News

Displaying all news from 2017.

  • Oregon State University Teaches the Farming Essentials

    Oregon State University has created a hybrid online-and in-person course to teach farmers the essentials to creating and developing a successful business.

    “Growing Farms” is meant to benefit novice farmers and those interested in farming for business better understand how to cultivate within the industry. The course is Oregon focused, however, it can be taken solely online from all over the country!

    For more information on dates, locations and registration, click here.

  • Save Your Crops: LGUs Collaborate for Field Crop Disease Resource Database

    Looking for more information on field crop diseases to protect your crops? The Crop Protection Network (CPN) produces collaborative Extension research on diseases affecting field crops in both the United States and Canada. The program hopes to communicate necessary information that will not only help identifying crop field diseases, but also manage their destruction.

    Currently, there are 24 full-length publications that focus how to identify and manage corn and soybean diseases, and the program consistently adds new resources as they are produced.

    Click here to access CPN’s resources.

    Land Grant Universities involved are: Purdue University, Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University Extension

  • Looking to Get Healthy in the New Year? LSU AgCenter Offers Advice on Diet Trends

    One of the most common resolutions for a new year is to lose weight and get healthier, and companies know it by pushing numerous diet and exercise plans on consumers. However, many of these diet suggestions aren’t the safest or healthiest plan.

    Louisiana State University’s AgCenter explores various current diet trends, such as paleo and gluten-free, and states that many lack important vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. And because these diets restrict a certain type of food, they are usually unsustainable for long-term weight loss. Instead, LSU AgCenter recommends following the U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate guide or Dietary Guidelines.

    Read more about LSU AgCenter’s diet recommendations and why diet trends don’t work here.

  • Urban Gardens Increase Food Security Among Low-Income Neighborhoods, University of California Finds

    While many households in cities have access to grocery stores with fresh fruit and vegetables, lower income neighborhoods often do not have the same opportunity. Growing an urban garden in such communities can increase access to produce and help families add to their vegetable intake.

    The University of California Cooperative Extension surveyed 85 community gardens and 50 home gardens to determine the impact of urban gardens in lower income neighborhoods. Through growing tomatoes, peppers, green peppers, and cucumbers, residents were able to double their vegetable intake. This cost-effective approach can be implemented in other cities to increase produce access and food security among lower income neighborhoods.

    Read more about the University of California Cooperative’s Extension findings here. Readers can also access the full report here.

  • Is Your Water Safe For Your Plants? There’s An App For That, Thanks to University of Arizona

    In the first app of its kind, Ag Water, designed by University of Arizona and University of California, Davis researchers, determines whether a water source is safe to use on produce. Ag Water predicts the quality of water from a source by using the user’s location, historical water quality data, and weather information. A user can also input certain qualities such as water temperature to strengthen the accuracy of Ag Water’s prediction.

    Ag Water not only helps with maintaining water quality, but also increases food safety by ensuring contaminated water is not used on produce. The app also helps growers test their water sources regularly, in conjunction with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2015.

    Read more about the Ag Water app here. The app is available for download in iTunes and Google Play stores.

  • Read This By January 13: Auburn University Investigates Sell-By Dates

    The solution to consumers throwing away over 30 percent of the total food supply may be as simple as changing a few words. Auburn University, in conjunction with Cornell University, found that date labels on produce and food, such as “use by” or “sell by” directly impacts how consumers view the product’s value.

    By using different date labels (“best by,” “fresh by,” “use by,” and “sell by”) and sized packaging, researchers were able to determine that consumers are very responsive to package size and dates and their willingness to waste food is based on that information. Therefore, different packaging and labeling of dates may help prevent consumers from wasting food, which tends to end up in landfills and contributes to greenhouse gases.

    Read more about the study and how food labeling impacts consumers here.

  • Clemson University Research Breathes New Life into Plants

    Forget their nutritional benefits – legumes are also genetically superior to other crops with their ability to convert nitrogen from the air we breathe to a form crops can use. All other crops have to receive nitrogen from the soil, which is why nearly $800 million was spent on nitrogen fertilizer in past years.

    Clemson University looks to change that. The recipients of a three-year National Science Foundation grant, three Clemson University researchers are investigating the genetics in legumes’ roots that allow them to convert nitrogen without a fertilizer. If all crops had this genetic capability, farmers would save money and runoff from nitrogen fertilizer, which frequently pollutes water sources, would significantly decrease.

    Read more about Clemson’s genetic research on legumes’ root and its impact here.

  • Iowan Farmers Collaborate to Build Farmers Network

    Iowa State University Extension program has a robust network for beginning farmers that is continuously growing. This program, which began in November, allows beginning farmers to build relationships with other experienced and new farmers in the region for advice and support.

    The Farmers Network also supports food-based farmers to strengthen the local food economy and by producing more food in the region. Northern Iowan farmers now have a support system as well as a group that allows them to collaborate.

    If you know a beginning local food farmer or a local food ally in Northeast Iowa who wants to connect, please invite them to join!

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Discovers Data Improves Farm Efficiency

    We may still be awhile off yet for self-driving vehicles on the typical farm, but Controlled Area Network (CAN) systems and GPS are providing an easier way to streamline harvests. CAN, along with GPS, come equipped with newer tractors and track a vehicle’s state, whether it’s in harvest, travel, delay, idle, or downtime.

    Brian Luck, a professor of Machinery Systems and Precision Agriculture Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the data can then be used to see patterns and gaps in efficiency. This will help farmers perfect the number of tractors running at once for better crop yield and to receive the most efficient harvest possible.

    Read more about how drones and devices improve farming efficiency here.

  • ew Market for Sustainable Biofuels, According to Washington State University Study

    A new type of biofuel using biological non-food sources may soon be readily available, and

    Washington State University discovered that consumers were willing to pay more for a more environmentally friendly type of fuel.

    First generation biofuels typically use food sources, like corn, which can increase the price of food and is less sustainable than second generation biofuels, which use materials like wood scraps. While this new biofuel does not exist commercially yet, if consumers are willing to pay a greater premium, the market of new biofuels might not be far behind.

    Read more about Washington State University’s study on new biofuels here.

  • Create a ‘Growing Business’ With Mississippi State University

    Libby Beard became the owner of a nursery about thirty years ago. Little did she know that she was holding onto a business that would blossom into influential horticulture.

    Thanks to Mississippi State University Extension, Beard was able to rely on the resources provided by the university to continue to grow the success of her business.  Like Beard, individuals in communities all across the nation rely on their universities to provide guidance into agriculture needs.

    Read more about how Mississippi State University and Libby Beard continue to grow together.

  • North Carolina State University Recalculates the Food Waste Equation

    Every year, Americans waste 40% of our food, but the actual figure might be even larger than that. Farm-level food waste, produce that never reaches the food supply, has not been accounted for in previous calculations which leads to an estimated 20.2 billion pounds of produce that is missing from the food waste equation.

    Farmers generally plant more than needed to accommodate potential disease, weather patterns, and other unexpected negative effects on their crops. However, this creates a surplus of produce that is unharvested due to timing, cost, or quality and then attributed as “farm-level loss.” Growers are not required to report these losses, and many studies on food waste only focus on post-harvest produce, ignoring farm-level loss.

    North Carolina State University has developed a way to estimate why and how much produce remains in a farmer’s field. By doing so, the university can look to identify ways to harvest the remaining crops to reduce food waste, increase our food supply, and make our farms more efficient.

    Read more about North Carolina State University’s work in food waste here.

  • Pennsylvania State University Helps Farmers’ Water Conservation Efforts Count

    The best way to improve water quality might be allowing farmers the freedom to do so themselves. Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences surveyed nearly 7,000 farmers who implemented water-quality best management practices voluntarily to reduce nitrogen and sediment levels in local water sources. The result? The Chesapeake Bay’s water quality improved.

    This is the first report of its kind to accurately capture and report self-implemented water-quality practices. Previously, government reporting has not tracked voluntarily efforts, but with Penn State’s help, Pennsylvania farmers’ efforts will count when documenting the state’s conservation progress. This report and the success of voluntarily practices will help other states track farmers’ self-implementation and increase the accuracy of states’ conservation reporting.

    Read more about the report documenting Pennsylvanian farmers’ conservation practices here.

  • This Game From Utah State University Has Children Eating More Veggies

    Utah State University is encouraging children to play with their food – with surprising results. Created by Heidi Wengreen, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, the game FIT increases children’s vegetable and fruit intake through role play.

    Every day, the game’s superheroes, known as Field Intensive Trainees (FITs), give the students a new school-wide goal, such as eating more vegetables to power the ship. The game has doubled the student’s vegetable eating.

    Because FIT is low-cost and does not require technology, the game is accessible for schools to eventually program themselves.

    Read more about the FIT game and its success here.

  • Sustaining Sustainability: University of Maine Develops New Theory

    Maintaining sustainability in communities revolves around the community itself, according to Timothy Waring at the University of Maine. When smaller groups of people cooperate as one, sustainability is better managed and easier to maintain.

    Waring is developing a “theory of sustainability” to further understand how communities manage natural resources successfully. His work has already identified that smaller social groups are better at managing resources, especially when supported by social and institutional factors.

    Waring will continue to study his theory using Maine’s own natural resources – lobsters and blueberries – as an example for other communities to institute and make sustainability more possible.

    Read more about Waring’s research on sustainability here.

     

  • Iowa State University Uses Algae to Treat Wastewater

    While algae might be an unsightly nuisance in home aquariums, the plant can improve wastewater efficiency at a low-cost. Most wastewater is treated with a bacterial process, which produces sludge that can cause disposal issues. Treatment systems using bacterial processes also cost more through facility upgrades.

    Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences discovered a system that uses conveyor belts with multiple layers of algae on them to treat wastewater. Not only is the system more cost-effective, it is also more sustainable as the algae produced from the process can be used as fertilizer. The Iowa team hopes the system will be implemented in small communities that may not be able to afford costly treatment upgrades to comply with new regulations.

    Read more about Iowa’s algae system and how it works here.

  • Class Offers Health Benefits to Diabetes Patients, Thanks to the Virginia Cooperative Extension

    A class offered in Prince William County, Virginia is helping individuals who live with diabetes manage the disease. The Virginia Cooperative Extension has been providing the “Living Well with Diabetes” class in recent years to help local residents control and live with diabetes. Throughout its implementation, 34 people have attended the course, and many say that it has made a positive change in their health and lives. Some attendees with diabetes have even experienced a decrease in A1C levels, which measures a person’s average levels of blood sugar over a three-month span.

    The class aims to educate attendees about helpful lifestyle changes for people with diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death in Virginia. Class participants learn about nutrition, physical activity, medication compliance, and stress management throughout the course, which includes four sessions and a follow-up session.

    To read more about how the Virginia Cooperative extension is helping patients with diabetes, click here.

  • Prairie View A&M University Research Helps Limited Resource Farmers

    Prairie View A&M University is studying the soil moisture of strawberries for big implications. Through 60 soil moisture sensors and a weather station to monitor the moisture within and below the root system, the team is determining irrigation requirements, plant water use, and excess water losses for organically grown strawberries.

    The research collected will be shared with limited resource farmers in the southeast region, especially in Texas and Arkansas, to increase production. The research is also part of a project to evaluate organic pest control products that will help control damaging diseases and insects in strawberries.

    Read more about Prairie View’s A&M University’s research here.

  • Fight Against Diabetes Advances, Thanks to LSU Agricultural Center Researchers

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved a qualified health claim for products containing high-amylose maize starch, which cites its effectiveness in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The starch was tested for health benefits with the help of researchers from the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University.

    Along with his colleagues, Professor Michael Keenan of the LSU AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sciences has been working with the starch for about 15 years. With a qualified claim from the FDA, food marketers are now allowed to promote the diabetes risk reduction benefits of the starch, if it is found in their products, and help improve blood glucose control among the public.

    Read more about how researchers are attempting to reduce the risk of diabetes here.

  • Oregon State University Researchers Tracks Fish Migration Patterns to Map Water Sources

    A new approach to tracking fish migration patterns has been launched with help from Oregon State University researchers.  The researchers are calling the results of their method, an ichthyograph, a chart that depicts key characteristics of a water source like stream flow, water temperatures, and the timing of upstream migration of fish.

    The ichthyograph allows fisheries managers and fish biologists to better understand upstream migration patterns and will help to explore how climate change and human-related activity like water control, floodplain stabilization, and road construction affects fish migration.

  • Ohio State University Extension Raises the Bar on Food Safety for Greenhouse-Grown Produce

    Sanja Ilic, the state food safety specialist for the Ohio State University Extension, is currently analyzing five years of research on greenhouse vegetable production. It is an effort being undertaken to ensure that food production in greenhouses meets the safest standards possible.

    Dr. Ilic and her colleagues visited 26 greenhouses across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala to research differences in production among greenhouse vegetable growers by testing thousands of samples from irrigation water, food contact, environmental surfaces, and the vegetables being grown. The results will help consumers enjoy fresh, safe vegetables no matter the season.

    Read more about Dr. Ilic’s food safety efforts here.

  • Tennessee Has Been Going through a Drought and University of Tennessee Agriculture Researchers are Proactively Preparing for the Worst

    Droughts are a real problem throughout the United States, and America’s farmers have been particularly hit hard with lower crop yields over the past few years. This month, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is sending surveys to over 5,000 state producers to understand how to proactively help Tennessee farmers during the next drought.

    The university plans to use this research as a way to educate all farmers about the different types of technology and resources they have at their disposal. For example, having more Tennessee farmers make use of cover crops – crops known to help promote soil moisture – would help maintain their crop yields during a dry period.

    What other information are University of Tennessee researchers collecting to help their state’s farmers? Click here to learn more.

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology Finds Climate Change Affects More Than Just Weather Patterns

    It’s no surprise that climate change affects weather patterns and contributes to rising temperatures, which can also raise sea levels. However, those rising sea levels affect animal and plant life in coastal ecosystems, and when the change happens suddenly, the damage can be significant.

    To help predict rising sea levels and prepare ecosystems for a change, New Jersey Institute of Technology studied environmental trends such as water temperature, water pressure, and salinity, which change before sea levels actually rise. Now, by monitoring these factors, scientists can anticipate rising sea levels and prepare ecosystems for the change.

    Curious how NJIT figured out the environmental trends? Read more about their research here.

  • Consumers Demand More Ready-To-Eat Food and Cornell University Answers

    As consumers continue to rely on convenience when it comes to food, ready-to-eat food has seen an increase in purchasing. What else is increasing? Foodborne illnesses.

    Cornell University has developed new technology to specifically treat ready-to-eat foods to prevent foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life. The answer is a high-pressure food processor, which surrounds food packages with water and then puts the package through 87,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. The processor will not only answer increasing consumer demand for ready-to-eat foods, but help ensure safer healthier choices.

    Want to see how the processor works? Click here.

  • University of Delaware Looks to Protect a Universal Food Source

    Rice is one of the most consumed crops in the world but did you know it contains arsenic? Arsenic is a known carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer, and traces of the chemical are found in rice. Rice absorbs arsenic through groundwater and soil, so if a region has water contamination, the chances of arsenic poisoning through rice consumption is higher.

    To date, no government authority has set up regulations on arsenic-related exposure in foods so the University of Delaware (UD) has teamed up with Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) to set the standard and keep rice safe for the world.

    See UD and BAU’s research methods to protect rice in action here.

  • Massachusetts Is SNAPping Out of Food Insecurity (via University of Massachusetts Extension)

    In 2015, 15.8 million households were considered “food insecure,” which means they had inconsistent access to healthy food. For Massachusetts, nearly one in ten households (almost 200,000 children) don’t receive food they need.

    To help , University of Massachusetts Extension implemented nutrition education programs to low-income families and youth. Over 65,000 individuals participated in their programs with great results – over half of participating adults changed their dietary intake, improved their ability to choose foods, and acquired skills to be more food secure. With these programs, food insecurity may continue to decline for Massachusetts and provide an example for other states to follow.

    How did they do it? Read what the nutrition education program offered to communities here.

  • Protect Your Heart This Valentine’s Day With Alcorn State University

    During American Heart Month, there are constant reminders to improve our heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans every year, and prevention begins with you. So, for this month, Alcorn State University offers tips you can take to keep you from being a statistic.

    One of the simplest changes to help prevent heart disease is incorporating healthy foods into your diet. Eating more fruits and veggies keep blood pressure in check and provide the recommended nutrients needed to stay healthy so visit your local farmer’s market and stock up!

    Check out Alcorn State University’s other tips for a heart healthy life here.

  • Tuskegee University Prevents Natural Disasters’ Impact on Crop Production

    Every year, droughts and other natural disasters impact agricultural production across the United States contributing to food insecurity and rising prices.

    To reduce droughts’ impact on crop production, Tuskegee University researched forecasting to measure long-term effects of weather patterns on crops. By monitoring weather data, farmers can manage risks in the future and form preventative measures. Not only will this increase food production, it will also stabilize produce prices when natural disasters occur.

    Did you know the research started in Tanzania? Read more about the project here.  

  • With Warmer Climates, Snowmelts Are Reducing Water Availability in Communities

    Contrary to what you may think, warmer climates create a slower and earlier snowmelt during the winter. The snow starts melting sooner in the season and earlier during the day, as days are shorter. With a slower melt, the amount of water reaching the ground where it doesn’t evaporate is reduced so most of the snowmelt doesn’t create a runoff and never reaches downstream.

    University of Nevada – Reno discovered that with a reduced runoff, there is less water available for drinking and agriculture as the snowmelt never reaches reservoirs. Nearly 60 million people depend on snowmelt for their water supply so with continued warmer climates, water availability will be greatly reduced.

    Read exactly how warmer climates affect water availability here.

  • Farm Equipment May Influence Farmer’s View of Climate Change, University of Vermont Finds

    Irrigation systems help supplement water to crops, but the systems might also be impacting the farmers’ perspective on climate change.

    As irrigation systems maintain crops’ growth without impact from droughts and other weather patterns, farmers are less likely to realize climate change in their region. This causes unawareness in producers, and they are less likely to implement green processes that help prevent climate change.

    University of Vermont links this realization to show the impact of farm infrastructure on climate perception. With this knowledge, Vermont can educate producers everywhere on the importance of recognizing climate change and incorporating preventative measures.

    University of Vermont’s study is the first of its kind – read the report here.

  • Balance Your Irrigation with a New App from University of Missouri

    Crop irrigation can be a tricky balancing game – water too much and you might see a loss of nutrients. Water too little and a dry field reduces crop yield.

    University of Missouri Extension takes the guessing out of irrigation with their new app, Crop Water Use. The app sets itself up with the farm’s soil information and location to input the correct rainfall information. Then, all farmers have to do is enter the irrigations they make for their personalized recommendations on when to irrigate next. The Extension encourages farmers to register now before spring to make your crop yield your best yet.

    The app incorporates two different methods to calculate recommendations– one from the 1960s! Read about its development here.

  • The 7th Most Important Crop Gets a Makeover from North Carolina State University

    Do you know what the world’s seventh most important crop is? Sweet potatoes have increased in popularity lately with sweet potato fries and sweet potato casseroles, and researchers at North Carolina State University are investigating how to make this beloved potato even more nutritious.

    The team at NC State University will research the genetics of the sweet potato to optimize the crop’s nutrition and adaptability to specific regions. Their work will help alleviate hunger and malnutrition by increasing access to this nutritious crop.

    How do you research a vegetable’s genetics? The NC State University team has two ideas here.  

  • Get Back On Track with Your New Year’s Resolution with New Mexico State University Extension

    If you’ve given up your New Year’s resolutions to get healthier this year, it’s not too late to get back on track! Many assume there is a quick fix for weight loss, but switching to healthier habits take time, according to New Mexico State University (NMSU) Extension.

    Defining long-term goals, eating balanced meals with whole grains, proteins, and vegetables, and monitoring activity levels all contribute to a healthier you. And don’t forget – your local Extension office can offer nutrition and wellness advice!

    Stressed out? NMSU recommends meditation as stress causes the body to store fat – see more tips from the Extension here

  • Crazy for Quinoa? Washington State University Cracks Into the Seed – Literally

    Quinoa might be the latest superfood craze, but did you know the seed is actually difficult to produce? Quinoa is coated in saponin, hardening the seed to protect it from birds and insects, but also making it very expensive for farmers to remove. As quinoa is adaptable to many different environments and is a great source of nutrients, cracking the quinoa code is vital to making it easier for farmers to produce.

    Washington State University has discovered the quinoa genome responsible for its hard coating, giving farmers the option to remove the bitter coating. This will help the nutritious crop be more accessible for farmers who may not be able to afford the process to remove saponin and increase availability of the protein-packed crop for in-need communities.

    Washington State University created an ancestral family tree of quinoa, dating back from 3 million years ago, to track quinoa’s genetic code. Read more about their research here.

  • Is a Drought in Your Future? Auburn University Looks to Predict Weather Patterns

    It’s easy to check the weather and see if rain or sunshine is in the forecast but it’s a lot harder to predict droughts. Droughts do not appear suddenly in regions and can remain for a long period of time, making them unpredictable.

    Auburn University’s College of Agriculture is developing a Drought Early Warning System for the Southeast, which will monitor, forecast, and prepare the region for droughts. By predicting droughts, states can manage their farm economies and water resources more effectively and farmers will be able to prepare irrigation in advance.

    The Drought Early Warning System is just one of the tools Auburn University is working on to fight back against drought. Read about the others here

  • Secret Superheroes: Fort Valley State University Master Gardeners Battle Food Insecurity

    In low-income neighborhoods, access to grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and high quality food can be difficult; however, there’s an easy way to increase access to healthy foods in lower-income communities: Master Gardeners.

    Master Gardeners are volunteers with special horticulture training for research, teaching, and creating gardens in local communities, and Fort Valley State University Extension’s Master Gardener program in Lowndes County is working with local schools to bring local produce straight to the cafeteria. So far, eight schools participate in the program where students learn how to grow food. Lowndes County has an estimated 23,000 individuals experiencing food insecurity, and the Master Gardeners program will soon change that.

    Curious who a Master Gardener is? Meet two from Fort Valley Extension here.

  • Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Tips from the University of Alaska

    Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? This year’s theme is to “put your best fork forward,” and the University of Alaska – Fairbanks Extension has tips that start with you.

    You can swap mealtime favorites for a healthier version – such as using whole grain pasta – or using smaller plates for better portions.  And of course, meals should have plenty of veggies, whole grains, and protein!

    University of Alaska has more healthy eating tips for National Nutrition Month here.

  • Need Healthy Dinner Ideas for Your Weekend Plans? Alabama A&M University Has an App for That

    It’s no secret family dinners have positive effects on a child’s development, but it can be difficult to plan a healthy dinner and grocery shop when time, transportation, and motivation get in the way.

    Alabama A&M University Extension has created an app to help families plan for healthy meals and activities. The app, Body Quest, texts parents three times a week with healthy recipes, tips, and prompts to encourage families to make positive decisions throughout the week. With this text-based education, 74% ate more vegetables, 82% cut back on sugary drinks, and 81% engaged in more physical activities with their child.

    The app was created as part of the Extension’s obesity prevention initiatives – read more about the success of Body Quest here.

  • University of Arizona Investigates Rainwater Harvest Systems for Cleaner Water

    In underserved rural and urban communities with dry climates, there is a heavy reliance on rainwater harvesting systems, but the water quality of these systems is sometimes questionable as they are exposed to pollution. Nearly one-third of the world’s population lives in this type of environment.

    University of Arizona is analyzing the safety and quality of water collected through these systems to increase access to clean water and provide water for agriculture. The university will work with nearly 200 families to monitor water quality from harvesting systems, which will improve water access not just in Arizona, but the world.

    Families will collect water samples over three-years, with tools and resources from the University of Arizona. Read more about the study here

  • Protect Your Local Pond with Tips from Clemson Extension

    Do you have a pond or fountain in your neighborhood? These local bodies of water help prevent flooding in communities and treat polluted runoff during rainstorms to protect bigger water sources. If not properly maintained, however, your local pond can contribute to poor water quality, shoreline erosion, and damage biodiversity.

    Clemson University Extension has launched a new website that provides information on maintaining and protecting local ponds in neighborhoods and on community and business properties. Visit their website handbook to learn how to manage your pond’s water quality, prevent contamination, and identify disruptive species.

    Ponds are so prevalent in South Carolina – the Extension added an advertising campaign to emphasis proper pond management solutions. Read more about their campaign here.

  • Partnership Between University of Missouri Master Gardeners and Food Pantries Reap Rewards

    It’s National Nutrition Month and University of Missouri Extension Master Gardeners are partnering with local food pantries to increase access to healthy foods.

    In their local county, more than 15% of the population is food insecure, and nearly another 10% experience hunger at times. And with high food insecurity rates come diet-related health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

    The partnership with the Master Gardeners provides opportunities for food pantry recipients to plant community garden plots with tools, supplies, and support from the experts themselves. The local gardens will help neighborhoods fight against health problems and build stronger communities.

    The community garden is just one aspect of the community food system – read about the other benefits here.

  • 25 Years of Drought: Colorado State University Investigates Effects on the Colorado River

    The Colorado River Basin has been in a drought since 2000 and the lack of rain has taken its toll. Colorado State University researchers discovered 81 percent water reduction of Colorado River’s flow, affected by high temperatures and low precipitation. Nearly forty million people rely on the Colorado River for water and the drought has reduced the river by at least .5 million acre-feet – the amount of water used by two million people in one year.

    This study is the first of its kind quantifying the effects of temperatures and precipitation, and the team hopes it will provide water managers with insight on weather patterns to prepare for future impact and better regulate water use across the region.

    University of Colorado collected 25 years of data to determine the effect of the river’s flow – read about their climate model here.

  • Urban Gardens, Meet Your Maker, Thanks to Virginia State University

    Urban gardens are increasing in popularity and for good reason: the neighborhood gardens increase access to fresh local produce, especially among low-income residents, and benefit the community with reduced crime and education and job opportunities. But local organizations who hope to create urban gardens contribute many of their own resources to manage the new garden, usually without much farm experience.

    Virginia State University is now offering a 10-week certificate program in urban agriculture to help train new urban agriculture professionals. The program covers not only gardening courses but also city and environmental policy and business principles to help prepare individuals to start and maintain successful urban gardens.

    Did you know urban gardens help decrease “food deserts,” areas with little access to fresh fruit and veggies? Read more here.

  • Washington State University Protects Plants with Natural Defense System

    With researchers’ help, plants can up their natural defense against predators, diseases, and drought.

    Washington State University discovered an enzyme called proteases that protects the plant from insects and increases resistance to disease and drought. However, researchers can raise protease levels in adult plants by increasing protease activity, which means healthier and drought-resistant crops in our future.

    The protease enzyme may also help cancer research. How? Read here.

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Has a New Answer for Seafood Demand

    Did you know the U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its seafood? While aquaculture (fish farming) is increasing in popularity, domestic farmers find it hard to raise fish because treating waste can be an expensive and difficult process.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created an economical and green way to treat wastewater using wood chips. Filtering water from a fish tank, the wood chips naturally remove nitrogen pollutants. Finding an effective and sustainable way to treat wastewater in aquaculture will encourage more produces to raise fish domestically, helping increase food security as the seafood momentum continues.

    The woodchips are placed in a container called “bioreactors” – read more about how the system works here.

  • Keeping It Local: North Carolina State University Tracks Local Food Spending

    What if farmers and consumers could see how much local food was bought, where produce is bought the most, and which local partners help increase access to local food? That’s exactly what North Carolina State University tracked with their new online dashboards describing local food spending in the state.

    With these dashboards, farmers can figure out the best outlet to capitalize their produce, consumers can compare prices, and local community leaders can effectively plan for increasing access to local food sources in their area.

     North Carolina encouraged businesses and individuals to use 10% on local produce – did they reach the goal? Find out here.

  • Have a Killer Recipe You’re Ready to Share with the World? University of Maine Has You Covered

    Looking to start selling your homemade food products? The specialty food market, foods that are unique and made in small qualities with high-quality ingredients, is growing as more individuals create innovative products, consumers value local items, and retailers continue to sell the special goods.

    University of Maine has resources to help new producers break into this thriving business. With fact sheets, workshops, and business planning, potential producers can contribute their own goods to the local food market.

    The specialty food industry grew 19.7% between 2013 and 2015 – check out all of the University of Maine’s resources here.

  • University of Delaware Has the Scoop on Their New Creamery

    Screaming for ice cream? The University of Delaware has created its first off-campus ice cream shop, but there’s more scoop to this story.

    UDairy Creamery will offer students an on-hands agricultural education by teaching them not only how to create locally-sourced ice cream and other menu items, but customer service, food science and safety, and marketing – all needed skills to help future producers succeed. Next time you’re in Wilmington, satisfy your sweet tooth and encourage more farm-to-table, educational options.

    Other menu items, such as salads, will come straight from the University of Delaware’s organic garden! Read more about the creamery here.

  • Let Me Take a Food Selfie: Oregon State University Researchers Find Benefits in Social Posts

    Scroll through Instagram and you’re sure to see mouth-watering photos of delicious food but did you know that foodie photos might have health benefits?

    Food images can help keep track of dietary patterns and provide intake information to consumers, but also individuals who work with a nutritionist such as a diabetic patient. Oregon State University researchers found that image-based dietary assessment can help reduce or eliminate inaccuracies found in written food journals and, with more accurate reporting, consumers can identify potential issues in their diet and how to be healthier.

    Oregon State University surveyed more 100 nutrition and dietetics students and their ability to judge food and serving sizes through photos – read more about their research here.

  • Cover Crops Protect More Than Soil, University of Vermont Finds

    Cover crops are planted after the main harvest to help revitalize the soil while also protecting the area from weeds. However, cover crops aren’t just environmentally friendly— they also help protect local water quality by reducing nutrient run-off and preventing erosion.

    The University of Vermont has outlined the benefits of cover crops and other green farming practices in a short video illustrating how the planting goes beyond soil revival. With making cover crops more accessible, producers will be able to protect their soil and their local water sources.

    Using cover crops also help farmers meet EPA goals – watch the University of Vermont’s video here to see how planting cover crops will benefit you.

  • Penn State University Finds a New Champion for Water Conservation

    Water conservation has a new champion in local farmers, according to a recent report from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

    To combat ways to reduce nutrients from agriculture and identify strategies to protect the Chesapeake Bay, Penn State organized a conference with farmers, representatives from environmental groups, and local, state, and federal government officials. The session resulted in “champion farmers,” farmers who will help lead other producers in conservation efforts. With conservation efforts coming from the inside, maintaining productive agriculture while meeting water-quality goals will be revitalized.

    The conference outlined four areas in how to increase efforts in conservation. Read them here.

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