By Anahi Ruiz
George Washington University/Storyfest 2015 winner
This time one year ago I was taking Sustainability Reporting and assigned a project on urban agriculture. My partner, Lauren Pollack, and I told the story of Meredith Sheperd, the founder of a small business committed to helping city dwellers grow and maintain gardens. Six months ago our story became a golden ticket to Rome, where I had the chance to speak with UN and FAO officials about the power of storytelling.
I left Rome hopeful and empowered. Policymakers are beginning to discuss spaces for young people from different disciplines to share their thoughts on solutions. Creating a platform for fresh ideas that promote interdisciplinary solutions is a step forward. One thing these stories will need is to simply be told — and that will be up to media-makers. While journalists may not be the face of a new invention or policy, it is the journalists who share that change with the world. So if you are a journalist, I hope you realize your potential, and if you are following the path to become a doctor or something else, I hope this encourages you to document the change you make and share it.
Seeing is believing, and that is the power of storytelling. There is so much potential in this field, of saving the world, so to speak. The UN-FAO Planet Forward Storyfest contest feeds into that potential. This year was the stepping-stone to more, for many others to show their work, participate and speak. I hope this academic partnership reaches that potential and for those who wish it does, say something, prove why it should by continuing to share your story.
(Image at top: A shot of the projection screen at the UN-FAO Committee on World Food Security side event, "Enabling innovation: Cultivating young talent to drive sustainable agri-food systems by 2030." Source: Planet Forward)