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4 surprising careers that contribute to food security



Globally, we’ll need to feed nine billion people by the year 2050. To maintain their role as world leaders in food production, American farmers will require the support of the entire agricultural industry. The theme of this year’s National Ag Day, which falls on March 24, 2020, is Food brings everyone to the table. In honor of this event, here are four careers you didn’t know are crucial to farming and food security.

Data scientist
Farmers have always relied on data to help manage their operations, but the advent of precision farming, aided by digital technologies, has allowed this data to be more precise than ever. Importantly, this information can now be analyzed by data scientists to enable more efficient crop management, making them a crucial part of the industry.

Global food security depends in no small part on international organizations that provide material and logistical support to producers around the world. In turn, these organizations rely on the help of lawyers to ensure that their operations function smoothly throughout the various jurisdictions they operate in. Furthermore, farming cooperatives, which form the backbone of agricultural industries in many regions, need legal support to ensure their members can operate.

Scientists of all kinds are indispensable to tackling the challenges of global food production. Dwindling resources combined with a mounting demand for food will require a variety of experts. Plant geneticists are needed to develop nutritious crops that require fewer resources to thrive, and hydrologists are essential to helping farmers and governments develop better water conservation policies.

Technology specialists
To ensure a food secure tomorrow, precision agriculture (farming that relies on site-specific data to produce more food at a fraction of the cost) is key. Technology specialists, including drone pilots and programmers, will therefore be needed to run, develop and improve upon crop management technologies.

Global food security is one of the biggest challenges the world will face in the coming decades. When it comes to ensuring our future, everyone has a role to play.

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Know your yogurt



Yogurt is a popular food, but did you know it also has many health benefits? It’s rich in nutrients and proteins, helps maintain digestive health and can even enhance your immune system. To celebrate National Dairy Month, which occurs every June, here’s what you should know about common types of yogurt.

Traditional yogurt
If you crave a smooth, creamy treat, then traditional yogurt is for you. It’s by far the most well-known and widely available type of yogurt. It can be made with whole or skim milk and is a healthy snack that people of all ages can enjoy.

Greek yogurt

This popular type of yogurt has twice as much protein as traditional yogurt. It also has a much firmer texture, which is obtained by straining the yogurt before packaging it. Generally speaking, Greek yo¬gurt has less sugar and fewer carbohydrates than traditional yogurt. It’s both a tasty snack and a versatile cooking ingredient.

Icelandic yogurt
Also known as skyr, Icelandic yogurt is high in protein and thicker than Greek yogurt, although it’s smoother in texture. It’s very low in fat and contains a lot of calcium, making it a healthy snack as well as a smart addition to your morning smoothies.

If you’re particularly interested in the probiotic benefits of yogurt, then kefir is for you. This naturally carbonated and fermented yogurt drink is high in protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamin D. Thanks to its long fermentation process, it provides a range of beneficial bacteria, which can help improve your gut health.

Yogurt is tasty food, and there are many ways to enjoy it.

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Blueberry cheesecake lemon bars



This decadent dessert combines the tang of blueberry and lemon with the creamy texture of cheesecake. It’s sure to be a showstopper.

Start to finish: 2.5 hours (30 minutes active)
Servings: 24 bars


• 1-1/3 cups flour
• 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar

Lemon layer
• 3 eggs
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Cheesecake layer
• 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

• 1 cup flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

2. To make the crust, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them by hand until you’ve achieved a crumbly texture. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and press it along the bottom using a spatula to make an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

3. To make the lemon layer, combine the eggs and sugar in another bowl. Add the flour and mix well. Add the lemon juice and zest and incorporate it well. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes.

4. To make the cheesecake layer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a third bowl until well combined. Add the egg and beat again. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Fold in the blueberries and set aside.

5. To make the crumble, combine all the ingredients in a fourth bowl and mix them until the crumble has the texture of wet sand.

6. Pour the cheesecake layer over the lemon layer and spread it out carefully with a spatula. Sprinkle the crumble over the cheesecake layer, making sure to cover it completely.

7. Bake for 60 minutes or until the cheesecake is firm. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Breakfast: the best way to start your day



You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but have you ever wondered why? Here are some benefits provided by eating a healthy breakfast.

Restore your energy
The time between dinner and breakfast tends to be the longest period that your body goes without fuel. Eating in the morning will help revive your brain and muscles and give you the push you need to go about your day. If you don’t eat breakfast, your body will draw on its energy reserves instead, which can increase your level of fatigue.

Improve your performance
Eating breakfast has a direct impact on your cognitive and physical performance throughout the day. Numerous studies from around the world indicate that eating a healthy breakfast improves academic performance and enhances hand-eye coordination.

Maintain your weight
Skipping breakfast makes it more likely that you’ll snack during the day and may consequently increase your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Plus, studies show that people who start the day with a healthy breakfast have an easier time losing weight and are less likely to be overweight in the first place.

Eating breakfast should be a daily habit. In addition to restoring your energy, improving your performance, and maintaining your weight, it makes it more likely that you’ll make healthy choices throughout the day.

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A guide to picking berries



At this time of year, berries are abundant at grocery stores, markets, and farms. Here are some tips to help you pick the best ones in the bunch.

The skin of a perfectly ripe blueberry is dark blue or purple with no traces of red. The fruit should be firm and round without looking dried out. Large blueberries may be more attractive, but the smaller ones tend to have more flavor.

If you pick your own blueberries, place a bucket or container under the branch, and gently loosen the berries one by one with your fingers.

A fresh, ripe strawberry has a uniformly red hue, bright green leaves, and pale seeds. The fruit should be firm, so avoid ones that look wet or bruised.

To pick strawberries from a patch, cup the fruit in the palm of your hand and break the stem with the nails of your thumb and index finger.

A perfectly ripe raspberry should be bright red. It’ll be plump and feel almost velvety. If you purchase this fruit in a container, make sure the delicate berries at the bottom aren’t squished.

Ripe raspberries easily come off the plant when plucked. Look for the reddest fruit, hold it between your fingers and gently tug. Watch out for thorns on the branches.

A blackberry is ready to eat when it’s dark, glossy, and plump with no signs of red. Like raspberries, this fruit is delicate so check to see if all the berries in your container are intact.

You can pick blackberries the same way you do raspberries, just make sure to choose ones that have already started to soften.

Once you bring your berries home, you can enjoy them right away or set them aside for your favorite recipe.

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Summer salad with grilled halloumi



This brightly colored salad with crispy halloumi cheese is light enough for summer but will certainly satisfy your hunger.

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


• 10 ounces arugula
• 1 fennel bulb
• 1 pomegranate
• 2 oranges
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
• Salt and pepper
• 14 ounces halloumi cheese
• Sprigs of fresh dill, to garnish

1. Preheat one side of the grill on high heat.

2. Divide the arugula onto four plates or in shallow bowls.

3. Cut the fennel bulb in half and slice thinly. Divide the slices between the four dishes.

4. Cut the pomegranate into four wedges and loosen the fruit with your fingers. Divide it between the four dishes.

5. Supreme the oranges and divide them between the four dishes.

6. Over a small bowl, use your hands to squeeze the juice out of the leftover orange peels. Add the olive oil, mustard, and maple syrup or honey. Whisk together until well emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and set the dressing aside.

7. Cut the cheese into slices that are half an inch thick. Oil the grill rack on the side of the barbecue that isn’t lit. Put the halloumi slices on the oiled grill and cook for about one minute on each side. Divide the cheese between the four dishes.

8. Drizzle each dish with one-quarter of the dressing and garnish with fresh dill.

How to supreme an orange
Trim the top and bottom of the orange to create two flat edges. Then, rest the fruit on one end and cut off the peel, making sure to remove the white pith. Put the orange on its side and cut along the edge of each membrane to the core, releasing perfect wedges.

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Granola and berry parfait



This dish is wholesome, delicious, and easy to prepare. Serve it at a festive breakfast with family and friends or any time you’d like to indulge in a decadent morning meal.

Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
Servings: 6

• 4 cups rolled oats
• 1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup grated coconut
• 17 ounces frozen mixed berries
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 23 ounces plain Greek yogurt
• A few fresh raspberries
• A few fresh mint leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, poppy seeds, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In another bowl, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well to incorporate.

4. Pour the mixture on the prepared pan and press using a spatula to ensure an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes.

5. Add the coconut and stir well. Press down again with a spatula and bake for another 12 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

6. While the granola is cooling, combine the frozen berries and sugar in a small pot. Cook over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the berries have mostly broken down. Using a hand blender, puree the mixture until smooth.

7. Once the granola has cooled completely, break it up into chunks with your hands or use a wooden spoon.

8. Using six small drinking glasses, pour about half a cup of yogurt into each. Add 1/4 cup of the berry puree, followed by 1/4 cup of yogurt. Top each glass with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the granola and garnish with a few raspberries and mint leaves.

This recipe can easily be made vegan or gluten-free by using vegan yogurt and certified gluten-free oats.

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