Tom Philpott warns students about world efforts

Feb. 26, 2014

 

By Allyson Karnowski

 

Health, food and agricultural writer Tom Philpott spoke with students and locals on Feb. 17, at the Young Auditorium about the current state of the world’s farming and sustainability efforts.

The U.S. tries to use the land within the country to be sustainable, while at the same time they use the quickest way possible to receive maximum production, Philpott said.

“The irony is the United States encouraging subsidizing, while also encouraging self-sufficiency,” Philpott said.

He challenges farmers to stray away from the idea of being the most efficient farm to being the healthiest.

“Efficiency can only get us so far,” Philpott said. “Farmers are beginning to understand the importance of soil resiliency. With climate changes occurring now and continuing in the future, farming should adjust accordingly.”

Senior Cameron Barker, president of Students Allied for a Greener Earth, said the organization hopes to follow Philpott’s encouragement, seeing the sustainable farmer as a role model.

“We have the ability to make conscious decisions that can make a huge difference,” Barker said. “I would encourage students to buy locally grown, organic and sustainable produce, and if they aren’t sure, ask.”

Philpott also gave students his idea of three practical ways to become part of potential agricultural changes:

Choose to eat food only grown on organic farms in a sustainable process.

Be politically active. Philpott said more than 14 percent of households in the U.S. are “food insecure,” not knowing where their next meal will come from. He pointed to the government as a possible source of funding, to be able to provide for these 17 million families through agricultural. Voting is contributing in another way besides just consuming the right foods.

Consider careers in farming. With some research and a desire to help, the U.S. can become more self-sufficient with farming, anyone could change the future of agriculture.

Freshman Amanda Mack said she inspired to take action.

“The speaker encouraged me to evaluate what I put into my body,” Mack said. “I’d like to get involved on campus now, too.”

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