1 Oct 2021

Rotorua teenager takes her ideas to the world

From Country Life, 9:39 pm on 1 October 2021

Eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Lamb sometimes works in her family's vegetable garden at night because her days are so crammed full volunteering to improve the environment.

She's the only New Zealander selected to attend this year's Bayer International Youth Ag Summit.

No caption

Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Two thousand 18 to 25 year olds from around the globe were in the running for the 100 spots at the summit.

"I was like why not  just try, so then I got into it which is quite crazy."

Kaitlyn had to pitch an idea to feed a hungry planet.

"Mine is to have any urban farm every one kilometre. It's actually the idea of the Urban Farmers Alliance.  I just want to help (them) get their goal."

"Our food system could be so much better and there are beautiful ways to grow food and I think it's really important for people to see where their food comes from and they will appreciate it more and waste less."

No caption

Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

She says an urban garden every kilometre will remove fossil fuel inputs from vegetable growing.

"People can walk to the urban farm to buy their produce and know who grows it as well...They can return their food waste to the urban farm and it can be created into compost to grow more food so it's a circular system rather than what we have now which is just linear."

Kaitlyn's no stranger to growing food.

Once a week she volunteers at Lux Organics, a vegetable growing farm on the outskirts of Rotorua.

At her school, John Paul College, she tends the Enviro-Group's garden during interval and lunchtime. The vegetables are given to families in need.

And she has a garden at home

"Sometimes I'm gardening in the dark because that's the only time I have."

Kaitlyn and her twin sister Jessica volunteer with Forest and Bird, with Whakarewarewa Pest Control and, at the weekend, they often run compost-making workshops. Kaitlyn is a food guide with Eat New Zealand and she volunteers with the Rotorua Seed Library, with Kai Rotorua and is the youngest member of Biodynamics New Zealand.

"I'm very busy but I love it so much. I can't just do nothing when we've got a planet to save."

The biennial International Youth Ag Summit is being held online in November this year.

"I guess the outcome is to get the already passionate people to implement their ideas (of how to feed a hungry planet) in our daily lives because we need to act immediately. ....By learning from other people about what they are doing it can really give you that extra boost and passion to continue."

Jessica Lamb (L) and Kaitlyn Lamb

Jessica Lamb (L) and Kaitlyn Lamb Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles