With support from a CIAS mini-grant, Claire Berezowitz laid the groundwork for evaluating farm to school programs in Wisconsin. Claire is pursuing her PhD in Educational Psychology.
Sarah Janes Ugoretz’s CIAS mini-grant research explored how certified organic vegetable farmers in Wisconsin are supporting, and might enhance, social and economic sustainability for themselves and their employees.
Mitigating Climate Change through Cultivating Cooperative Values among Organic Dairy Farmers
Student Researcher: Kathryn Anderson
Faculty Advisor: Daniel Kleinman, Community and Environmental Sociology
Anderson’s participatory research explores how Organic Valley uses its cooperative business structure in combination with a deliberate and multifaceted outreach and engagement program to create values that support stewardship practices above and beyond the National Organic Standards. To measure and understand the influence of Organic Valley’s business structure and outreach program, Anderson interviewed Organic Valley staff and a sample of farmers supplying milk to the Organic Valley cooperative as well as a comparison sample of farmers supplying milk to publicly traded corporations. The interviews explored cultural ideology and values regarding community spirit and conservation, and how these are manifested in business and technical management decisions.
Healthy Farm-to-School Meals: Empowering Children and Families as Change-Agents in Urban Schools
Student Researcher: Claire Berezowitz
Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Gaddis, The School of Human Ecology
There is tremendous potential for children and families to collectively demand that a larger proportion of the federal funding for school meals support farm to school initiatives. The primary objective of this project is to empower children and families in urban school districts as leaders of school food reform efforts. This project uses peer-to-peer storytelling as a tool for inspiring children and families to reclaim school food systems. This research project will lay the foundation for a dissertation that will explore the role of children, families and school employees as change agents for farm to school.
Perennial Bioenergy Cropping Systems and Pollinator Habitat: Understanding the impact of pollinator conservation borders on native pollinator communities
Student Researcher: Kiley Freidrich
Faculty Advisor: Claudio Gratton, Entomology
As the world’s energy resources become perpetually stressed, industries are looking to improve options for alternative fuels. One of these alternatives is cellulosic biofuel from annually harvested crops, such as switchgrass. However, changing the landscape to accommodate switchgrass production for biofuel can dramatically impact plant and insect communities, including pollinators. Friedrich’s research is examining how planting pollinator habitat borders in conjunction with biofuel crops can impact pollinator communities.
Assessment of Woodlands Grazing Intensity in the Kickapoo Valley
Student Researcher: Nicolas Galleguillo
Faculty Advisor: Steve Ventura, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Soil Science
Galleguillos’s research addresses forestry management in grazed woodlands in the Kickapoo Valley. This project will provide information for landowners that could increase the economic performance of their livestock operations without degrading biodiversity and soil quality in farm woodlots. Appropriate management of grazed woodlands, including silvopasturing and agroforestry techniques, can protect soil while providing forage and shelter for livestock. Off-site benefits include water quality improvements, increased landscape-scale biodiversity, and more wildlife habitat.
Development of Best Management Practices for Innovative Agroforestry Systems
Student Researcher: Keefe Keeley
Faculty Advisor: Steve Ventura, Soil Science
Keeley is developing a resource for beginning farmers to help them maintain diverse agroforestry plantings such as hazelnuts, chestnuts, currants, apples and other perennial crops. Diverse agroforestry systems simultaneously provide environmental benefits and food crops. Keeley interviewed farmers with experience in agroforestry to document what they have learned about maintaining young plantings, and what they wish they had known when starting out. The information developed through this participatory research will be disseminated to beginning farmers at on-farm field days, farm conferences and social media.
Urban “Ecological Markets” in Turkey: Enrolling Underprivileged Consumers and Producers
Student Researcher: Kerem Morgul
Faculty Advisor: Michael Bell, Community and Environmental Sociology
Most studies of alternative food networks focus on Europe and North America. Turkey provides a useful comparative case, with about 21 percent of its working population employed in agriculture and an average farm size of about 15 acres. Ecological markets established in urban centers promote the production and consumption of organic products. Through participatory research that will focus on two markets in Istanbul, which is largely secular, and one market in an Islamic stronghold in Anatolia, Morgul aims to identify and propose solutions to the factors that limit the involvement of economically and culturally underprivileged consumers and producers in the ecological markets in Turkey.
Wild-rice and Climate Change: A Case Study
Student Researcher: Diana Peterson
Faculty Advisor: Eve Emshwiller, Botany
Wisconsin’s wild rice stands are disappearing at an alarming rate each year due to changes in water depth, invasive species and development. Peterson interviewed tribal elders from the Ojibwe, Menominee and Ho-Chunk nations to gather Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) about the challenges facing wild rice, due to climate change and other environmental factors. Her goals for this research include identifying new spaces for wild rice growth and generating interest in traditional harvest practices with the younger generation.
The Bio-Economics of a Predator-Prey System: An Analysis of Optimal Wolf Management
Student Researcher: Jennifer Raynor
Faculty Advisor: Corbett Grainger, Agricultural and Applied Economics
The recent expansion of the gray wolf into rural areas of Wisconsin is creating conflicts and challenges. Although wolves sometimes harm livestock, such as cattle and sheep, wolves also have the potential to control an even bigger source of wildlife damage—white-tailed deer. Through bio-economic modeling, numerical simulations, and econometric analysis, Raynor’s research is addressing the following questions: What are the true economic costs of wolves and deer in Wisconsin? Do wolves affect the economic losses caused by deer?
Fish Consumption Advisory Awareness in Madison, Wisconsin: Assessing Message Clarity among High-Consumption Minority Angling Groups
Student Researcher: Andrew Stevens
Faculty Advisor: Peter McIntyre, Zoology
Stevens interviewed anglers at popular fishing areas along Madison’s lakeshores to assess their fish consumption. Many fish species in Madison’s lakes—notably bass, carp, catfish, pike and walleye—accumulate high levels of mercury and PCBs. These contaminants can cause neurological, developmental and cognitive impairment in developing fetuses, infants and children. Minority and subsistence anglers are at higher risk of mercury and PCB contamination from fish consumption due to their lack of knowledge of fish advisories coupled with higher consumption of fish harvested from Madison lakes. This research will provide recommendations for better informing at-risk groups about how to eat fish safely.
Community Gardeners and Their Understanding of Resilience
Student Researcher: Sarah Janes Ugoretz
Faculty Advisor: Michael Bell, Nelson Institute
Through observation and interviews with Madison gardeners, Ugoretz investigated how resilience is understood. She included gardeners at Troy Community Gardens, Quann Community Garden, and Eagle Heights Community Garden in this study. Findings may then explain how growing food and community oriented-programs contributes to resilience.