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Meet the young graduates of FoodSee University

Cargill offers kids an interactive way to learn about animal nutrition

August 17, 2016

For Cargill, community engagement means listening to the needs of our communities and giving our time, skills and voice to help them thrive. But how do we practice strategic community engagement and create an impact that benefits both our business interests and the needs of our community?

Cargill Premix & Nutrition in The Netherlands developed a community project that does just that. By looking at the business’s goals, identifying needs in the community and scanning for issues key to the business, the team brainstormed initiatives that could bring all those pieces together.

inpage-foodsee-universityStudents participate in fun activities as part of FoodSee University at Cargill’s Global Animal Nutrition Innovation Center in Velddriel, The Netherlands. Among the list of ideas they generated, the topic of animal welfare grabbed their attention. There was a lack of public awareness on the topic, and a limited understanding of the role of feed in raising livestock. It was an issue consumers wanted to know more about, and one of paramount importance to the business. It was something that Cargill Premix &
Nutrition employees could rally their passion and expertise around.

And so, FoodSee University was born.

FoodSee University is Cargill Premix & Nutrition’s very own interactive educational program for school children to learn about agriculture and the food industry. The program provides students with the opportunity to learn first-hand how livestock is raised, the importance of animal nutrition and good farming practices. It all happens as part of a day-long field trip to the Global Cargill Animal Nutrition Innovation Center in Velddriel, The Netherlands.

On an average visit as part of FoodSee University, the Center in Velddriel welcomes up to 40 students, aged 10-12 years old. When students arrive, they are greeted by “Professor FoodSee,” the students’ interactive and friendly guide through the experience. The students are also equipped with a tool box of materials including a map, work sheets and cool gadgets to help them throughout the day.

The students are then split into three groups – chickens, pigs and cows – and a Cargill technical expert from the Innovation Center is assigned to each group to run the session using the materials in their tool boxes. For example, students will be asked how much grass a cow eats during the day. Then they will go out in the field and see first-hand how much grass there is in order to put it in perspective.

After a day of learning, being outside and using their gadgets, the students return to the classroom and create a presentation about what they’ve learned.

The students have loved it. “It was really nice to see how commercial animals live!” exclaimed one student after visiting the on-site farm part of the Innovation Center’s facilities.

Another student noted how much they enjoyed presenting their key findings to their parents at home.

“I love hearing students say, ‘It’s such a great job, to help people and animals. I want to do that too,’” said Gonny Oudjik, commercial manager B2B distribution, Cargill Premix & Nutrition West Europe.

Cargill Premix & Nutrition employees are proud to be engaged too. They’ve loved having the opportunity to share their expertise with the students and have relished the opportunity to get into their creative element by finding fun and imaginative ways to deliver knowledge in an interactive way.

It keeps them on their toes. And it keeps the business fresh and energized, as Cargill Premix & Nutrition employees inspire – and get inspired by – the next generation of animal nutrition ambassadors.