When the lights were finally dimmed on the six-month world fair – EXPO Milano 2015 – in Italy some six million visitors had passed through the USA Pavilion making it one of the most visited Pavilions of the 140 countries at EXPO. See here
Overall, between May and October more than 20 million people visited the EXPO to see the efforts of all the participating countries in highlighting the EXPO theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. A central pillar of the EXPO theme was sustainability described as an ‘overarching, universal value that permeates all aspects of the Expo and to project a sustainable future for the planet and society as a whole’. And this was captured throughout the USA Pavilion under its banner – American Food 2.0.
The U.S. Sustainability Alliance was one of the sponsors of the USA Pavilion and took the opportunity to showcase the USSA’s efforts to promote the sustainability of U.S. agriculture, forestry and fishery. In the first week of EXPO, the USSA provided two speakers for the very first Terrace Talk at the Pavilion when South Dakota soybean farmer Bob Metz and USSA consultant David Green spoke about U.S. farming practices to an audience of more than 50 visitors – many of them from an Italian high school, who asked many challenging and perceptive questions. The Terrace Talks were an ongoing feature of the Pavilion’s activities with daily Talks throughout the six-month EXPO run.
Two other highlights of the USSA participation were the participation of Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack as a keynote speaker at a USSA Panel – This Is How We Grow – in July when he also was joined at the event by a White House Delegation. In October, Under Secretary Michael Scuse also as a keynote speaker at another USSA Panel – Agricultural Innovation: Planting the Seeds for a Sustainable Future.
In parallel with these public events, the members of the USSA were featured over the six-months on the USA Pavilion web site with articles on how U.S. farmers, foresters and fishermen produce, harvest and grow sustainably. One of the main messages was highlighted through an infographic featuring 100 years of U.S. laws and policies on conservation and sustainability. Elsewhere, the USSA was featured on poster-type sites within the Pavilion together with contact information.
The USSA also had the opportunity to provide flyers or brochures for distribution throughout the six months of EXPO. Rather than using such material, an innovative approach was the design of postcard was designed – see below – carrying a powerful and impactful message together with contact and website information. More than 14,000 postcards were handed out to visitors to the Pavilion by U.S. Student Ambassadors. These postcards received much favorable comment with many saying they would be a ‘keepsake’ of their visit. On the other hand, many cards were used as postcards and sent to family and friends.
*The USSA represents the following USDA FAS Cooperators: the U.S. Soybean Export Council; American Hardwood Export Council; Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; USA Rice Federation; U.S. Grains Council; U.S. Dairy Export Council; USA Poultry & Egg Council; North American Export Grain Association; Food Export Midwest; Food Export Northeast; US Wheat Associates and the Organic Trade Association.