university sustainable agriculture
WSU Extension Offers Home Food Production Program for those Limited by Financial or Physical HardshipMarch 28, 2013 | Andrea Watts
A new educational program in Cowlitz County, Wash., is taking the fear out of gardening and enabling people who are limited by financial or physical hardship to experience the rewards of having their own garden. In the program’s first year, there were 22 applicants vying for 10 spots; this year, there are 61.
“You really get to know these people after reading the application,” says Gary Fredricks, the director of the WSU Extension office for Cowlitz County. From this year’s 61 applicants, he and the committee of Master Gardeners selected the 10 applicants that are the next cohort of the Home Vegetable Educational Garden (VEG) program.
The following is a candid conversation with young farmers, Matt Hyde and Sarah Wertz about their operation, Rabbit Run Farm in Skull Valley, Arizona.
What compelled you, especially as a young couple to get into sustainable farming?
We both enjoy working outdoors and eating good food. The farming lifestyle represents our values and beliefs. Also, we took the class Small Scale Agriculture at Prescott College held at Whipstone Farm in Paulden, Arizona. Following the class, we talked with the farmers Cory and Shanti and asked if we could work for them the following season. We really enjoyed it! The next season, Byrnie at Ridgeview Farms offered us land to use as kind of a trial for farming on our own The next season we were offered the farm manager position at Jenner Farm in Skull Valley and moved our farming operation there. We’ve been farming ever since.
University of Wisconsin-Madison student awarded one of nation’s first organic plant breeding fellowshipsNovember 8, 2012 | UW-Madison CALS
News Release – The story of how Tessa Peters ended up snagging one of the nation’s first graduate fellowships in organic plant breeding begins in an unlikely place: the middle of the ocean.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics, she set out as a geophysicist, mapping the ocean floor aboard a large ship, working five weeks on, five weeks off. During her time off, she traveled widely and stumbled upon her new career path.
Guiltinan is a professor of plant molecular biology in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He currently runs the Guiltinan Lab, where he studies crop improvement and sustainable farming methods. Guiltinan was a key player in The International Cocoa Genome Sequencing Consortium, a worldwide effort to sequence and analyze the genome of the Criollo variety of the Theobromo cacao plant, the key ingredient in high-quality chocolate. Using genome sequencing programs and computer clusters at Penn State and abroad, Guiltinan and his colleagues have mapped the cacao genome and are working to breed better, more disease-resistant cacao plants.
Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center Receives $6.5M Grant for Biogas, Bioenergy ResearchNovember 1, 2012 | OSU Extension
News Release — WOOSTER, Ohio – Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy to test and expand a university-developed technology that can produce biogas from a variety of solid organic wastes and bioenergy crops.
Awarded through the Biomass Research Development Initiative (BRDI), the three-year grant will also allow researchers to develop technology for converting biogas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels, with the aim of further diversifying the country’s currently available suite of renewable transportation fuels.
News Release – ARCHIBALD, La. – Michael Blazier is familiar with growing trees. As an LSU AgCenter forestry researcher, he has been involved in many timber-related projects that have helped determine the most efficient methods for producing quality lumber. Now, he is working on growing switchgrass, a fast-growing native plant that shows promise as a biofuel feedstock.
“Switchgrass is native to nearly the entirety of North America. In Louisiana, it is native to the Cajun prairie ecosystem,” Blazier said.
But rural areas, despite their wide-open spaces and fertile farmland, can be food deserts, too.
An Ohio State University Extension community development specialist worked with two student interns to examine this seeming paradox to discover more about people who live in rural food deserts and how they access fresh produce.
Penn State Led Research Project Receives $10 Million Grant to Develop Perennial Feedstock Production SystemsOctober 28, 2012 | Penn State University
News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Northeast could help lead the way to a renewable-energy-based economy by utilizing marginal and abandoned land to grow energy crops such as perennial grasses and fast-growing woody plants.
That’s the goal of a new research and education project led by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and supported by a $10 million grant,
News Release – CALS researchers are leading a new $2.1 million, USDA-funded project designed to help vegetable producers and processors get rewarded in the marketplace for producing their products in a sustainable manner. Scientists in five states will collaborate to create a system for reporting the sustainability of agricultural practices that will be credible to consumers and workable for producers.
The grant, funded through USDA’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative, was announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack during a visit to Madison on Oct. 1.
San Diego Org Offers Unique Urban Farming Training Program, Preps Students for Careers in Sustainable AgOctober 2, 2012 | Missy Smith
In downtown San Diego, on San Diego City College’s campus, Seeds@City Urban Farm is growing a variety of crops, as well as grooming students for careers in sustainable agriculture. Formed in 2008, the 1-acre urban farm—a cooperative of San Diego City College and San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project—gives students hands-on training in sustainable urban farming.
“Seeds@City was created to fill a void in southern California for those who want to learn about organic farming in an urban setting,” explains Erin Rempala, associate professor of biology and Seeds@City program manager.
News Release – FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Faculty from Michigan State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University gathered earlier this month in a new effort to strengthen both research and Extension outreach in food safety issues.
“These are all exceptional agriculture institutions in their own right, but when you combine them you suddenly have a phenomenal research and Extension powerhouse,” said John Baker, associate director of MSU AgBioResearch. “We’re striving to stimulate and develop our regional efforts by honing in on the synergy across these three universities.”
News Release – UC Davis is one of six recipients nationwide, and the only one in California, to receive a $1 million award in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s 2012 i6 Challenge Grant competition. The university will use the grant to establish the Clean AgTech Innovation Center.
Reps. Doris Matsui and Mike Thompson, whose districts take in parts of UC Davis, announced the grant on Sept. 13.
News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It’s a rare event when one technological breakthrough can have far-reaching effects in fields as diverse as stage lighting, horticulture, entomology, energy management, and potentially, space colonization. Penn State researchers from theatre arts and horticulture have collaborated with the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) to fine-tune lighting for improved plant growth and energy conservation in greenhouses.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been used for years because of their energy-efficient properties and theatre arts professionals are well aware of the lighting sources’ ability to enhance drama on stage. But now a research grant, secured in 2010, is helping to show how the same lights can have a multi-pronged benefit in greenhouses.