Lumsden, Sask. student inspired to help feed the world at Global Youth Institute – Saskatchewan

From growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan to sitting on a floor in Iowa, eating just a handful of rice and thinking about how to tackle world hunger, Brett Rumpel has already gotten a jump start on her appetite to feed the world.

“I want to be in the agricultural industry, I want to be feeding people,” she said. “That’s just one thing I really want to do in my life.”

Ahead of CBC Saskatchewan’s annual Comfort and Joy campaign, which aims to help families in need this holiday season, the high school student from Lumsden, Sask., spoke to The Morning Edition about her experience as one of four Canadian students who was chosen to attend the Global Youth Institute in Iowa this past October.

The institute “provides students and their teachers with opportunities to connect with other students and teachers from around the world, tour cutting-edge industrial and research facilities, and take part in symposium discussions with global leaders in science, industry and policy,” according to the Province of Saskatchewan’s website.

Rumpel explains she’s always been interested in food security — growing up on a farm, it was an issue that surrounded her on an everyday basis.

Fixing food problems

When she heard about the event, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation, it piqued her interest. For her application to attend, she wrote a research essay focused on how to prevent the problem of yield plateaus — the point in production where a grower can not produce any more of a crop.

“That’s a big issue, because many people, they thrive off of rice, and so if you have a standpoint where [production] doesn’t move at all, then with the growing population, you have less food for each generation,” she explained.

Worldwide hunger and access to food were among the topics tackled at the Global Youth Institute, which brought together students like Lumsden’s Brett Rumpel to meet with international experts and world leaders. (Gabriela Klimes/CBC)

Along with hearing from international experts on food security issues and watching the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony, she also pointed to taking part in a “hunger banquet” as one of the experiences that stood out to her at the Global Youth Institute.

Lack of proper nutrition ‘shocking’

Everybody attending the banquet was randomly assigned to be part of either a third, second or first class — which meant the difference between sitting on the floor, on chairs, or at a fancy dining table,…

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