Spartans feeding the future

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The MSU Peace Corps Office is teaming up with USAID and Feed the Future Innovation Labs to host MSU, Peace Corps, USAID: How Spartans are Feeding the Future, which will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 115, International Center.

The event is part of USAID’s “Campus Food Security Tour,” which is connecting students interested in greater food security and sustainability to the Feed the Future initiative and Feed the Future Innovation Labs across the country. Attendees will learn about service in the Peace Corps and how it can be relevant to a career of making a difference in the developing world.

Feed the Future Innovation Labs draw on the expertise of top U.S. universities and research institutions in developing countries to collaboratively tackle the world’s greatest challenges in agriculture and food security. They are fighting problems such as climate change and poor infrastructure for food storage and distribution along with reduced crop yields, diseases and pests.

Two of such labs, the Legume Innovation Lab and the Food Security Policy Innovation Lab, are located at MSU. Innovation Labs are central to advancing science and research towards reducing hunger, poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. MSU is also the home for a related USAID project, the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI). Peace Corps volunteers often provide expertise for such efforts.

The event will bring together leaders in agriculture and international development who will participate in discussions, presentations and a sustainability fair featuring local organizations, campus groups and academic departments focused on food security and sustainability. The Peace Corps acting director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, will be one of the featured speakers.

Cynthia Donovan, MSU assistant professor in agricultural, food and resource economics and deputy director of MSU’s Legume Innovation Lab, will be an Innovation Lab presenter. Donovan served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 1981 to 1984, helping develop co-ops and train their managers in fund management and cash flow concepts for the benefit of small communities and cotton farmers.

“My time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay clarified how I could combine my interests in economics and international development into a meaningful career,” Donovan said. “As an agricultural economist at MSU, I have been able to focus on key issues in development, including agricultural production economics and market development for smallholder participation in sub-Saharan Africa.”

David Tschirley, MSU professor of international development, will talk about how the Food Security Policy Innovation Lab links to the efforts of the Peace Corps and Feed the Future and Ajit Srivastava, director of the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, will provide information on how GCFSI links students and professors to key development issues.

MSU ranks sixth among large universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers with more than 2,300 MSU Peace Corps alumni since 1961.

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