Southern Adventist University recently hosted Food Summit 2012, a one-day conference focused the on different aspects of sustainable agriculture. The November 4 meetings featured speaker Byron Smith, founder of Sunizona Family Farms in Wilcox, Arizona, and were especially relevant for students in the university’s new Global Policy and Service Studies major (GPS).
The summit was presented in conjunction with Sustainability Studies, a new class in the History and Political Studies Department that is a part of the GPS curriculum. Freshman GPS major Moses Maier attended the summit to learn more about agriculture, specifically organic farming.
“The information presented helped us think more about what we are eating,” Moses said. “It was interesting finding out that many farmers use illegal pesticides that harm us.”
Mindi Rahn, Sustainability Studies instructor, spearheaded the event and worked hard to connect Smith’s talks with what students are learning in her course. The sessions were also highly relevant for those working on Southern’s campus garden, located between the Lower Stateside Apartments and Southern Village. The Sustainability Studies class is currently growing brussel sprouts, spinach, collard greens, kale, carrots, beets, and turnips there using organic methods.
Teaching students sustainable agriculture within a Christian context is key as close to 80 missionaries go out from Southern each year to countries all over the world. The skills they learn here will be invaluable when they work with farmers in drought-stricken and resource-poor areas.
“Our overarching objective is to teach students to meet people’s physical needs while sharing the eternal need of a relationship with Christ,” Rahn said. “This is our way of following the Great Commission.”
Photo Credit: Seth Schaffer