Two Eastside High School juniors represented Florida at the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation.
Abigail Eisenstadt and Amaleah Mirti, the only Florida students chosen to attend the event, traveled to Iowa in mid-October to join about 100 other students with a common goal of fighting world hunger.
“There your ideas were valued more than you would say like in a regular school setting because everyone there was looking to do the same type of thing and everyone there was very interested in it, so you kind of felt like you were part of a select few,” said Mirit, who has lived on an organic farm her whole life.
The students were chosen based on essays they wrote, which they later presented to experts at the event. Mirti wrote about Ethiopia and Eisenstadt wrote about Russia.
“I have no basis for any of this, and so I basically spent my whole entire summer looking up what’s on going on in the world, what’s with Russia,” Eisenstadt said. “I have a much wider world perspective now because the exposure you have to things at the World Food Prize conference is a little different than what you get on a day-to-day basis.”
Eisenstadt said hunger and conflict go hand-in-hand.
“I think that a lot of the driving force behind conflict in the world is caused by hungry people, and if you can take steps to eliminate a lot of that hunger, you have more rationality behind decisions,” she said.
Mirti said world hunger is not the result of a lack of food. She said world hunger comes from poor access and transportation, or insufficient money or technology.
“One of the things that they did say at the World Food Prize is that there is enough food to feed every single person in the world right now,” she said. “It’s just that the food isn’t exactly available to those people.”
Solutions to world hunger exist, including the implementation of rooftop farms in urban areas and the breeding of crops that can withstand climate changes, Mirit said.
Eisenstadt and Mirti said they plan to start a club and organize a hunger banquet at Eastside High School within the next year.
Emily Miller edited this story online.