Chicago high school students listen to speakers on a career panel as part of the Agricultural Academy by Hazel Technologies and other Chicago area companies to promote sustainability and careers in agriculture. ( Courtesy Hazel Technologies )

Hazel Technologies Inc., Chicago, recently invited students to participate in the Agricultural Academy, which the shelf-life extension company plans to host every year.

Other Chicago-area companies participated, including greenhouse tomato grower MightyVine Tomatoes, food waste fighter non-profit ReFed, non-profit Mindful Waste and the Cook County Farm Bureau, according to a news release.

The Feb. 19 event at Hazel Tech headquarters brought more than 30 Chicago high school students to learn about agriculture and sustainability. They participated in career planning panels, learned about the diverse supply chains for fresh produce and watched lab demonstrations, according to the release.

“Many of the world’s biggest problems will be solved by future generations,” Hazel Tech CEO Aidan Mouat said in the release. “Here at Hazel Tech one of our goals is to inspire the local student community in Chicago to pursue careers in agriculture and sustainability.”

Hazel sachets, which emit a vapor that enhances shelf life, according to the release. The packets are placed in boxes of bulk produce when they’re shipped, extending the shelf-life of produce up to three times, according to the release.

“A fifth of all natural resources used to grow fresh produce are wasted because so much of that produce is never eaten,” Nathan Lohrmann, stakeholder engagement manager at ReFED, “Programs like this play an important role in building a more sustainable and just food system by showing younger generations the positive impacts they can have on the system.”

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