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Join us for a discussion with Katie Chriest, Sustainable Food Systems Program coordinator at Penn State Behrend, about lessons learned through a student-led, community-centered storytelling project that aims to raise awareness around issues of farmer mental health and stress.

“Growing Roots of Understanding: How students learn to listen and lead through community-engaged storytelling”

Growing Roots of Understanding started as a student-led, community-centered initiative to raise awareness around issues of farmer mental health and stress. The project has involved students in Behrend’s Sustainable Food Systems program reaching out to local farmers, building trust, asking about the misconceptions they frequently encounter, and encouraging them to share their stories. This session will focus on how the project evolved from a kernel of an idea to a replicable model of engagement, including a community forum, conference presentations, and meaningful ongoing relationships. We’ll also talk about ideas for connecting students to multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives and priorities, from policymakers to business owners to Extension educators. Additionally, we’ll discuss the way the project epitomizes the complexity in talking about our food system, and how students are uniquely positioned to interrogate many of the unproductive assumptions often taken for granted.