Ilana Creinin, Danielle Baglivo and Sophie Martin are all undergraduates at The George Washington University. Ilana is studying Political Communications, Danielle is studying Political Communications, and Sophie is studying Civil Engineering. All of the group members for this submission are minoring in Sustainability. Ilana, Danielle and Sophie heard of Planet Forward’s Storyfest 2016 contest in a course they are all taking with Frank Sesno, the director of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs, and the creator and host of Planet Forward. For their submission, they created a video that focused on Rooftop Roots, a local D.C. organization that gives food to residents at local food banks.
We asked them a few questions to learn more about their entry.
Q: How did you hear about Rooftop Roots? Describe their innovation in simple terms for those who have never heard of it.
A: We heard about Rooftop Roots while researching ideas for our final project in our Sustainability Class. We found the organization and contacted Thomas, the Executive Director of Rooftop Roots, to see if he would be interested in allowing us to film. Rooftop Roots is an organization that partners with nonprofits, businesses, homes, etc., to grow and produce in urban areas, often on rooftops. The produce goes to the community and local food banks. Community members get involved in the growing process so it serves as an educational opportunity that brings people closer to their food and reconnects them to local food chains.
Q: What was the process behind creating your submission? Why did you choose to communicate your innovation through a video format?
A: We chose a video to communicate our innovation because the rooftop garden was so beautiful and seeing the creators of the garden in person made the entire innovation come to life. Physically talking to the gardeners and curators of the sustainable rooftop masterpiece makes their success become a reality to the viewers. We wanted people to really see the food they are connecting with in their local food system.
Q: Why is this innovation so important to you? Why do you think it is one of the most essential methods to help sustainable cities?
A: When you live in an on-the-go city like D.C., it's easy to lose sight of where your food is coming from. Growing food brings people back to the source and encourages healthier options, as well as protects the environment by limiting carbon dioxide emissions from transporting produce. We think it is essential in aiding the creation of sustainable cities because learning where our food comes from is one of the first steps in the education process to making cities more resilient for the future. We need to understand the foundational elements before making a change to our habits.
(Editor's note: Answers edited for grammar and spelling.)