discussion of experts, experienced immersion trips, and listened to speakers including Bill Gates and the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How did you become interested in global food security/food-related issues?

When I was younger, I had a dream of becoming a chef. However, with few opportunities for pre-teens to get involved in the culinary arts, I signed up for adult classes at Chef Eric's Culinary Classroom. Although I felt awkward being the only kid in the class at first, I loved the kitchen so much that I stayed and eventually became an intern. I learned more about organic produce and the supply chain of foods that I consume on a daily basis. I learned about the ethical issues surrounding the global food system and became a vegan.

I went on a service trip with a few Marlborough students to the L.A. Kitchen to volunteer and discovered the world of food justice. After this trip, I interned at the L.A. Kitchen and at another food justice organization called FEAST. With my internships under my belt, I decided to take a chance and apply for the Global Youth Institute, something that I wanted to do since freshman year but was too timid. 

What was your GYI presentation about?

Throughout the last century, Fiji has witnessed a dramatic foodway shift from a traditional coconut and tuber-based diet to a western-style diet. This increase in processed food and soft drink consumption has catalyzed an obesity epidemic leaving 32.1% of Fijian adults obese. In an attempt to rectify the situation, the Fijian government has implemented taxation-based strategies. However, this infringes on the constitutional rights of Fijian citizens and disadvantages Fijians who live in poverty. A more permanent and constitutional solution to Fiji's obesity epidemic would be to elevate the status of small farmers by amending the Agricultural Landlord & Tenant Act. If farmers had easier access to capital, the rates of obesity in Fiji would plummet as traditional dietary patterns would reemerge.

What was your favorite part of GYI?

Definitely meeting all the other participants! Getting to know kids who have the same interest from all around the world was amazing. I became particularly close with my roommate Claire, who wrote her paper about climate change in Norway and is a senior from North Carolina. 

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