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News from the Center

Kathleen Draper addresses Biochar Conference
October 25

For four days in October, the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts became the hub of the biochar universe, as 300 researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from across North America and the world met for the 2013 USBI North American Biochar Symposium. Focused on the Symposium’s theme – Harvesting Hope: The Science and Synergies of Biochar – participants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, Cameroon, Wales, and Germany attended plenaries, workshops, keynote addresses, a Tech Field Day, videos, and a Biochar Banquet.

Simi Hoque, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation
October 13

Dr. Simi Hoque is passionate about improving the ways in which buildings use the earth’s resources.  She teaches environmental systems and sustainable design principles in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. Her research, partially funded by the Center’s Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, is focused around the application and development of energy-efficient buildings. Dr. Hoque specializes in energy modeling, resource efficiency, and systems design. She is co-author of a recent online publication (October 2013) intended to provide a quantitative approach to assessing sustainability indicators in a city.

Kristen Hanley makes jams and jellies at Cold Spring Orchard
October 1

Jams and Jellies and Fruit, Oh My!

Kristen Hanley has always loved to preserve fresh food. She now parlays that love into delicious ways to extend the season for the fruits of UMass Amherst’s Cold Spring Orchard Horticultural Research Center in Belchertown, Mass., about 15 miles from the Amherst campus. If you visit the orchard, you can buy one of the 1,500 jars of mouth-watering jams and jellies that she has made this season; beware though, wait too long and they will be sold out, they always are. 

UMass Students Neev Blume and Cole Lanier lead tour of SFE
September 30

UMass Amherst held its first Student Garden Tour on September 28, 2013 under brilliant skies.  Five unique gardens right on campus were hosted by the students who manage them.  One of our main goals was to make students aware of myriad opportunities for growing food without leaving campus. 

Soccer field
September 5

UMass Extension has recently taken the opportunity to collect and update information about Nutrient Best Management Practices.

UMass Amherst Demonstration Gardens
August 27

A stunning floral display is ready for your viewing pleasure: the UMass Amherst Demonstration Gardens in front of Durfee Conservatory. This garden features several new annual plant cultivars recently introduced by plant breeders. The gardens are intended for observation of new plants under local growing conditions followed by reporting back to the breeders.

View of ALC from North Pleasant Street
August 14

Master Plan Update for UMass Amherst Agricultural Learning Center

It all starts with a vision.

Several years ago, Dr. Stephen Herbert, Director of the UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, began considering how to create a place for students interested in agriculture to “learn by doing” in a living outdoor laboratory. As the new ALC gains momentum, the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) has contributed by developing a Master Plan for the Learning Center.

Frank Caruso with Ocean Spray actors
July 11

For the last thirty years or so, Frank Caruso has been the “go-to” guy for disease problems with the plants in your bogs, if you are one of those who farm the state berry of the Commonwealth. Last week, Dr. Caruso retired as Plant Pathologist with the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham. As late as his final days on the job, he was out in the bogs, looking at...

Cassie Sefton, UMass student intern plants urban garden at ALC
July 9

With memories of the April groundbreaking ceremony still in mind, the stakes are (literally) in the ground as farm work gets underway at the new Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) at the north edge of the Amherst campus. The purpose of the ALC is to train the next generation of farmers and other agricultural entrepreneurs by using a hands-on approach: translating classroom knowledge into practical experience in the fields.

Dr. Haim Gunner discovers and develops microorganism to protect plants
May 29

Microbiologist, Dr. Haim Gunner, professor emeritus at UMass Amherst has discovered and developed a microorganism that naturally combats fungus as part of an eco-management approach to plant disease protection.

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