Grad Student Talks Community Approach to Sustainability

Lizzy Schultz

fd-16-perry Water sustainability was the topic at the most recent Food Dialogues event from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), and while much of the discussion focused on the concerns facing our environment and the quality of the nation’s natural water resources, panelist Vanessa Perry had a different conservation to bring to the table.

Perry, a PhD student in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota with a research focus on community capacity to respond to natural resource challenges, in particular water management, brought an insightful, unique perspective to the panel, as her sustainability expertise is centered greatly on the social aspects of sustainability, and the cultural, socio-economic, and psychological impact that conservation efforts can have on a society.

“I think there is a lack of awareness on the roles and responsibilities that we all have towards the issue of water quality,” she said in an interview following the discussion. “Farmers are being told that they’re the cause of water pollution, and that may not be the best solution if we’re all really trying to work together towards a common solution. These issues affect us all, we all have responsibilities here, and its really important to bring some more awareness to how we’re using resources and the different ways that all of us are affecting our country’s water quality.”

Her focus in the discussion remained centered on the necessity of community engagement and collaboration in terms of finding solutions to water quality issues.

“If this was an easy problem, we would have fixed it. We’re working on a complex issue, and that requires a complex solutions,” she said during the event. “It isn’t just one person, we are all responsible, and what you do to help solve these issues depends on the role you have in society. It takes a bit of thoughtfulness and reflectiveness on all of our parts to see where we have responsibilities.”

Listen to Lizzy’s full interview with Vanessa here:
Interview with Vanessa Perry, University of Minnesota

View and download photos from the event here:Food Dialogues: Minneapolis Photo Album

Ag Groups, Agribusiness, Audio, Conservation, Environment, Sustainability, USFRA, Water