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Potluck: Feeding the Future

From Van Horne, Iowa, to Kenya


Compiled by Carol Bodensteiner
and Mary Gottschalk

After his Benton Community High School graduation, Anthony Wenndt left Van Horne and spent a summer interviewing Kenyan farmers about harmful insects and productivity on their subsistence farms. He was one of 18 high school students awarded a Borlaug-Ruan Internship to work in an international research facility in 2011. The internship program is offered under the auspices of the Des Moines-based World Food Prize, which offers a variety of educational programs and internships intended to develop future leaders in the fight against food insecurity.

As a junior, Wenndt attended the Global Youth Institute, a three-day program in which some 100 exceptional high schoolers from across the U.S. are brought together during the World Food Prize Laureate Awards celebrations to discuss agricultural and food security issues with international experts from around the world. “The Institute was a life-changing experience,” Wenndt observes. “It was my first experience with real scientists and real scholars.” The World Food Prize selected him to spend the summer as a researcher for the USDA at the University of Minnesota.

Now a college student majoring in Russian and biology at Grinnell College, Wenndt plans to pursue a graduate degree in plant pathology. “Norman Borlaug was my idol,” he notes, “and I want to do whatever I can to make sure everyone has a sustainable life.” — M.G.

Learn more about Wenndt’s experience in Kenya through his blog at For information on the various youth programs associated with the World Food Prize, visit or call Lisa Fleming at 515-245-3783.

High school students can take part in the first annual Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University on April 30. Registration due April 1. Learn more.

Photo courtesy A.J. Wenndt

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