The Aspire to Grow leadership event recently held in Fort Collins, Colorado, was created to empower girls and women to pursue careers in the agriculture industry.

The Agrium Women’s Leadership Group and the Colorado Future Farmers of America  Foundation (FFA) of the Aspire to Grow conference, offered the opportunity for outstanding high school ladies, as well as college age women, interested in agriculture to participate. This year, Journey 2050 was also invited to be a part of the event!

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Arriving at the CoBank Center for Agriculture Education on the Colorado State University’s farm, I was met with an excited energy as soon as I walked into the building. More than 130 young FFA women who were all very excited and passionate about agriculture attended the conference and had the opportunity to learn more about the industry.

Two very inspiring and motivating key note speakers, Kelsey Pope and Danell Kalcevic, both who volunteer for a grass roots movement called CommonGround, kicked off the amazing event.

CommonGround consists of a group of farmers having conversations about how food is grown and what it takes to produce it. They share their personal experiences, as well as discuss advancement in science and research, to help consumers, like you, sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming.

I often get asked similar questions about  food and farming when I’m teaching Journey 2050 and can relate to wading my way through the myths that many people hear about how their food is produced! At Journey 2050, students are usually surprised about what present-day decisions they can make today that directly impacts society, the environment and the economy using the unique app.

Next up was a phenomenal session by Kristi Hemmer, founder of Academy for Women’s Empowerment, entitled POWERshop: Playing the Game. This session was all about how woman can be successful and break down workplace barriers on a farm. As we sat and listened to Kristi, all the women at my table at one time exclaimed, “wow, I wish we had this session when we were younger!”

As Kristi spoke, I looked around the room at all the girls whose faces lit up and they began to sit a little taller the longer she spoke. It was an amazing transformation in just a short 45 minutes! You couldn’t help but feel inspired and strong after listening to Kristi speak.

The afternoon consisted of three breakout sessions which is where Journey 2050 got to shine! Working through a mini version of Journey 2050 with girls who were so engaged in agriculture was awesome!

I rarely speak to or work with students who have an agriculture background. They were so engaged and excited to make a difference in agriculture. We were able to discuss the challenges we face in feeding a growing population and some of the career options that are out there that are connected with agriculture.

It was a great trip to Fort Collins and an event I hope to attend again in the future. With events like Aspire to Grow, being a woman in agriculture is starting to look a little easier!