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U of A student reflects on Youth Ag Summit experience

U of A student reflects on Youth Ag Summit experience

Amanda Hardman was one of two Canadians to attend

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A sustainable agriculture student at the University of Alberta recently represented Canada at a youth event in November.

Amanda Hardman from Stony Plain, Alta. was one of two Canadians to participate in Bayer’s 2021 Youth Ag Summit (YAS).

Emily Robb, a University of Manitoba student, was the other.

The biennial event brings together a total of 100 delegates between the ages of 18 and 25. The attendees represent nearly 50 countries.

“It was one of the best online conferences I’d ever attended,” Hardman told Farms.com. “The material was great. There were so many international speakers, and it was great to hear about situations going on around the globe.”

Those stories affected Hardman, she said.

Living in Alberta, Hardman has access to everything she needs.

But others around the world don’t have that luxury, she said.

“These stories were super inspiring but very humbling,” she said. “I obviously have a very Canadian and Alberta-centric on agriculture, so to hear stories about water quality and food security, things that I don’t have to worry about because of where I live, those stories will stay with me.”

As part of the application process, interested youth had to present project ideas and examples of advocacy work on the event’s overall theme “Feeding a Hungry Planet.”

Hardman’s project focuses on biodegradable food packaging to replace plastic clamshell packaging.

Hardman’s experience at the YAS didn’t focus so much on bringing her project to market, but rather renewed her confidence in the work she’s doing on the packaging.

“It’s hard when you’re young and you don’t have any money to help bring your ideas to fruition,” she said. “But the leadership speakers there helped remind me and the others that you always have a seat at the table and there’s always someone you can ask for help.”

Attendees of the summit also received access to free education material.

The delegates received 10 free weeks of mentorship and coaching through YAS University.

Hardman hasn’t had much time to look at that material as it’s exam season after all.

“School has blindsided me this semester,” she said. “I’ve been trying to play catch up on those units and I’ll hopefully get to them soon.”


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