If you were to meet him, there would be no doubt in your mind that Timothy Prestby is a successful young man with a bright future ahead. And when talking about his accomplishments he credits his family and his hometown community of Pulaski for his success.
Prestby’s list of passions is almost as long as his list of extracurricular activities: sustainability, agriculture, healthy living, environmental vitality, healthy cooking, global culture and the Spanish language. And these passions were fostered by Prestby’s brother during a challenging and emotional time.
“My brother was fighting cancer,” recalls Prestby, “and was struggling to live a healthy life. Chemo ruined his taste and his energy. I wanted to do anything I could do to prolong the life of everyone in my family.”
And this is where the lifestyle turnaround began.
The commitment wasn’t easy. Prestby and his father were both overweight and this change was significant for the entire family. Through time and a lot of effort, the entire family started eating better and exercising more.
“I wanted to make a change in my life—live healthier and feel better about myself. I have my brother to thank for teaching me to make the most of life,” shared Prestby. “Life can change in an instant and our time on earth is precious.”
Prestby’s brother passed away two years ago, but the lessons learned will live on forever.
Today, Prestby hopes to turn those lessons into action. He is interested in taking the idea of sustainable food and matching healthy living practices with people.
This idea started when Prestby was taking AP Environmental Science last year as a senior at Pulaski High School. As he discovered the disconnect between the food industry and the consumer; sustainable agriculture became not only an interest, but a passion.
“Consumers should know where their food comes from, and we should be supporting local farms in this process,” shared Prestby. “Preparing your food, and not eating processed food, is also part of my interest. It all fits together.”
“I want to better the community and increase others’ well-being,” shared Prestby. From informing his fellow classmates to educating the community; reducing food waste and bringing hungry people healthy food—Prestby is looking to change the way people and food interact.
Now that he’s at UW-Madison, Prestby is involved with the Food Recovery Network where he and other students partner with dining halls to bring extra food to low-income housing families. For him, it’s a win-win. “It’s fighting hunger and fighting food waste at the same time,” he said.
This summer, Prestby hopes to study abroad in Nicaragua where he’ll spend time on both food and coffee farms learning how these small communities’ food systems and economies benefit their society. He’ll be able to tie in his Spanish speaking skills while visiting Nicaragua as well.
“These small communities promote sustainability and well-being for the community and I really want to explore that more.”
Everything Prestby has experienced and earned, he continues to credit others for their help in getting him here.
“I feel very gracious to everyone who has helped me along the way—support from my family, friends and the Pulaski community,” said Prestby. He praises the support he received from the Pulaski School System, countless local organizations and charities.
In particularly, he credits the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship. “I’m here because of their scholarship support,” shared Prestby. As a 2016 recipient of a scholarship that supports students interested in agriculture and community, Prestby receives $10,000 over four years for his education.
“Because of this, I have shaped my passion to enrich my community. I am so blessed to be part of this community. They turned a chaotic life into one that was manageable and enjoyable—not one daunted by cancer,” shared Prestby.
As for the future, Prestby sees himself partnering with other like-minded individuals to use their talents and passions to benefit small local communities.
Tim Prestby is a freshman at UW-Madison majoring in Horticulture. He is involved in the Horticulture Club, Food Recovery Network, Micentro (tutoring and mentoring of Hispanic high school students) and is a resident at UW-Madison’s residence for environmental sustainability where he helps share information and promote sustainability among students.