Deputy U.S. Ag Secretary Visits UK, Talks With Students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden recently told University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment students they are the next generation of agricultural decision makers and problem solvers.

Harden said one thing she loves about her job is meeting with college students.

“I encourage you to learn from history, so you don’t forget the path,” said Harden, to students gathered in the Cameron Williams lecture hall in the Plant Sciences building on the UK campus. “We need more people to be part of the future (of agriculture).”

One of Harden’s passions is working to eliminate food waste.

“We throw away a vast one-third of what we produce each year,” she said. “We buy more than we can eat. I’m guilty of it myself, but I’m trying to change that. Even though I live in a high-rise building, I still compost my food waste.”

She shared a new app the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed called FoodKeeper. Users will be able to find storage timelines, cooking tips and learn how storage methods affect the storage life of foods. They will also be able to personalize the app according to their purchases and ask questions of USDA representatives.

After her brief address, Harden took questions from students in the audience. Students posed a variety of topics for discussion including food safety, immigration and migrant workers, animal health and urban farming. Harden also encouraged students who have an interest in agriculture, but don’t have a rural or farm background, to pursue their passion.

During her visit to the UK campus last week, Harden toured The 90, an 80,000 square-foot academic-support and dining facility. There she visited with administrators of The Food Connection at UK, which serves farmers, food producers, students and consumers through creative strategies for a vibrant, healthy and sustainable food economy. 


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