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Video by Cedar Ridge students was one of nine screened at UN Assembly in New York

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Former Cedar Ridge High School student Justus Alder, 18, won an international 360 video competition.

"We all eat. We may not all be on a sports team, go to church or practice religion, but we all eat."

That’s the premise stated in “Around the Same Table,” a four-minute video by students at Hillsborough’s Cedar Ridge High School, which was chosen as one of the nine winners of the My Word 360° contest.

Out of 76 student video submissions from 24 countries around the world, only nine were chosen as winners and screened at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

My World 360° is a contest hosted in partnership by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Campaign, Digital Promise Global and Oculus from Facebook. The contest aims to give global youth creators the opportunity to create a media project about a sustainability issue relevant to their community. 

Local communities can depict how they are committed to sustainability in the hopes of inspiring renewed effort at the United Nations Assembly toward its global Sustainable Development Goals, such as clean energy and zero hunger.

For the small town of Hillsborough and students at Cedar Ridge, the solution to sustainability is the mutual commitment to sustainability practices between modern and traditional farming. 

Andrea DeGette, videography instructor at Cedar Ridge High School, said she received the Digital Promise Global virtual reality technology grant of $1,200 to make the video in March 2019. 

“I asked my upper-division students what they thought a local sustainability issue was and decided that the intersection of progressive farming with traditional, family farming was critical,” DeGette said. 

DeGette pointed out the similarities between traditional and modern farming. 

“What do we have in common? Well, both types of farms want sustainability for the same reasons, and different reasons,” DeGette said.

Justus Alder, a former senior and student of DeGette's, shot and edited Around the Same Table." 

"We were trying to show was sustainable farming practices look like," he said.

A self-proclaimed film enthusiast, Alder said he hopes to “create environmentally conscious videos in the future, but in a fun way that people want to watch.”

Alexis Barnes, former Cedar Ridge student and graduate from UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, helped teach Alder and the other students how to shoot using the 360 virtual reality equipment.

He worked at Anathoth community farms and garden, one of the two farming locations the video footage is from. 

According to its website, Anathoth is a nonprofit farm that uses sustainable practices to grow and distribute vegetables to 200 families in the Orange County area. 

“Around the Same Table” also depicts Queen B Farms, a calf-cow family farm that Cedar Ridge senior Charles Bunker remembers working at since he was in diapers. In terms of sustainability, Queen B works with local distribution centers in Mebane and uses the produce that would otherwise be thrown out by giving it to their cattle. 

“If a watermelon drops on the floor, they can’t use it, so they give it to us,” Bunker said.

Alder and Bunker were in DeGette's class when the grant was awarded, and she said she thought they would be perfect for the project.

"I knew the boys for a long time and I knew they loved the earth, and the farms, and the work they did on the farms," DeGette said.

Although Anathoth and Queen B approach sustainability in different ways, their mutual commitment to it represents an intersection between modern and traditional farming in the Orange County area.  

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Thanks to the film, the small sphere of Orange County organic farming can advocate for global efforts on joint farming sustainability. 

“The intent of the video is to show different voices agreeing, and how local solutions to sustainability can bring global change,” DeGette said. 

Alder was invited on a paid trip to the screening in New York on Sept. 24 and 25. There, he had a booth and helped viewers navigate how to use the 360 virtual reality headset to view “Around The Same Table.”

All nine of the My World 360° videos can be found at myworld360.org and “Around the Same Table” can be viewed here.

city@dailytarheel.com