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UMass Extension

Peach/nectarine/plum variety evaluation

Over 75 named and numbered peach/nectarine and plum varieties/selections are under casual evaluation and demonstration at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard. Most of them are varieties/selection from the Fruit Acres/Stellar, Paul Friday/Flaming Fury, and Rutgers/Adams County Nursery breeding and variety introduction programs. Data collected includes flowering, yield, and fruit quality (size, color, firmness, brix, maturity, and taste/consumer acceptance), and  pest susceptibility.

Integrating Urban Agriculture and Nutrition Promotion to Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: A Focus on Worcester, Massachusetts

Low fruit and vegetable intake is recognized as a significant risk factor for poor health outcomes including an increased risk of overweight and obesity and subsequent co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake serves as a protective factor against obesity and chronic disease. The overall goal of this project is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables in a target community by integrating expertise in Agriculture, Food Access, and Nutrition Education programming.

Parenting, Energy Dynamics, and Lifestyle Determinants of Childhood Obesity: New Directions in Prevention

Over the past 30 years obesity rates have doubled for young children (6-11 year olds) and quadrupled for adolescents (12-19 years) to 18% and 21%, respectively, with the latest figures indicating more than a third of American children and adolescents are overweight or obese. These obese children are more likely to become obese adults and are at increased risk for developing health conditions normally seen in adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Expanding Food Safety Education in Massachusetts and Shifting from Voluntary to Regulatory Compliance

The goal of this project is to adapt UMass Extension produce safety training materials for vegetable and fruit growers to address the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Rule, and to work with other agricultural organizations around the state to broaden the audience for training delivery. In the long term, we aim to establish a training program and curriculum that continues to meet and respond to the needs of MA produce growers by supporting and encouraging a culture of on-farm food safety.

Evaluation of biological fungicides to control diseases of spinach in winter high tunnels

Funded by: Northeast SARE Partnership Grant Program

During the winter of 2015-16, UMass Extension and Queen's Greens partnered to study the efficacy of several OMRI-approved biofungicides to reduce severity of damping off, improve stand and yield of spinach. We conducted lab and field trials to: a) determine if certain biocontrol organisms are more cold tolerant than others and would thus be better suited for use in winter production systems; and b) if any of the products evaluated can significantly increase crop yield and quality.

School Meals Accountability and Responsibility Training Tools (SMARTTs)

The School Meals Accountability and Responsibility Training Tools (SMARTTs) project was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) and Labor Management Workplace Education Program (LMWEP) with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to improve and increase:

Peppers: Biological control of European Corn Borer, and increasing incidence of anthracnose

In New England, European corn borer and pepper maggot are the most common insect pests of pepper fruit. In many locations, peppers picked at the green stage are only marginally affected by ECB, but those left in the field long enough to ripen fall prey to ECB, then to soft rots. During the 2012 season, the UMass IPM team worked with several growers to see if releases of Trichogramma could increase their yield of healthy bright red and yellow fruit. 

Changing the health trajectory for older adults through effective diet and activity

While good nutrition and moderate physical activity can promote health and delay disability in older adults, most do not follow dietary recommendations, and fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption remains low. Several studies have indicated that older adults can increase fruit and vegetable intakes through nutrition education. Additional and innovative efforts are needed, however, to make progress toward achieving national guidelines in diverse populations of older adults.

Food Safety from Farm and Garden to Preschool Program

The free, online, self-paced, interactive program was created to help early childcare educators, foodservice staff, volunteers and parents understand the importance of reducing the risk of food safety related to fresh fruits and vegetables for young children.  The program includes five units: Farm to Preschool Benefits, Fresh Produce and Foodborne Illness Risks, Food Safety Basics for the Classroom and the Kitchen, Food Safety and Gardening Activities, and Food Safety on Field Trips to Farms and Farmers’ Market.  Printable resources such as Best Practices

Food security, food practices, and health risks among pregnant and postpartum Cambodian women living in Massachusetts

"Since the 1980's, the cities of Lowell and Lynn, Massachusetts have become home to large numbers of former refugees from Cambodia. Lowell is home to the second largest population of Cambodians in the United States. More than half of all Cambodian Americans live below the poverty line and a significant number are at high risk for food insecurity and hunger. Food insecurity has been associated with depression, poor micronutrient intake, and obesity among women of reproductive age.

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