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Feed the Planet Summit at GW

BENJAMIN REMALY//


Students, professors, farmers, scientists, founders, bureaucrats and politicians packed into Jack Morton Auditorium on April 23 to tell their stories about the overlap of climate change, food and agriculture.

GW’s Planet Forward hosted the collaboration of innovators focusing on providing enough food and resources for an ever-expanding global population.

The Feeding the Planet Summit is the child of Planet Forward, which was founded by GW’s own Professor Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs. Planet Forward aims to find solutions to Mother Nature’s biggest crises by capturing informative and impactful stories through mass media.

The Summit featured a vast array of voices. Policymakers such as Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), condemned Congress for as he described, not having enough willpower to help those struggling for food.

“We know how to end hunger,” McGovern said. “Its not that hard.”

McGovern attacked what he believed to be excess military spending and  the present state of hunger in the U.S., criticizing current policies such as food stamps. The average value of food stamps per person was $125.35 per month last year according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Divided over a 30-day month, their value comes to $4 and a few dimes per day.

Joining the voices condemning the past were the food and agriculture innovators of the future such as Maria Rose Belding, a freshman at American University. Belding was honored as the founder of the MEANS Database system which, this April, became the first nonprofit to win the GW Small Business Startup competition which came with over $60,000 in cash.

Belding described the database as “Craigslist for Food Pantries.”

GW Law Student Grant Nelson coded the database that connects food pantries with one another, allowing them to communicate shortages and excess food to be more efficient.

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