AFA Food Institute solidifies AGEC student’s interest in the food industry

Christina Crawford (Junior; Agribusiness Marketing; Boerne, TX) chose to attend the AFA Food Institute because she was excited about the opportunity of a weekend focused on the food industry while being surrounded by other students who are passionate about the same thing as her. 

Christina’s group toured Hormel, OSI group and US Foods. “It was such an insightful experience to participate in these industry tours; not only did we get to see what was done in these plants, but we also got to interact with workers in many different positions - from quality assurance to engineering - and gain exposure to the many job opportunities within the food industry.” 

Hormel was her favorite location they visited because Hormel did a great job of showing the group their entire process from what the meat looks like when it arrives from suppliers to how they carry out the packaging for distribution. Hormel representatives concluded the tour by offering a more personal question and answer session. There, students were able to sample some of their products and discuss areas of the business with various professionals from that location. 

The presentation titled “Food Waste from Farm to Table,” given by a dietitian was the one that stood out the most to Christina throughout the weekend. “It was interesting to hear a dietitian's perspective on food waste and how she encourages her patients to repurpose leftovers.” The most intriguing part of this session for Christina was the aspect of language the dietitian used. The professional discussed how conversations about food are so important and encouraged the attendees to pay attention to the words they are using. Christina’s major takeaway from this was that many conversations about food call for terms to be defined, as some may consider things such as “food waste” to have different meanings. She goes on to say that connotations also play an important role in food discussion. An example the dietitian gave was using the words protein alternatives vs protein choices. “This little linguistic insight was not something I anticipated learning at the institute but such a beneficial supplement to my knowledge of food and agribusiness.”

Christina would encourage others to attend an AFA event as she particularly enjoyed the networking events and talking with like-minded students and professionals. “This experience gave me the opportunity to apply what I have already learned at Purdue while also gaining outside knowledge to bring back to class.” Beyond the social and educational benefits, Christina felt that attending the AFA Food Institute solidified her interest in the food industry and made her feel confident and excited about future job opportunities.

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