Following the success of a 2022 U.S. Consulate Public Diplomacy grant, a first-year student of Marine Sciences at the University of Lagos, Ms. Oluwadamilola Sansadeen, travelled to the United States this summer for a training program on permaculture and sustainable food systems.
Sansadeen, a volunteer project manager at an agriculture nonprofit, ProtectOzone Sustainable Livelihood Initiative, received two months of mentorship from Dr. Jeremy Cowan, an assistant professor of sustainable food production systems at Kansas State University.
In addition to gaining practical skills and knowledge on creating sustainable and resilient agricultural systems, she completed the Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University and interned at the Willow Lake Student Farm of the university.
Sansadeen described her experience at the university as valuable, as it provided her with the unique opportunity to collaborate with multiple agricultural stakeholders in Kansas’ thriving permaculture community.
“Embracing sustainable agriculture paves the way ahead for creating a food-secure Nigeria,” Sansadeen said. “During my time at Kansas State University, I learned how to operate farm implements. I do not even know how to drive a car yet, but I can operate a tractor.”
U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Joe Kruzich noted that the collaboration between the U.S. university professor and the Nigerian undergraduate underscores the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to fostering academic exchange.
“By connecting a bright young mind from Nigeria with a prestigious U.S. university, we are not only fostering academic and cultural exchange but also promoting innovative solutions to shared global challenges,” Kruzich added.
Dr. Cowan, Sansadeen’s mentor and assistant professor of sustainable food production systems at Kansas State University, said he was proud to support her aspirations to make a difference in the field of permaculture.
“Sansadeen was an asset and a joy to have in our permaculture design certificate course and in her volunteer efforts at Kansas State University’s Willow Lake Student Farm. She brought a completely new perspective to both programs, introducing Kansans to her Nigerian culture. Her presence and impact here are already missed,” Dr. Cowan added.