Land O’Lakes Scholar Anna Aukes connects food and health
Land O’Lakes Scholar Anna Aukes has fond childhood memories of selling her family’s produce at the farmer’s market in Blue Earth, Minnesota. “It was me, my sister, and my two neighbors,” she recalls. “We had our own little business.” Although she enjoyed helping grow the food she sold, agriculture wasn’t initially her career plan. “I wanted to be an artist, then I wanted to work for NASA, and by the end of high school, I was thinking engineering,” she says.
But food became a focus for Aukes two years ago, when she was studying at Mankato State University. Having contended with Lyme disease, she started changing her diet in an effort to combat the symptoms. “I was living at home and commuting. A big reason was my health. I was dealing with chronic fatigue and every couple of months would run fevers.” She now eats a strict organic diet and credits it with allowing her to be active and live on her own.
Aukes transferred to the University of Minnesota in 2016 after learning that it offered a plant science major with an emphasis on organic production. A Land O’ Lakes Scholar, she one day hopes to own an organic farm. “I want to be able to feed people good food and hopefully work with individuals with chronic illnesses and inform them that there are natural options that can lead to healing,” she says.