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Food waste among priorities at Youth Ag Summit

Improving education to curb food waste is among topics that young people will present to the United Nations’ food security committee in Rome next month.

The Youth Ag Summit, which was held in Australia last month, selected two young people to present a declaration based on their discussions that focused on global food security.

Cassandra Chornoboy attended the first ever conference in Calgary in 2013 when it was called the 4-H Youth Ag Summit. This time she attended as an alumni.

“One-third of food calories are lost or wasted. If not wasted, we could feed the world,” said Chornoboy, a 12 year 4-H member who now works for the Agricultural Adaptation Council in Guelph, Ont.

“But what works in developed nations doesn’t necessarily work in developing nations.”

Chornoboy cited distribution, transportation and refrigeration challenges in developing countries as hindering the distribution of food.

In the developed world, she cited “personal choice and carelessness” as major factors in food waste.

“Everyone is guilty of it,” she said.

“Attitudes about food can be changed around food waste by purchasing only what we need rather than what you want.… You can help as many people as you can, but educating someone will teach them for life.”

The conference identified 15 themes to be addressed by the 100 delegates.

They in turn were whittled down to the top five priorities:

  • education and skills building
  • personal and organizational leadership
  • communication about agricultural careers
  • improved research and development in intensive agriculture and production
  • socially acceptable, responsible consumption and food waste.

Chornoboy, who worked on the last topic, wants to see greater respect for food sustainability and security to reduce food waste. She also wants to see more education about choosing healthier food options in the developed world.

Delegates were asked to focus on three goals following the conference.

For Chornoboy, that meant joining a woman in agriculture group, advancing agriculture knowledge via social media and encouraging local school boards to become advocates for agriculture.

Contact karen.morrison@producer.com

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