Recipes for Food Security

Illustration of broccoli next to text that reads "Recipes for Food Security FAO Summer Storytelling Fellows"

Our 2021 FAO Summer Storytelling Fellows were tasked with producing stories at the nexus of food security, agriculture, and nutrition.

The students were mentored by Lisa Palmer, GW’s National Geographic Professor of Science Communication and author of “Hot, Hungry Planet.” The North America office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which like Planet Forward has a focus on engaging the next generation of leaders for our planet, sponsored these students’ amazing work.

From diverse backgrounds and locations, our Fellows produced a wide range of pieces, which covered: The barriers of entry to agriculture for aspiring young farmers — and the creative ways some are transcending these barriers to feed communities; a look at solutions to environmentally harmful industrial agricultural practices — and how more sustainable practices can scale; how cities worked to get food in the hands of those who most needed it during the pandemic — and what happens next; and restoration of Indigenous agricultural and aquaculture practices in Hawaii — and the important role storytelling plays in these practices.

The 2021 Fellows are:

Sejal Govindarao, who is a sophomore studying Political Communication at George Washington University. 

Terrius Harris, who is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Master's of Legal Studies for Indigenous Peoples Law. He also is a previous Storyfest winner, a past Senior Planet Forward Correspondent, and previously traveled with Planet Forward to the Committee on World Food Security Conference in 2018. 

Jules Struck, who is a recent graduate from Emerson College who received a Master’s degree in Journalism.

Benjamin Thomas, who is a senior studying Environmental Studies at Franklin & Marshall College.

Please check out their work below!

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Hub Content

In 2015, in collaboration with Indigenous leaders and Indigenous youth, FAO identified 6 pillars of work and 2 focus areas—Indigenous women and Indigenous youth—as part of FAO’s goal of freeing the world of hunger and malnutrition (Photo courtesy of UN Women/Ryan Brown https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | University of Oklahoma
Indigenous Peoples’ communities' challenges and priorities of “food security, food sovereignty, and health have accelerated and intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Indigenous Peoples’ Liaison Mikaila Way.
A rainbow in the sky is reflected on the surface of a pond surrounded by green palm trees and foliage.

(Photo by Terrius Harris)

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | University of Oklahoma
For many organizations, COVID-19 meant doors closed. Yet at one sacred, Native Hawaiian fishpond, community members worked to advance their efforts to reclaim the land, culture, and traditions of sustainable aquaculture. 
A tide splashing in between two rocks on a coast line as the sun sits low in the sky behind it.

(Photo courtesy of Keegan Houser/Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/photos/W6ZFtDLR27g)

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | University of Oklahoma
"Mo‘olelo," or storytelling, is embedded deeply in the Hawaiian culture. Now, groups of Native Hawaiians and allies are using it to destigmatize the traditional practice of fishponds and reunite with their roots.  
A herd of tawny brown cattle graze in silvopasture amongst trees spaced several feet apart.

Cattle graze in silvopasture (Photo courtesy of The National Agroforestry Center/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=rich).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | Franklin & Marshall College
Sustainable agriculture has an accessibility problem. One Virginia farmer has a vision to solve it.
A man in a red t-shirt, blue jeans, a baseball cap, and glasses stands with his hands on this hips looking to the left of the frame, standing in a field of grain.

Greg McGlinch owns Down Home Farms, a 450-acre family farming operation in Darke County, Ohio. “I hate seeing soil go down the creek because you’re losing a lot of valuable nutrients,” he said on June 26, 2021. “A lot of that you can’t put a monetary value on” (Photo by Jules Struck).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | Emerson College
Interest in sustainable farming practices is building, and while independent and governmental conservation organizations can be good resources for promoting ecological practices, farmers say that swapping information peer-to-peer works best.
A man and woman in casual attire stand several yards apart, looking at one another, in an agricultural feild surrounded by residential houses.

Decker Woods and Sophia Cooper exchange farming tips in Big Muddy Farms’ biggest plot, July 6, 2021 (Photo by Jules Struck).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | Emerson College
Big Muddy Urban Farm minimizes some of the financial barriers that keep potential farmers from entering the industry, like low profit.
People in face masks organize food items into cardboard boxes in a gray warehouse space under a green sign that reads "FOOD FOR ALL."

Volunteers work together to organize food at the San Francisco Marin Food Bank (Photo by Sejal Govindarao).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | George Washington University
The city of San Francisco and local organizations innovated to serve food insecure populations during the pandemic. Can food initiatives have the infrastructure to be durable?
A young woman in glasses and a shirt that reads "America needs Lesbian Farmers." smiles in front of a background of agricultural fields.

Hannah Breckbill, the founder of Humble Hands Harvest, stands near the farm’s vegetable patch, July 2, 2021. “I didn’t grow up in farming, so I didn’t come with any preconceived notions,” she said. “Sustainability seemed like the obvious thing to aim for, as a farmer” (Photo by Jules Struck).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | Emerson College
It's hard for new farmers to find affordable land to buy. A community of Iowans banded together to solve that issue for a farmer in their neighborhood.
A farm, including three tall silos and several buildings, sits on green, grassy land below a blue sky with fluffy, white clouds.

A farm in Ohio, where soybean and corn are the biggest crops, June 23, 2021 (Photo by Jules Struck).

Planet Forward FAO Fellow | Emerson College
Farming sustainably is already hard work, and young potential farmers need to be creative to find a foothold in an aging industry.
Staff fill boxes with food at Pittsburgh area food bank

As the need for food continued to grow during the pandemic, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank called on the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and opened an additional, temporary food box packing site. Food access, food security, nutrition, and environmental justice challenges are among the topics our fellows will explore in their stories this summer. (Melissa Murray/Creative Commons)

Founder and Chief Executive, Planet Forward
Four students will produce stories at the nexus of food security, agriculture, and nutrition, and work under the guidance of GW’s National Geographic Professor of Science Communication, Lisa Palmer.