May 7th was marked as “UFV’s day of Sustainability” as narrated in The Cascade, UFV’s newspaper. The event attracted excited crowds of people all waiting to hear, learn, and discuss about our food future and to learn about food security on an international level. An afternoon of workshops facilitated by Mr James Kuhns, Dr. Alex Awiti, Ms. Sheliza Bhanjee, Mr. Stephen Otieno, Professor Ghuman, and Dr. John Paul, directly engaged with people to fulfill their hunger and curiosity for knowledge about food security.

Stephen Otieno presents his research on supermarkets in Nairobi
Stephen Otieno presents his research on supermarkets in Nairobi

The sessions were then followed by a campus tour and its surrounding areas to discuss urban planning strategies and what the campus and its surrounding areas will look like 5-10 years from now. The tour was followed by a dinner break that was provided by one of the well-known barbeque food trucks from Chilliwack known as Guerilla Q. The food truck attracted little crowds of people discussing topics brought forward in the break out workshops, as well as, students on campus.

After the dinner break, the talk of sustainability was taken to another level by the commencement of panel discussions that were kicked off by Dylan Anderson and Patricia Magala welcoming the President of the University of the Fraser Valley. The President kicked off his welcome by asking “How many people ate today?” which happened to be one of the most deep and catchy phrases that evoked giggles, thought, and discussion among the people who were in attendance. This was followed by a public symposium with panel discussions that gave the professors and government officials a chance to discuss their views on food security.

The Sustainable Food Systems event was well received and left people wanting more. The knowledge received from the symposium saying that “food security is not something that happens in third-world countries” said Terisha Mitchell, a UFV Geography student as quoted in the Cascade newspaper. She went on to add that “food security is local and global. It’s not simply our problem or their problem—to secure food systems locally, we have to secure them internationally”. “The facts were alarming and overwhelming”. Yet somehow, those who lingered after the symposium were still smiling and joking. When asked how people can stay optimistic and positive in the face of such struggles, Dr. Alex Awiti answered that new tools, along with breakthroughs in computing will give us measureable advances in food production.

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