368: Matthew Kozuch on Youth and Sustainable Gardening.

Having the perspective and impact of younger generations on growing food.

Matthew currently serves as the Build Day Coordinator for Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) which he’s been a part of since joining the UC Berkeley chapter as a project leader in 2014. He graduated in May 2017 with a B.S. in Energy Engineering and is facilitating solar photovoltaic maintenance for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

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Build Day is an initiative started by ESW creating local sustainable change by bringing together technical expertise and community organizing.  During the ESW Build Day event this past April, the chapter met with about seventy other volunteers to help construct a chicken coop, plant a strawberry patch, and create sheet mulching for expanding the Hoover Hawks Victory Garden.   About the ESW Build Day Program:  Build Day is a new initiative created by Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) that creates local sustainable change by bringing together local technical expertise and community power. Regular citizens, community leaders, and engineers will work together to design, educate, and build a sustainable solution to a locally pressing issue such as stable food production, clean and equal water access, and urban rehabilitation. Through the Build Day program, we are challenging students to consider and propose new, innovative solutions to tackle energy, water, transportation, public space, and engineering social justice issues to address resiliency and sustainability issues within their communities.

In This Podcast:

Early childhood impressions of environmental pollution led Matthew Kozuch to seek out solutions, and while at UC Berkley he worked on several projects with Engineers for a Sustainable World.  After graduation he continued with them and became the National Build Day Coordinator. This is the first of hopefully an annual event in more than 50 chapters across the United States.

Listen in and learn about:

    • Some of the projects he has overseen across the country
    • Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) and the Build Day Program
    • The non-profit organization of ESW and all of the active members
    • Projects they have done and the first year of the Build Day Project
    • The food insecurity topics they have worked on
    • The UC Berkley’s chapter project at Hoover Elementary in Oakland
    • A memorable moment when a student explained the fruit smoothie he had made
    • Helping kids learn where food comes from
    • Enjoying the enthusiasm for the project from the elementary school students when working with the UC Berkley students
    • Trying to alter perceptions and unite a community
    • Other Build Day Projects across the country continue
    • A shout out to Wanda at Hoover Elementary
    • He gets stuff done by getting to know the engineering students and communicating well with them

As well as:

His failure – Being an ESW member and a project lead and trying to keep people engaged on a topic that the team did not understand

His success – The Build Day Project nationally in ESW chapters

His drive – The desire to inspire more and more engineers to be at the forefront of solving sustainability issues. Childhood impressions of pollution on the environment, and his experiences growing up in San Francisco. 

His advice – When you are talking with the younger generation follow some simple how to’s on how to get young people excited

Matthew’s Book recommendations:       

Producer’s note.. We can give you a link to a large retailer, and they can sell the books cheaper, but we felt that it was more important to support the small, privately owned bookstore. Changing Hands Bookstore is very capable of shipping books, and if you order here you are helping a small business.

How to reach Matthew:    

Website: www.eswglobal.org

Check out Matthew’s Blog post:    

4 Ways to make Urban Farming Fun


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