Ariel Kagan grew up farming in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Her mother founded and operated a number of community gardens where all types of people, long time residents as well as new Americans and refugees would come together to grow food. Some of the food went to markets, other produce was used for community events, but a lot of it was used to supplement what people could afford to buy at the grocery store. Working to ensure that healthy and fresh food is available and accessible to all is something that Ariel is deeply committed to in her work today.
Ariel convenes experts on topics like urban agriculture and local foods to better inform policy makers and enhance the conversation about sustainable agriculture. Throughout Ariel's career she has been able to meet so many incredible people working to increase equity and justice in the food system. Ariel's believes that farmers and fishermen have a huge role to play in feeding the world in an equitable way. As part of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the UN put forward the goal of zero hunger by 2030. Ariel thinks It's possible to solve this very solvable problem, and as women in Agriculture, as we have the tools we need to do it. Today, Ariel reflects on these experiences often. Who is not involved in the conversation and who should be? Who haven't we heard from yet? How can new voices elevate this conversation and help craft new ideas and solutions? She is so inspired by the people working on food and agriculture both in Washington D.C. and also more broadly around the world. Ariel is confident that together we will be able to fulfill the goal of zero hunger in our world.
"We need a bigger tent in agriculture- we're seeing more farmers in cities, using rooftops and hydroponics to grow high value specialty crops like herbs and micro-greens. We're also seeing more young people go into farming using models like community supported agriculture (CSAs) and farmers markets. And we also need to continue working with and learning from traditional farmers on our working lands. In the end, it takes all of us to be part of the future of food and agriculture."
Your energy and understanding in knowing what this world has the potential to do is exciting to us at AgWomen. World hunger is such a huge problem and we need all the insight we can get in order to work out the best way we can all begin to play our part to fixing it.
Cover picture: (from L-R) Ariels colleague Kyle McGowan, the European Union Ambassador to the US David O'Sullivan, Ariel, and then the Jamaican Ambassador to the US Ralph Thomas at an event called "The Role of Food in Culture" from Spring 2016.