United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network proudly present Brittany Pierce, a Millennium Fellow and Campus Director for the class of 2018.
Brittany Pierce is an upcoming sophomore at Alma College. She is double majoring in Sociology and History with a minor in Public Health. She has participated in Model United Nations for one year and has been in both the General Assembly Fourth Committee and the Food and Agriculture Organization. This experience allowed her to research topics such as human rights issues and sustainable agricultural and development practices. Brittany is also a member of the Public Affairs Institute and the Honors Program at the college. Outside of the classroom, Brittany is a member of the varsity Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She is also Head Editor of the campus newspaper, President of the Student Agricultural Group for Advancement, a First-Year Guide and a KCP Mentor for freshman students. After college, Brittany hopes to join the Peace Corps. to be an Agricultural Extension Volunteer and to attend law school. She is passionate about helping others and hopes to use her educational experiences to promote positive social change.
Over the course of this fellowship, I am most excited about all of the connections that I will
make and continue to hold with me going forward. I’m also excited for the training I will receive
in order to cultivate my leadership skills and my ability to continue to promote positive social
change. Being a sociology student, I understand how our nation systematically traps the poor in the lower levels of society, making upward social mobility nearly impossible for them. With this project, I fully believe that we can help increase the economic standing of our local farmers and community members while increasing their levels of health at the same time.
The Big Box Farm Project is aimed at creating an indoor aquaponics based urban farm to help
eliminate the diseases that come with inequality and poor nutrition in Gratiot County. During the fellowship, we will focus on running our own aquaponics unit on a smaller scale to gather data and research how to make our future large scale operation run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Gratiot County is a huge agricultural center, but traditional agricultural methods are outdated and lead to extreme amounts of waste. Since aquaponics based farming uses 90 percent less water than traditional farm methods, we want to employ this method and test how the yields of this system compare to the inputs and yields of the farmers around us. We will host several community events in order to demonstrate this innovative and sustainable technique to students and other community members all while teaching them about food insecurity and the major issues in our food system ranging from food waste to exploitation by corporations.
By December 2018, we will have completed comprehensive research about aquaponics and
sustainable farming practices. We will also have hosted numerous community events; we want at 1,000 community members to visit our aquaponics system on campus and engage in a dialogue with us about food system issues and sustainable food production. In order to reach this, we will work with local farmers, local school systems, prospective students visiting our campus, government and other public officials, local hospitals and health facilities, business owners, and more.
We also plan on applying for at least three more grants in order to fund our end goal
project of purchasing the K-Mart building and running a fully operational urban farm. Finally,
we will work on finalizing a partnership with our campus dining hall stating that they will use
the food from our urban farm to feed students and faculty in the campus dining hall rather than purchasing pre-packaged or frozen food from a major food corporation. Ultimately, we hope to
educate the community about food as a public health concern while teaching them new ways to reach food security at a price that they can afford. We will purchase the vacant K-Mart building in downtown Alma, Michigan and use this site as a hub for our indoor urban farming operation.
Once the Big Box Farm is fully operational, we want to make it a true cooperative business
between us and our local farmers to help bring economic and social prosperity back to Gratiot