MDP Student Jake Meyers wins national storytelling award for video on urban farming in Kenya

April 9, 2020
Jake Meyers and Francis Wachira in Kenya

Jake Meyers, a graduate student in the University of Arizona's master's in development practice program, has won the Best Sharable Video award in Planet Forward's national Storyfest 2020 competition.

As a grand prize winner, Meyers will report on pressing environmental issues in Iceland on a storytelling assignment with Planet Forward and Lindblad Expeditions on the National Geographic Explorer vessel.

Planet Forward was founded in 2009 by Emmy Award-winning journalist Frank Sesno as a project of the Center for Innovative Media at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. The project teaches, celebrates and rewards environmental storytelling by students from across the country.

As a master's student in the College of Social and Behavioral SciencesSchool of Geography and Development, Meyers works at the intersection of climate adaptation and food security. During the summer of 2019, Meyers collaborated with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, to investigate climate adaptation solutions to food insecurity in the rapidly urbanizing nation. Meyers' video, "Can urban farming feed the future?," shares the story of Francis Wachira, a leading advocate for urban farming in Nairobi (pictured at right in the photo with this story).

"As urbanization increases in sub-Saharan Africa and across the developing world, stories like those of Francis Wachira and Koroko Enterprises in Kenya offer much-needed inspiration for innovative approaches to sustainable food production," said MDP Director Dr. Katherine Snyder. "Congratulations to Jake Meyers for using part of his 2019 MDP summer practicum to produce this demonstration of the power of digital storytelling." 

"One of the key challenges in addressing the global climate crisis is the ability to communicate with the public in compelling ways and to suggest solutions that can offer hope. We are proud of the creativity that Jake and the other students in the Master's in Development Practice have shown in embracing new technologies to reach mass audiences," noted MDP Assistant Director Dr. Raymond Smith 

You can read the full press release on the UA News website