The odds are in our favor: National FFA members fighting local hunger
November 17, 2015
Riley Pagett, Kristy Meyer, Melanie Jackson, National FFA Convention & Expo
The 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo celebrated its last year of a three-year run in Louisville during the last week of October. A record 65,173 FFA members and guests throughout the United States attended the 88th National FFA Convention & Expo.
The convention and expo brought an estimated economic impact of $40 million, making it the largest convention for Louisville this year. Attendees stayed in 136 hotels within a 60-mile radius of Louisville. Beginning in 2016, the convention and expo will move to Indianapolis from until 2024.
“Amplify” was the theme for this year’s convention and expo. “With the opportunities we are given in our lives, we must take action and share the message of agriculture with others,” said 2015-16 National FFA President Andy Paul, a student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia. “It’s time we all amplify our voice when it comes to the message of agriculture, and boost our impact.”
Nine general sessions drew FFA members together at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Additionally, throughout the week, students attended more than 70 leadership and personal growth workshops. FFA members toured industry destinations, including Papa John’s international headquarters, Ford’s Louisville assembly plant, Churchill Downs and more.
While at convention, students had countless opportunities to engage exhibitors from more than 450 corporations, organizations and colleges at the expo inside the center. Also present at the convention and expo was The Alliance to End Hunger which was advocating the end of hunger domestically and abroad. The Alliance collected 40 student-written postcards which will be sent to elected federal officials urging to seek ways in which we can all end hunger.
Also advocating for the end to hunger and fighting hunger in local communities was the National FFA Living to Serve team at the Hunger Games booth in the expo.
“We really wanted students to take away the idea that they can make a difference in their community,” said Kayla Lumpford-Mitchell, Living to Serve team program manager. “All they need to do is just start. They just need to hit the ground running, start researching hunger in their community and develop a service plan for how they’re going to fight it.”
FFA members had the opportunity to participate in an archery contest at the exhibit where they launched arrows at hunger targets. After their shot, members followed up by writing down ideas for solving hunger in their communities.
“I work in a grocery store in the produce department,” said Amber Medeiros, Bristol FFA member from Massachusetts. “Every night, we have to take away stuff that expires for the next day, so I wrote down that we could donate all of that food instead of throwing it away.”
The Hunger Games challenge and other FFA hunger initiatives is designed to inspire FFA members to fight hunger and log their hours with the Hunger Heroes Challenge. Last year, National FFA set a goal of FFA members donating 2.5 million meals. FFA members rose to the occasion, so this year, the goal is 3.5 million meals by the 2016 convention.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.
About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.