The selection committee received many applicants again for 2017, making choosing recipients a challenging task. “We really enjoy reading the essay submissions from everyone. They are inspiring and provide so much hope for the future, revealing the aspirations of students soon to begin their careers,” says Eco-Scholarship Coordinator, Kaytlyn Creutzberg.
Below, the 2017 Eco-Scholars share how they envision themselves making a career supporting organics and farming that is good for the earth.
David Borish, Epidemiology, University of Guelph
I am an MSc student researcher and documentary filmmaker uniting my talents in visual media with a drive to make positive social and environmental change through collaborative and community-based research.
My videos promote awareness about sustainable, eco-friendly solutions that address social and environmental issues worldwide. My productions include the award-wining “Tracks in a Tiger Economy”, a documentary film linking sustainable environmental development to Indigenous empowerment and tiger conservation in Malaysia.
I will continue to pursue a career as a research-based documentary filmmaker, with an aim to visually educate people about organic and eco-friendly solutions.
Sokhany Dosvanna, Organic Agriculture, University of Guelph
Growing up in Cambodia, my diet was locally sourced rice, fish and greens.
A few years ago, I returned to my home town and learned that fish was no longer an affordable protein. An issue in many developing countries like Cambodia is local access to quality foods.
I will help to create small space and roof gardens that feed urban populations. In addition to managing my own organic farm with vegetables and livestock.
My goal is to work with small farmers to help them go beyond subsistence by growing a surplus to improve their livelihoods, create an organic demonstration garden and teach at the agriculture school, helping future generations.
Nuzhat Jillani, Associate Diploma in Agriculture, University of Guelph
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1826).
My goal is to utilize my strong leadership and sales experience to raise consumer awareness about the importance of sustainable agriculture.
My journey and interest in organics began when I was searching for a lifestyle change as a way to heal. Along the way, I became passionate about wholesome foods and curious about food production.
This led me to the University of Guelph to study agriculture and this has inspired me to be a life-long learner. I believe we all deserve food, which is good for our health and the earth.
Shanthanu Krishna Kumar, Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph
I grew up on an organic farm in Coimbatore, India.
My organic education started with my grandfather teaching me to milk cows and grow okra and eggplants. I really got interested in the organic movement after my internship with Navdanya, India (founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva).
I am currently doing my Masters, working to enhance the shelf life of peaches using an organic chemical hexanal, at the University of Guelph.
I hope to serve organic growers with effective ‘Knowledge Translation and Transfer’ (KTT) and helping them to scale up their agricultural production, thus increasing the organic market share from 4% to 10% in the next 10 years (retail sales).
To read more about Shanthanu’s experiences at the conference as an Eco-Scholar please visit here.
Ben Morgan, Organic Agriculture, University of Guelph
I grew up on a conventional cash-crop farm in Bruce County, but with a great deal of exposure to organic practices.
I plan on a becoming a certified organic farmer and adopting no-till and diverse crop rotations with cover crops. Additionally I hope to provide crop consulting, offer custom work focused on organic harvesting and weed control, and eventually start an organic grain elevator to further increase the feasibility of organic production.
I know a lot of farmers who have expressed great interest in becoming organic. However there is too much risk, largely because of a lack of knowledge, resources and infrastructure and concern for poor yields and pest issues. This is a deal breaker for most prospective farmers because of the risk.
“I really found it inspiring to see farmers of all different backgrounds, experiences and goals to be able to come together and work on a vision not only for the future of their own farms but helping to craft what human relationship with agriculture will and should look like in the future. Getting to meet the other Eco-Scholars – Chantal, Emily and Anterra was great (having already known Emma). Being able to share ideas with them and having the opportunity to now connect with them in the near future to see where they have taken their goals is very exciting.”
– Justin Maddalena, 2016 Eco Scholar
Read more about Justin’s experiences in this blog article he wrote.
“I thoroughly appreciated my experience at the Guelph Organic Conference. The fact that I was an Eco-Scholar significantly enhanced the event’s impact for me. As a result, I would urge anyone who is at least interested in organics to apply for the scholarship. Be open to every learning opportunity no matter the topic!”
– Alex Sanders, 2015 Eco Scholar
Read more about Alex’s experiences in this blog article he wrote.