The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) has taken the lead in building a national network of university centers and programs working to foster more sustainable food and farming systems. In early November, CIAS hosted a gathering of sustainable agriculture centers and programs that identified ways to increase the impact of their programs by working together.
25 representatives of 12 sustainable agriculture centers and programs from across the country attended this gathering, which was held at the Wisconsin Union on November 2-4. These centers and programs conduct research, teaching, and extension on sustainable agriculture and food systems that contribute to the economic, ecological, and social well being of farmers, workers, consumers, and their communities.
“As a result of this gathering, our center will collaborate more closely with other sustainable agriculture centers and programs,” said Chuck Francis, director of the sustainable agriculture program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Key issues can be tackled across states and regions more effectively than in one state.”
Gathering participants identified advocacy, research, and networking as areas of work that will benefit from increased collaboration on a national scale. The group expressed interest in national coordination of landscape-level research on agro-ecosystem processes. Participants also wish to work together to increase university purchasing of locally, sustainably grown food.
The Wisconsin Union Catering Service and the University Club worked with CIAS to serve food at the gathering that was raised on Wisconsin family farms. Gathering participants commended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for “walking the talk” and supporting Wisconsin farmers through purchasing their food products.
Representatives of the Cavaliere Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education observed the meeting and expressed interest in supporting more cross-fertilization of ideas and collaboration among sustainable agriculture centers and programs.
Cornell University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, University of California-Davis, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Maine, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of New Hampshire, University of Wisconsin, and Washington State University participated in this gathering. The event was made possible through the generous support of the Cavaliere Foundation and the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation.
For more information about this gathering or sustainable agriculture research at UW-Madison, please contact Cris Carusi at 2-8018 or email@example.com.
Author: Cris Carusi