Tuesday, April 12, 2016

UAF students honored for food security competition

From left, students receiving awards were Samantha Knutson,
Roger Ridenour, Joseph Morris, Tristan Glowa and  Robert Shields.
Seven undergraduate UAF students were recognized Wednesday during the Food Security in the Arctic competition awards ceremony at Wood Center. 

NRM student Roger Ridenour won first place
in the engineering design contest.
Undergraduate students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks were invited to address northern food security issues in essay, media and engineering contests sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and Extension, Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity (URSA) and the National Science Foundation. Students received $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place for their entries.

Contest co-chair Jenifer McBeath said one goal of the contest is to raise student awareness of food security while protecting the environment and biodiversity. An estimated 95 percent of food consumed in Alaska is produced elsewhere. She also hopes the contest will stimulate and encourage students’ creativity and innovations in finding solutions.

For the essay contest, students were asked to address some of the challenges involved in growing and storing food in northern communities. Tristan Glowa, who attends Yale University and UAF, received first place for a paper on developing community food hubs, land trusts, infrastructure and nonprofit food enterprise development organizations to improve food security.

Tristan Glowa displays his essay award.
The food security issue isn’t just a matter of fragile food supply lines that can be disrupted, he said. Encouraging local food production is also important to diversifying Alaska’s economy, he said. “Every dollar we spend on out-of-state food leaves our state.”

Others honored in the essay contest were Roger Ridenour, second place; Rodney Carpluk, third place; and Robert Shields and Zoe Marshall, honorable mention.

Natural resources management student Roger Ridenour also received first place in the engineering contest for his design of an underground food storage unit consisting of a Connex-type storage container, a heater powered by a geothermal heat pump and climate controls.

Robert Shields talks about his poster.
Ridenour, who is developing a farm near Salcha, said he got the idea of using shipping containers by looking around.

“Shipping containers are quote plentiful in Alaska but especially in the Interior,” he said. His concept is similar to a root cellar but should be able to maintain produce in more controlled conditions. Ridenour will also receive $5,000 to build a modified prototype of his food storage unit. Rodney Carpluk received an honorable mention for his engineering design.

Fisheries major Joseph Morris placed first in the media contest for his 30-second video public service announcement about food production activities drawn from the university’s digital archives. Samantha Knutson received second place for her PSA showing micropropagation and other technologies in today’s food production system.

Organizing and judging the contest involved multiple university units. McBeath said planning for next year’s competition is already underway. Updated contest materials will be posted at www.uaf.edu/snre/fsa by April 18, so students can work on their entries over the summer. Entries will be due by Jan. 20, 2017.

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