When it comes to addressing issues related to hunger in developing nations, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences nutrition major Becky Dobosy is not sitting still. While she’s been at N.C. State, the junior has traveled near and far to grow her knowledge of nutrition and sustainable agriculture and to put it to work. Hear more in this audio slideshow, with photos by Becky Kirkland, N.C. State University Communications, and from Dobosy’s personal collection.
“Nutrition not only helps you become healthy, it also helps you learn. And people who can learn and who are not held back by hunger or diseases are able to do more for their community.
“My name is Becky Debosy, and I was born in Winston-Salem. I am a junior and I’m studying nutrition, and I have minors in agroecology and Spanish. I am really interested in international development as it relates to nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
“In high school I took a trip with my church to Nicaragua, and I got to do a lot of nutritional work with them and we lived in an orphanage for 10 days with the kids.
“And last summer I studied abroad in Guatemala and got more in depth with that. I was placed with a nonprofit called Mayan Families, who works in Panajachel, Guatemala, and they serve the indigenous Mayans. And their main focus is scholarships for preschools. I was working with their nutritional program. So I did work with mothers who could not breastfeed. We had a program for diabetics who had to use food-based practices to control their insulin levels. We had a club for ancianos – a seniors club; every Monday through Friday they get a lunch.
“It was my first experience with field work, hands-on nutrition in relation to the community. And I really loved that. I loved the experience.
“So I heard about Alternative Spring Break from some of the older Park Scholars who had been, and I was looking down at the list of trips and they all sounded great. But then this one to Rome, popped out. And I was like, Wow! I never pictured myself going to Rome, but I’m really interested in the world food prospects with all the agencies.
“This summer I was an intern with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. Each year CEFS has a group of interns, and they come from all over. Everyone has different interests, but we come together with a passion for sustainable agriculture. And we have a really multidisciplinary curriculum, with class twice a week from visiting professors from all over North Carolina. We also do farm work on the Small Farm Unit. We got to go on farm tours.
“Thursdays we got to do community engagement; specifically, we taught a Junior Master Gardeners program. We had school-age children come in. We just got to have the kids and teach them about different aspects of agriculture and healthy eating and cooking. And then we got to go out in the garden and really show them what we were learning.
“I think the main thing that stuck out to me with the CEFS internship was that sustainable agriculture isn’t something that’s normally integrated into a nutrition education, but for me with the international interest I have, you can’t take it out, because if you are working in a community that’s developing based on agriculture based you can’t improve nutrition, or even suggest things, without a knowledge of agriculture and involving agriculture. And If it’s not in a healthy way for the people and the environment it’s not going to last.
“The sustainable agriculture focus that I learned at CEFS is something I’m going to use in my career.
I know that the problem of hunger in the world is definitely bigger than what me or any other individual could do.
“But there are so many efforts out there right now, and I would like to be involved in at least one of the them in some way of making it more sustainable and more driven by people that I’m serving. I don’t know if I’m going to look at the world and see my impact, but I at least hope to leave my fingerprints in a community or two.”