Image: Addy Battel

Addy Battel of Cass City received a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by Bayer, and will serve as 4-H's national youth spokesperson for Agriculture. 

The National 4-H Council announced that Addy Battel, 16, will be recognized nationally for her leadership as co-founder of “Meeting the Need for Our Village”, a program designed to combat food insecurity in her community.

At 12-years-old Battel started the program with a team of fellow Huron County 4-H’ers after the city became a food desert when the community’s only grocery store closed.

Recognizing the need for higher quality foods, she secured grants and contributions from the community and began providing high-quality protein to local food pantries.

“When I found out that 17% of my community was food insecure, my passion really took off, there was a tangible need in my community, and there was something I could do about it. Since then, we’ve made a $54,000 impact through 10,000 pounds of meat, 1,368 gallons of milk and 92 dozen eggs," Battel said.

Her remarkable efforts to combat food insecurity started with a passion for agriculture. From the age of three, Battel was exposed to 4-H programming through Michigan State University Extension.

After putting forth the hard work to raise and show her first market goat, she knew she’d found something she loved to do and wanted to share with others.

Exposing youth with special needs to farm animals is especially important to Battel.

When her family adopted her two younger brothers, who both have autism, Battel quickly realized that exposure to animals sparked a change in them.

“For both of my brothers, animals are very powerful and almost therapeutic. One of my brothers struggles with behavioral episodes, and exposure to animals helps calm him,” Battel said. “Our family has access to the tools and resources to fight for my brothers’ medical needs, but we’re also able to provide them with the right help behaviorally with our animals.”

Battel credits teamwork as the backbone of the project.

While she is a confident, big-picture thinker, her teammate, Pearl, thinks through the details to make it happen. They’ve learned to work together through differences of opinion to create a truly outstanding program, where they encourage youth to donate to “Meating the Need” to provide high-quality protein to those in need. 

Battel will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H agriculture programming.

She will be officially recognized as the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Winner for Agriculture, sponsored by Bayer, at the 10th Annual 4-H Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 12th.

She is joined by three other 2019 Youth in Action Pillar Winners, Clyde Van Dyke of New York (STEM); Elisabeth Watkins of California (Healthy Living); and Mason McClintock of Georgia (Civic Engagement).  

The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by Bayer, began in 2010 to recognize 4-H’ers who have used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community.

Battel is only the second Michigan 4-H’er to be honored with this award.

“Addy’s accomplishments are proof that, when given the proper tools and knowledge, kids and teens have the power to make society a more accessible, welcoming and healthier place,” said Darren Wallis, Vice President of Communications at Bayer in North America. “What’s always been clear to us is that STEM is core to solving some of society’s most challenging problems, and Bayer is proud to partner with 4-H to recognize standout students like Addy and provide valuable education to youth nationwide.”

To learn more about 4-H Youth in Action and to view the other pillar winners from around the country, please visit: www.4-h.org/youthinaction.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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