Since 2000, the CIAS Eco-Fruit Program has been helping growers reduce or eliminate risk from pesticides by using IPM. Since then, participating growers have reduced their pesticide risk by 46 percent and increased their reliance on IPM strategies by 54 percent. This project has served apple, cherry and berry growers.
In 2011, the Eco-Fruit Program was recognized with a Wisconsin Idea Award for Exemplary Partnerships. Congratulations to Eco-Fruit staff members Michelle Miller and Regina Hirsch, as well as all of the students and outreach specialists who’ve worked on this program since its inception.
The eco-fruit program encourages:
- On-farm innovation through coaching, grower networks, and access to new tools, especially tools that help growers managing data
- Professional development for beginning and advanced growers, as well as training and mentoring for their private sector coaches, USDA and EPA staff, and Extension educators
- Participatory research in program design, pest management, plant health, pollinator conservation, and wildlife habitat development
- Civic engagement to craft relevant farm conservation policies and procurement protocols for school nutrition programs
This program engages a wide range of campus and community partners. Community partners on this project include the Wisconsin Apple, Berry and Grape Growers Associations, Threshold IPM Services, Wescott Agriproducts, Center for Agricultural Partnerships, American Farmland Trust, IPM Institute of North America, The Xerces Society, local farm to school projects, UW Extension, UW-River Falls Department of Plant and Earth Sciences, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, and USDA-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.
UW-Madison campus partners include the departments of Entomology, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Community and Environmental Sociology, and Urban and Regional Planning, the Nutrient and Pest Management Program, and the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station.
Grants from the USDA and EPA made this work possible.