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Abby Adair and Sydney Gray

Abby Adair and Sydney Gray

With the world population expected to surge from 7 billion to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, food production must grow by 70 percent to meet the demands of global hunger. That’s no simple feat, but Krannert undergraduates Abby Adair and Sydney Gray are searching for possible solutions through the Land ’O Lakes Global Food Challenge.

Actively engaged in agriculture and sustainability, Abby and Sydney were among 10 students from five different universities who spent 11 weeks last summer at key Land ‘O Lakes locations, Washington D.C., and Africa on a paid fellowship as 2016 Emerging Leaders for Food Security.

Abby, now a junior majoring in management, feels a personal responsibility to care for the planet and its citizens. She has been inspired to improve access to nutritious food by her work in food shelters and by the experiences of family members who teach in low-income communities.

“When I think of the Global Food Challenge, two things really come to mind: sustainability and nutrition,” Abby says. “We're running out of land to produce the nutrition that we need, so my idea is using cricket flour as a protein alternative.

“I was excited to learn from all the different people I met. Our team was a very diverse group, and while I may not come from an agriculture background, I do have a place in food security.”

Sydney also is a junior at the Krannert School, where she studies accounting and finance with a concentration in international business. Drawing on her international travels and academic background, she hopes to bring valuable strategic solutions to today’s agricultural challenges.

“When I began this journey, I felt a little unprepared because of my lack of knowledge in the agriculture industry,” Sydney says. “Many people think that the issue of food security can only be addressed by agriculturally sound minds, but I’ve learned that it’s necessary to address such a complex challenge with multiple perspectives, knowledge bases and ideas.  

“I eventually settled on the topic of access to credit for smallholder farmers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, because it allows them to finance the purchases of land, assets, technologies and other necessities needed to increase their production. Addressing the global food challenge from a slightly different angle was exciting and I was thrilled by the thoughts and opinions my peers contributed.”

To learn more about the Global Food Challenge and Abby and Sydney’s contributions to the initiative, visit