Conferences and Journalism

Tuesday I traveled just south of Richmond to Greystone Farm, a former cattle farm that reinvented itself as an aquaculture venture (shrimp farm). The concept of farming fish is still fairly new to me, and I learned a lot about the process of raising shrimp in such a man-made environment. Aquaculture ponds are made with a large drain on the deep end (usually about three feet deeper than the shallow end), and when that drain is opened, the shrimp get pulled out to a catchment area, while the water continues flowing back to the natural pond. I'm still not completely convinced as to the long-term sustainability of this artificial method of seafood production, but it looks like an emerging market that's really going to continue to grow -- and perhaps evolve into a more environmentally friendly process.

Yesterday I went west, over to Lexington, to a Washington & Lee-hosted "Cultivating Sustainability" conference. It was an excellent day, full of enthusiastic people and helpful idea sharing. I made some great connections with Virginia farmers and other folks (including my counterpart at Virginia Tech!) working to further local foods in universities, hospitals, and K-12 environments, and even gave my first conference presentation on my experience starting Green Dining and the success it has had as a truly collaborative group of students and Dining admin.

I returned to Grounds today and after a meeting with engineering professor Ben Cohen (he'd like to get students in his sustainability course involved in helping push foward the sustainable dining agenda) experienced a mild work setback when I read the latest Cav Daily article about Dining. This one focused on Dining's shortcomes with the reusable to-go container (read here), and also caused me quite a bit of surprise when I saw quotes attributed to yours truly in the article. I recalled a student emailing me last week with a question about corn-based plastics, to which, thinking she was just a curious student, I responded via email. This email evidently became the basis for a few improperly solicited quotes. Hm. As I explained to the Ombudsman later today, not only does this reveal a disturbing lack of disclosure on the student's part, the article itself is full of inaccuracies as a result of unclear communication. I'm happy to be interviewed for Dining news stories, but I'd appreciate knowing that I was being interviewed.

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