Summer Research Minigrant Program

2015 - Anderson, Berezowitz, Freidrich, Galleguillo, Keeley, Morgul, Peterson, Raynor, Stevens, Ugoretz

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. 

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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, CE Sociology

Anderson compares Organic Valley and Horizon Organic dairy brands to understand how socialization programs within companies are carried out and how this affects the ideologies and behaviors of farmers. She interviewed farmers from both organizations and used ethnographic research methods. This information could act as a gateway for future climate change-oriented practices for agricultural companies.


Healthy Farm-to-School Meals: Empowering Children and Families as Change-Agents in Urban Schools
Student researcher: Claire Berezowitz
Faculty advisor: Jennifer Gaddis, Civil Society and Community Studies

The focus of this study was to find ways to improve school lunch programs in urban areas of the Midwest. By identifying barriers and struggles of urban cafeteria programs, interviewing successful community-facing urban meal programs, and then hosting peer-to-peer storytelling sessions, Berezowitz sought to empower children and their families and to increase the allotment of government funds for school breakfast and lunch programs in urban communities.


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 / Agroecology

In response to a growing interest in cellulosic biofuel from annually harvested crops and a need for conservation efforts of pollinator populations, Freidrich assessed local and wild bee populations placed near biofuel plants. She gathered data on population density, floral resource diversity, abundance, and usage.


Assessment of Woodlands Grazing Intensity in the Kickapoo Valley
Student researcher: Nicolas Galleguillo
Faculty advisor: Steve Ventura, Soils

This research investigated the Kickapoo Valley woodland ecology for farmers who grazed or may want to graze woodlots. Woodlots in the area were identified. Then, grazing intensity and other management factors were assessed on the lots to see at what point current grazing practices no longer served or potentially harmed woodlot ecological systems. Findings were then reported at workshops organized by local farmer organizations including Driftless Forest Network and Silvo-Pasture Network.


Development of Best Management Practices for Innovative Agroforestry Systems
Student researcher: Keefe Keeley
Faculty advisor: Steve Ventura, Agroecology

Keeley interviewed Midwest farmers who worked with the Savannah Institute and who were implementing Diverse Agroforestry (DA) to identify gaps in their understanding of the concept. Experienced growers of woody crops were also surveyed to identify best practices. The outcome of this study was the creation of a planting and growing guide to help beginning growers.


Urban “Ecological Markets” in Turkey: Enrolling Underprivileged Consumers and Producers
Student researcher: Kerem Morgul
Faculty advisor: Michael Bell, Agroecology

Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) are systems that strive to sustainably provide healthy and high-quality foods in ways that are environmentally and socially inclusive. Morgul evaluated alternative food models through the lens of the Turkish agrarian sector and the “ecological markets” created by the government-supported Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living (BASEL) and the Association of Ecological Producers (AEP). He conducted interviews and collected relevant reports and statements from key stakeholders. The data gathered gave insight into the limitations and barriers that economically and culturally underprivileged consumers and producers face when trying to access these markets and solutions were then proposed.


Wild-rice and Climate Change: A Case Study
Student researcher: Diana Peterson
Faculty advisor: Eve Emshwiller, Botany

Given the economic and cultural significance of wild-rice harvest in many native communities of Wisconsin, Peterson assessed the effects of climate change on practices surrounding the crop. She focused on the connection between wild-rice management and the food sustenance of communities. Invasive species, changing water levels, and urbanization has fragmented wild rice production and altered the process of generational teaching. Interviews of Ojibwe, Menominee, and Ho-chunk elders offered their Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) also assisted with the study.


The Bio-Economics of a Predator-Prey System: An Analysis of Optimal Wolf Management
Student researcher: Jennifer Raynor
Faculty advisor: Corbett Grainger, Agriculture Economics

The recent expansion of gray wolves in rural Wisconsin has created conflicts and challenges for farmers, residents, and government. Wolves can decrease white-tailed deer populations that cause crop damage. However, they also harm livestock and influence the prevalence of deer-vehicle crashes. Raynor designed a bioeconomic model to better understand the cost and benefits of deer and wolves in rural areas to inform future policy discussions. She built an empirical model about the spatial-temporal spread of wolves across counties, the annual population density of deer in the county, changing forest cover and development patterns (GIS data), and behavioral changes of rural residents in response to animal populations.


Fish Consumption Advisory Awareness in Madison, Wisconsin: Assessing Message Clarity among High-Consumption Minority Angling Groups
Student researcher: Andy Stevens
Faculty advisor: Peter McIntyre, Zoology / Center for Limnology

Various fish of Lake Mendota and Monona such as bass, carp, catfish, pike, and walleye, are under human consumption restrictions, especially pregnant women and children, because they accumulate toxins such as mercury and PCBs. Minority anglers are especially susceptible to not being aware of the Department of Natural Resources Advisories. Stevens sought to determine how many people consume these fish, how much, and whether they understood the potential health risks. He conducted interviews with anglers at popular fishing areas in Madison.


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.