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Youth lead the way to a healthy future

October 12, 2012

If 14-year-old Abby Gordon and 15-year-old DeShaun Baker are any indication of what’s in store for the future of food and agriculture, we’re in luck. Last week, several Twin City area youth talked about their transformative life experiences to an audience of 70 at the Healthy Food Healthy Lives Summit held at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

A LOVER OF NATURE, Gordon became an advocate for honey bees after seeing a program about their vital role in producing food and drastic decline – caused in part by colony collapse disorder, parasites and pesticide use. She set out to teach elementary school kids about bees and formed “honey bee teams” that then created their own bee projects and taught other school kids and teachers about why bees are so important. Did you know honey bees are responsible for one-third of the food we eat, including most if not all fruits and vegetables?

Gordon founded “Project Honey Bee” in 2012 and encourages everyone to learn more about bees; help by making a contribution to programs such as University of Minnesota’s bee lab; or create a healthy habitat for bees. To inspire bee advocates, Gordon placed a quote on her website by U of M Professor Marla Spivak, Entomologist and honey bee expert that reads:

TOGETHER, we can protect American agriculture and the food we eat every day by helping the HONEY BEE get back on it’s own six feet.

DESHAUN BAKER SPENT A YEAR as a youth intern at the Community Design Center (CDC) in St. Paul – learning about gardening, cooking and conservation. He admits that he’s different from his friends who aren’t into any of those things, but he likes being different. Baker discovered he likes to cook and share his love of healthy food with others.

After a year as an intern, Baker became a trainer for incoming interns at CDC – teaching them not only about growing food and cooking, but also to be true to themselves and to build community through gardening, cooking and conservation.

The future looks brighter already.

Note: The Minnesota Project and Bachman’s hosted a public talk by Dr. Spivak in June 2012. Learn more about her efforts to educate and assist bee keepers and bee advocates foster healthy bee populations and pollinator landscapes. http://beelab.umn.edu/About/Solutions_and_Expertise/index.htm.

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