Sustaining Our House

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
By: Anna Gomes, 2017 US Youth Ag Summit Delegate

Food waste innovation. Sustainable agricultural production. Anthropogenic climate change adaptation and mitigation. These three topics, among a laundry list of others, are what fuel my passion for positive growth.

Notice my use of “growth” instead of “change.” Growth represents progression, learning, and goal-setting. Rather than an endless spiral of finger pointing and name calling, we could approach the challenge of sustainably feeding a growing population with optimism. Taking this episode in history as a time for reflection and a novel beginning, we can learn from our mistakes and adjust our attitudes. No one individual, country, or industry is to blame for the current disaster our planet is experiencing. Each and every one of us, including myself, contribute to production of greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution of our planet’s air, water, and soil.

Anna Gomes

As a small town girl growing up in a rural dairy community, located in northern California, I quickly became fascinated with agriculture. My passion for food production and plant science began in high school when I began my own culinary herbs business and started working with a local farmer. Once I started college, I finally began to connect the dots between our global food system and the web of economics, social equality, chemistry, mathematics, and everything in between, realizing that the interdisciplinary aspect to agriculture is what gave it the depth and challenge I thrive on.

I can vividly remember two years ago sitting in Peet’s Coffee and reading the Australia Youth Ag Summit application on my laptop. At that moment, I knew that this challenge, feeding the nine billion, was going to be what I wanted to commit my future days, thoughts, and efforts towards.

Sustainability around the World

Recently returning from traveling northern Europe on a study abroad trip, I spent a month analyzing and researching the numerous angles of sustainability that many cities such as Malmo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Freiburg, impressively execute. From renewable energy systems, to green roofs, to bicycle transport, experiencing the foreign mindset of sustainable design was inspiring.

One of my favorite days while touring northern Europe was visiting the Sysav Waste to Energy Plant in Malmo, Sweden. Some might be concerned with my endless excitement over trash processing, but the story continues. Before touring the Sysav plant, my class received a lecture from one of the educational outreach staff members. Our speaker shared with us the true reason for constantly seeking to make our planet a healthier place to be--love. Roughly seven and a half billion people live as one big complicated family, inhabiting a place we call Earth. Boundaries between countries are merely arbitrary lines when considering air, soil, water, and nutrients; therefore, we must be equitable stewards. We cannot simply trash this planet and move to Saturn (at least not yet).

Anna Gomes

Take Action

As a global family, we can share ideas and inspiration, creating one interdisciplinary team ready to tackle any obstacle. With the Youth Ag Summit quickly approaching, I am looking forward to sharing a space with those who share my passion and excitement concerning the future of food production and environmental progress. Brussels here we come!

You can also follow along on my journey to Brussels as a US Youth Ag Summit Delegate on social media- I’m on Twitter and Instagram. For the full conversation throughout the summit, follow along using #YouthAgSummit.


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