Fairchild Garden recently conducted its 11th annual Fairchild Challenge Urban Sustainability: Environmental Debates and Project Showcase.
Some 400 local high school (HS) and middle school (MS) students in the Fairchild Challenge multidisciplinary, environmental education outreach program demonstrated their knowledge of urban sustainability through debates and an innovative projects showcase in four areas: inventions (HS), green cuisine (MS and HS), community garden models (HS), and agriscience (HS). About 150 students participated in the debates and an additional 250 students participated in the Projects Showcase.
Five of the 13 environmental debate topics for high school students only included:
• A bill to repeal COOL (country of origin labeling) requirements under Title X on food;
• A bill to extend Florida’s Big Sugar subsidies through 2016;
• A bill to require schools to serve 50 percent of lunches with organic produce and products;
• A bill to outlaw growing genetically modified crops in South Florida, and
• A bill promoting the expansion of the $11 billion crop insurance program, paid for by cutting the Conservation Stewardship Program.
John Cervera, Christopher Columbus High School, was the presiding officer of the House of Representatives student school debate (each body debated the same questions).
The following are the Student Choice debate winners who were presented by Dr. Larry Feldman, vice chair of the Miami- Dade County Public Schools Board: House of Representatives School: John Cervera, Christopher Columbus, first place, and Giovanni Cabezas, Miami Killian, second place. Senate School: Emily Nieves, John A. Ferguson, first place, and Amber Tavakoli, TERRA, second place.
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