New Ideas

A woman in neutral clothing, a backpack and a baseball cap stands in a green field and looks across frame.

Jen Jenkins surveys the terrain of Sundrop Prairie (Sarah Anderson/MEDILL).

Medill News Service, Northwestern University
Colleen O’Brien and Jen Jenkins are exploring whether a cluster of five grassland regions that form a rare natural oasis just south of Chicago could be dedicated as a space for stormwater collection to help mitigate flooding in the region.

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.

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