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“The lesson I learned is you don’t have to go anywhere to travel,” said Ariam Ford, the keynote speaker for the third annual student sustainability conference at Chatham, Seeds of Change, in front of a picture of her current home in Pittsburgh “It’s daunting, but the best thing you can do is to start at home.” (Photo by Oliver Morrison/PublicSource)

“The lesson I learned is you don’t have to go anywhere to travel,” said Ariam Ford, the keynote speaker for the third annual Seeds of Change sustainability conference. (Photo by Oliver Morrison/PublicSource)

At a youth sustainability conference on March 4, three students from an environmental club at Fox Chapel High School presented a behind-the-scenes look at how they and other students built a community garden.

Although the garden was less than a year old, it has already yielded impressive results: Beds of vegetables. Students who worked over the summer to earn volunteer hours. A plan to increase production that would allow the food to be integrated into the school.“The students learn where their food comes from and that it takes a lot of effort to get that little cherry tomato on your plate,” Nathaniel Roe, one of the students, said.The Fox Chapel students were three of more than 100 students of all ages, from public, private and charter schools, who traveled across the Pittsburgh region to Chatham University’s bucolic Eden Hall campus 20 miles north of the city. They were presenting sustainability projects they had implemented in their schools and communities for the third annual Seeds of Change: Igniting Student Action for Sustainable Communities Conference.

One group published an article about a new store selling produce in Rankin. Another group was trying to convince their school district to replace plastic cutlery with metal silverware.

Ariam Ford, a city planner who served as one of the judges of the students’ projects, could have pushed the students from Fox Chapel on specifics of their garden’s growth plan. But instead, she brought up a previous presentation by students at Pittsburgh’s Perry High School, another group that had presented an urban garden.

“There’s a dichotomy between the two garden experiences,” Ford said.



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