The Sustainable Agriculture Student Association successfully hosted the multi-day event "Seeds of the Future" after receiving a $2,500 Campus Challenge Grant from Plate of the Union, a 2016 election season initiative that asks the next president to take bold action to reform our nation’s food system. A panel discussion took place on Tuesday, October 4, as the event's marquee program and featured four Iowa water quality experts: Hanna Bates (Iowa Water Center); Jim Gillespie (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship); Dr. Chris Jones (Iowa Nutrient Monitoring Network); and Tim Smith (2015 Iowa Soil Conservation Farmer of the Year). With the impending Des Moines Water Works lawsuit serving as a controversial and unavoidable political issue that will likely alter our agricultural system, panelists discussed Iowa’s role in influencing food policy issues across the United States. Plate of the Union National Field Director Sean Carroll also spoke at the event, which can be viewed in full here.
“I am excited to be part of an open discussion on the role water plays in our world,” Iowa Water Center program assistant and alum Hanna Bates (MS '15) said. "Our resiliency heavily relies on how we interact with our soil and water. It is important that we create a space in which knowledge is shared and conversations can occur for better policy and everyday practices that can improve these resources.”
In addition to the panel, the Plate of the Union food truck, which has been travelling across the country and making stops at events such as the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention, parked outside the Memorial Union throughout the day on October 4 and 5. Visitors to the food truck had an opportunity to sign the Plate of the Union petition, register to vote, and talk with other ISU student organizations. In total, SASA members added more than 200 signatures to the Plate of the Union petition, which recently met its goal to collect 100,000 total signatures nationwide.
“As one of only four campus groups across the country to receive this grant, it was an honor to participate in the first-ever Plate of the Union Campus Challenge,” SASA co-president [Adam Wright]() said. “Our organization knows how important food and agriculture truly are, and yet politicians and mainstream media rarely cover these issues. Since ISU is an ideal place to discuss our state’s important role in shaping the future of agricultural policy, events like 'Seeds of the Future' can truly change our local, state, and national communities for the better."