Current Food Systems PhD student and ALC member Amaya Carrasco-Torrontegui was chosen for the Graduate Student Award for Outstanding MS Research and Scholarship in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, where she completed her MS in Leadership for Sustainability.
Community wellbeing was at the center of Amaya’s capstone, which also included a strong component of self awareness, leadership, and heart. Amaya developed and led an eight-session seminar in Spanish on sustainable food production in collaboration with the Missouri University Extension that was attended by 240 participants from nine different countries. The course was titled Agricultura Urbana Sostenible. She also offered support to people growing their own food with sustainable agriculture techniques in the United States, Ecuador, and other countries in Latin America; a particularly significant need during the COVID-19 pandemic when many were experiencing food shortages.
“Carrasco Torrontegui knows what it’s like to be a migrant; she has grandparents from Basque country in Spain, parents from Chile, and she was born in Ecuador.
“For me, it was very difficult to come to the U.S. because I didn’t have friends and my visa didn’t allow me to work or study,” Carrasco Torrontegui said. “And that was very hard.”
While walking around her neighborhood in St. Louis, Carrasco Torrontegui passed by a plot of land where people were growing plants.
She found out it was part of U City In Bloom, a nonprofit with more than 200 community gardens in University City. A volunteer at that garden happened to be from Ecuador, too; she became Carrasco Torrontegui’s first friend in the U.S. and introduced her to the world of urban agriculture.
“I discovered that was a passion for me — growing food, connecting with people, being in nature, learning from plants and insects,” Carrasco Torrontegui said.” From an article in NewsTribune.
Felicidades Amaya on this award and completion of this incredibly valuable project! Read the abstract of Amaya’s research and full paper: BE YOU: A JOURNEY TO FIND COURAGE. Amaya is currently involved in the Collaborative Crop Research Project, so stay tuned to see what she does next.