Speaker credits 4-H for award-winning delivery technique

Lois Schultz suggested using well-known public figures to join the campaign against global food waste

Lois Schultz wants people to focus more on feeding the hungry rather than obsessing about food choices in the grocery store.

She made food waste, its global impact and creating change the topic for her winning speech in the senior event at the 2017 Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition in Toronto this month.

Schultz launched her speech by reporting that one-third of food produced globally is wasted.

“It’s a bit of a shocker. I want to get people to pay attention.”

In France, supermarkets are not allowed to throw out waste food, she said, noting that unspoiled or excess products can then be donated to soup kitchens and food banks.

She suggested using influential well-known and respected figures such as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield to share the food waste message and help create change.

“If he said we really needed to work on this, people would listen,” she said.

Schultz is troubled by good food going to waste because of misconceptions.

“Just because it’s not organic or genetically modified free doesn’t make it bad,” she said.

“It hurts me to see consumers being really picky about food when so many people don’t have any.”

She credits 4-H for her winning speech techniques, including an opening “shocker” statement, an introduction and addressing key points before wrapping it all up within the seven minute time limit.

“Instead of ranting on these few points, if you can start it up and draw it to a close, people will take home those three points and remember them. That’s my success,” she said.

Schultz, who participated in the Coal Lake 4-H Light Horse Club, now belongs to the Rosebrier Beef Club near Wetaskiwin, Alta.

In an interview, Schultz offered irradiation as one technology that could extend the shelf life of food and make food resistant to mould, E. coli and salmonella.

“They’d be safe and usable even if people wouldn’t buy them at the store,” she said.

Schultz, who is also Alberta 4-H’s current public speaking champion, competed against 14 others during the competition held during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Schultz was homeschooled since Grade 2 and is currently completing high school online. She hopes to attend university and work in agribusiness marketing.

Rosemund Ragetli of the Headingly 4-H Club in Manitoba was named the junior champion.

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