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Crystal ’20 wins food prize

Avery Crystal ‘20 (bottom right) works with peers at the World Food Prize Foundation in Iowa.

Avery Crystal ‘20 represented California in the Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation in Iowa from Oct. 13-15. Crystal was one of 200 high school students from around the world recognized for their work on ameliorating global food insecurity. Avery was supervised by Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Regina Rosi Mitchell.

The World Food Prize, created by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, is often regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize for food.

Crystal has been heavily involved in causes relating to food security and global food justice since 9th Grade such as FEAST, an organization that focuses on health nutritional education and the L.A. Kitchen, an organization that recycles excess food from restaurants and businesses. These opportunities gave the real-world experience that ultimately led her to the World Food Prize.

Avery began collaborating with Rosi Mitchell in sophomore year when she enrolled in an Entrepreneurship course at Marlborough in which she first combined her passion for food justice with entrepreneurial thinking.

“We reconnected again last year when Avery brought up this really unique opportunity called The World Food Prize,” Rosi Mitchell said. “I told her if she needed someone from Marlborough to sponsor her I would be happy to do that.”

Applicants for the Global Youth Institute wrote five-page papers examining food security in specific countries. Crystal chose to write a report on how elevating the economic position of small farmers in Fiji would help solve their obesity epidemic. Crystal was first exposed to the topic in Marlborough’s Health and Wellness Class junior year, and she went on to conduct all her research on her own.

“I wrote a lot about how extending this act called the ‘Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act’ would give farmers access to more capital infrastructure and would help to dilute their dependence on western imported food,” Crystal said.

In July, Rosi Mitchell and Crystal received the news that Crystal had been selected as a California delegate and began to prepare for the symposium.

“Both Avery and I went into this opportunity thinking, ‘Let’s learn as much as possible,” Rosi Mitchell said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”

During the three-day conference, Crystal heard from global experts in their respective fields, and she presented her own findings to peers and to a panel of international experts.

“When I first got to Iowa it was kind of overwhelming because downtown Des Moines was covered with banners and posters about the World Food Prize. But, the event was so well run that everyone felt really comfortable together by the second day,” Crystal said. 

Crystal and Rosi Mitchell were moved by their experience and hope more students will apply to the Institute in the following years.

“We came back thinking how can we make this opportunity more available because it was really eye-opening,” Rosi Mitchell said. 

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