A passion for travel and agri-food has led Jeremy Stroud to travel to over 37 countries on five continents so far in his life.
“Relating with individuals who stem from entirely different backgrounds, immersing myself with new social constructs, and taking in the vivid beauty of unfamiliar environments are among my favourite recollections from travelling,” says the International Food Business student. “I have learned so much through these experiences. In my opinion, partaking on a true adventure transcends anything taught in a book or classroom.”
His latest adventure is taking place a bit closer to home, but extends from one of his recent journeys abroad. Students in Dal’s International Food Business (IFB) program have the opportunity to spend their second year of study at Aeres University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. They graduate with two degrees: a Bachelor of Business Administration from Aeres University and a Bachelor of Agriculture in International Food Business from Dalhousie.
“I had the chance to work in the coffee industry last year in the Netherlands as my European internship,” Jeremy explains. “The first thing I learned is that the coffee bean we all know is not a bean at all; it is actually the seed of a fruit. The fruit around the coffee bean is known as ‘cascara’ and is often discarded by farmers as a perceived waste material.”
Building entrepreneurship skills
Returning to Truro, he got involved with Cultiv8, the Ag Campus “sandbox” that offers collaborative workspace where students are given the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship through programs, mentoring, and workshops. It also hosts competitions that put students’ entrepreneurship skills to the test.
Jeremy has competed in four Cultiv8 competitions thus far in his studies, placing in the top three each time and obtaining two first-place prizes. His most recent victory, on March 28, was in partnership with fellow student Rebekah Bailey for their business, Cascara Ventures. The company is working to develop an iced tea beverage using cascara and other natural ingredients such as honey and lemon.
“Cascara is a far healthier alternative to most packaged beverage products on the market, and the feedback we have received from customers and stakeholders alike has been promising,” says Jeremy. “I hope to research certain nutritional and reactive properties of Cascara over the course of my fourth year at Dal before attempting to commercialize.
“Cultiv8 has been an amazing program for me,” he adds, “allowing me to extend my education and to network.”
A life-long love of food and business
Jeremy’s interest in agri-food stems back to his childhood. His mother, a teacher and nutritionist, introduced the family to whole foods, balanced nutrition and the importance of sustainability. Jeremy maintained his interest in the production of food throughout high school and in 2013, he decided to write his cumulative year-end project on food systems and the major players involved in making, moving and marketing what we eat.
“I remember finding it amazing that food would just show up in our grocery stores packaged and ready to be eaten by us city-folk,” he says. “As I recall, most of my friends in high school wanted to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a banker. It took many peers and teachers by surprise when I told them that I was interested in pursuing this field.”
He knew he wanted to combine academics with international experiences, which drew him to Truro, Dalhousie and the IFB program. Yet even with spending time abroad, he’s deeply invested in student life — so much so that he was recently elected president of the Dalhousie Agricultural Students Association (DASA) for the upcoming year.
“Working with DASA has been remarkable; I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this team,” he says. “As president of the students’ association this coming year, one of my objectives is to enhance faculty-student relationships with a multitude of events and activities. I also look forward to supporting and further integrating our growing international student population.”
Set to finish his degrees in May 2018, Jeremy expects to continue his travels after graduation.
“I would relish the opportunity to work internationally in emerging markets and new frontiers,” he says. “My background is oriented towards finance, investments and entrepreneurship and right now I feel drawn to a career in those areas."
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