Introducing our 2021 FAO Summer Storytelling Fellows

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)

If you know anything about Planet Forward, it’s that we educate students about the power and importance of telling diverse stories around sustainability and science — and the entire web of topics and issues that take root there — with a focus on engaging a conversation with the next generation of leaders for our planet.

One of our neighbors here at GW, the North America office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has long been a supporter of this mission.

Together, we’ve taken exceptional students to report from the World Food Prize in Iowa, and to FAO headquarters in Rome for World Food Day at the Committee on World Food Security. Since the pandemic limited our ability to offer these travel-based experiential learning opportunities, we had to get creative.

Now, I am thrilled to announce our first ever Planet Forward-FAO Storytelling Summer Fellowship, through which four students will produce stories in any medium 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.

Allow me to introduce our 2021 Storytelling Summer Fellows:

Sejal Govindarao is a rising sophomore studying Political Communication at George Washington University. Sejal is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be reporting on minority communities there.

Terrius Harris, who is currently pursuing his Master's of Legal Studies for Indigenous Peoples Law at University of Oklahoma, is a previous Storyfest winner, a past Senior Planet Forward Correspondent, and previously traveled with Planet Forward to the Committee on World Food Security in 2018. Terrius will be reporting from Oahu, Hawaii, on Indigenous population’s access to food.

Jules Struck, from Emerson College and who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Journalism, will be reporting from the Boston, Massachusetts, area.

Benjamin Thomas, a junior studying Environmental Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, will be reporting from a sustainable farm in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Our Fellows begin June 7, and while stories will be completed this summer, the Fellowship will culminate with events surrounding World Food Day in October. Keep an eye on PlanetForward.org and our social media accounts for more from and about these amazing students!

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.