Ana Mahecha, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography used her travel grant award to participate in the American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting in Boston, MA from April 5-9, 2017 where she presented preliminary results of her dissertation research "Adaptive challenges to climate change and alternative economic agri-food futures in the Capital-Region of Bogotá" in the paper session "Food Security and Resilience in Mountain Environments". Ana’s research focuses on the opportunities and challenges within alternative food networks that can provide small-scale farmers with possibilities and strategies to improve their livelihoods and respond to climate change.
Ana explained, “participation in this session allowed me to deepen into the discussion of food security and resilience to growing pressures on agro-environmental resources in a context of rapid environmental change. This particular session shed light on food security and resilience in the distinctive ecological and cultural geographies of mountain environments, such as the Andes, the Himalayas and the Sierra Nevada in California. Through the different presentations, we—the presenters—could discuss how mountainous regions are home to significant human cultural diversity, to unique biodiversity, and also are the source of multiple ecosystem services. These landscapes are also vulnerable to climate change, manifested primarily with more extreme rainfall and temperature patterns. Thus, we could share methods and approaches to understanding food security and resilience together, drawing from case studies.” Ana noted that her participation enabled her to meet and connect with scholars that are working on similar themes and allowed her to delve deeper into themes, methodologies, approaches and theories that are vital to her research as well as gave her the opportunity to meet scholars that helped her to think differently beyond her research topic.