Today, there is a lot of focus on ensuring that industries and technologies are sustainable. The world’s agricultural system is no different, and for Mariah Leick, a senior at Arizona State University, food systems sustainability is an important issue to be tackled.
Leick first gained interest in food systems after getting involved with the ASU Grow community garden her freshman year. The club focuses on “square foot gardening, a method that can efficiently grow a large number of plants in a relatively small area,” enabling the group to utilize a more eco- and water-friendly way to grow large amounts of crops.
In addition to working with ASU Grow, Leick has gotten involved in the local community, working with a group in Chandler in the Faith Community Garden. This garden emphasizes not only sustainable food systems but also building strong ties between “church members, neighborhood individuals and local refugees.” This involves numerous activities, from mulching to recording the group’s meeting minutes.
Leick has also gotten involved with multicultural groups on campus and through study abroad France. In Lyon, she was “involved in two student organizations and obtained a volunteer-ship teaching English and facilitating conversation groups for French nationals through a local non-profit, Le Phare d'Amitié.” She also got involved with ASU’s Global Launch Intensive English program teaching non-native speakers.
“At Global Launch, I befriended and encouraged international learners from around the world to develop their confidence and fluency in English by aiding teachers in the classrooms, facilitating weekly conversation groups, assisting at extracurricular activities and workshops, and engaging with students during cultural events and field trips,” she said.
When discussing her plans post-graduation, Leick said she plans on continuing her work with food systems sustainability “at both the grassroots and institutional levels to enact change in the U.S. and in international contexts.” After gaining more experience, Leick plans on attending graduate school. She then hopes to work with initiatives such as USAID’s Feed the Future or other non-governmental organizations to work toward improving food security.
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