Ten NOVA students spent their Saturday learning about food sustainability at the 2018 Future of Food and Soil conference in Washington, DC. The students attended the conference on March 24 as part of the Alexandria Campus’ student environmental club, the Green Club. Our Task, a DC non-profit group, organized the conference — filled with lectures, workshops and delicious organic vegetarian food.
Our modern food systems suffer from agricultural processes that damage the environment, uneven distribution of food resources and rampant food waste. In order to feed the projected 9.8 billion people who will live on this planet by 2050, we need to drastically alter our current methods of growing, distributing and consuming food. This conference aimed to educate and inspire young people to make positive changes in their food habits.
Students heard from scientists, farmers and entrepreneurs about how to make our local and global food systems sustainable for future generations. Speakers included Kelly Hodgins, program coordinator for the Feeding 9 Billion program at the University of Geulph in Canada. She led a workshop to help participants map out their local food system and understand where change is needed and how to achieve it. Ben Friton, a soil ecologist and speech professional, gave the keynote address about how forested gardens can lead us to sustainable agricultural practices. A local organic dairy farmer and her daughter spoke with the group about moving out of the suburbs to start a dairy farm, which allows their family to live in close connection to the environment. Local entrepreneurs from Love&Carrots, Ecocaterers, Glen’s Garden Market, Hungry Harvest, and Compost Cab led a panel discussion on the challenges and successes of running a business while working towards food sustainability.
Green Club attendees will share what they learned at the conference with the rest of the club at their next meeting.