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News from the Center

  • Congressman Jim McGovern visits Atlas Farm with owner, Gideon Porth

    Congressman Jim McGovern: Farm Tour 2015

    August 27, 2015
    Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA 2nd District) has an appetite for ending hunger. In late August, 2015, he took time from his hectic schedule to tour 13 small to medium-sized farms in his district. Among agenda items, he wanted to learn what was happening with local agriculture, how people are getting fed and how he could be helpful with issues faced by farmers. McGovern easily pulls together threads of connection between healthy food as medicine, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries and sustainable agricultural economies. An aspect of several local farms that interested him is their contribution of local produce to food banks and survival centers with some farms offering discounted CSA shares to low-income people.
  • WRRC 50 year Logo

    Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center’s (WRRC) 50th Anniversary

    August 25, 2015
    To help make one-half century of water research at the University of Massachusetts, the public is invited to attend WRRC’s 50th anniversary dinner and a weekend of water-related talks and presentations.  The dinner is Friday, September 11th, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm in the Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall, UMass Amherst Campus. Although dinner is free, registration is required.
  • "Thanks, Joe" cut into turf

    Turf Research Field Day Brings Professional Community to UMass Facility

    July 30, 2015
    Every two years, a Turf Research Field Day is hosted by the UMass Turf Program at the UMass Joseph Troll Turf Research Facility in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. This year’s program, held on July 15, featured discussions and demonstrations of ten ongoing research projects. Over 200 municipal turf managers, lawn care professionals, school field superintendents and others from the “green industry” spent the day under the shadow of Mount Sugarloaf learning about new research developments.
  • SET campers hold 3-D printed items

    4-H’ers Try 3D Printing at On-Campus Camp

    July 8, 2015
    Remember the Replicator on Star Trek? This summer’s 4-H campers are a little young to remember that (they’ll have to wait for next year’s Star Trek Beyond movie to be released). Ok, while we may not yet have that Replicator, we are definitely getting closer. 3D printing technology is rapidly becoming commonplace at work, in schools and at home. 4-H campers discovered this for themselves during their recent Science, Environment and Technology (SET) Camp at UMass Amherst.   
  • Plant Nutrient Regulations in Effect

    New Massachusetts Plant Nutrient Regulations in Effect

    June 20, 2015
    Agricultural producers as well as turf and landscape practitioners in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are advised to keep informed about nutrient management regulations. Statewide plant nutrient regulations are now in effect for turf care and are scheduled to take effect for agricultural production on December 5, 2015.
  • Slovenian Professor Bozic discusses pollinators and World Bee Day

    Slovenian Bee Expert Visits UMass Amherst to Promote World Bee Day

    June 18, 2015
    Janko Božič, professor of animal behavior and beekeeping at Ljubljana University, Slovenia  visited the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on June 15, 2015. Professor Božič recently met with officials at the United Nations about bee conservation and to establish a World Bee Day in recognition of the importance of these insect pollinators to food crops and agriculture around the globe.
  • grains

    UMass Agricultural Field Day set for June 24

    June 17, 2015
    AMHERST, Mass. — The UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment will be hosting their annual Agricultural Field Day on Wednesday, June 24th from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. It will be held at the University of Massachusetts Crop and Animal Research Center located at 89-91 North River Road, South Deerfield, MA University of Massachusetts has a 358-acre agronomy and vegetable farm that conducts research on vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture and pasture. The farm has a both a student-run vegetable project as well a project that researches cattle, offering students hands-on experience with livestock. Faculty, extension staff, and graduate students conduct applied research and are assisted by technicians, field staff and undergraduate students.
  • Ruth Hazzard teaching vegetable farmers

    Ruth Hazzard, Longtime Extension Educator for Vegetable Farmers, to Retire

    May 27, 2015
    When Ruth Hazzard’s name is invoked on farms across the Commonwealth, the very image of a dedicated agricultural specialist comes to mind. Since she joined UMass Extension in 1989, her commitment to the work of UMass Extension’s Vegetable Program has grown and evolved as techniques and new developments have emerged and evolved as the nature of Extension itself has changed.  During these decades full of change, what has remained constant is Extension’s ability—and Ruth Hazzard’s commitment--to serve an industry with science-based research and education.
  • Board Chair Kent Lage talks wtih Plant-A-Smile 4H Newton Club

    Massachusetts 4-H Foundation Celebrates 60 years

    May 26, 2015
    Since 1955, the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation has been focused and clear about their mission: fostering youth development.  During their 60th annual meeting held this May, a gathering of staff, trustees, volunteers, supporters and 4-H club members took the opportunity to applaud the work of six decades. Board Chair Kent Lage, conducted annual Board business, and then acted as Emcee for this festive event.  Joanne Brown received special recognition for her boundless energy and enthusiasm as a volunteer working with two 4-H clubs as well as regional and statewide organizations.  All five summer 4-H camps were awarded monetary gifts from The Yawkey Foundation. And those who benefit directly from efforts of MA 4-H Foundation were there: participating students. Plant-A-Smile 4-H Club members from Newton wowed the audience with a presentation about their tech-savvy GIS mapping project.
  • Students examine water at MA Envirothon

    2015 Mass. Envirothon winners announced

    May 18, 2015
    A school year of preparation paid off for local teenagers who were rewarded for their knowledge of the environment at the 28th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. They were among more than 250 high school students from 30 Massachusetts communities from Boston to the Berkshires who descended on the Quabbin Reservoir on Thursday, May 14, 2015, for the outdoor field competition. "These teams work hard getting to know their local ecosystems and how their communities depend on them. We test their scientific knowledge, but we also like to hear their stories about how they have gotten muddy, cold, and tired, and otherwise had fun and fallen in love with nature in their neighborhood. The best hope for the future comes from engaged, scientifically literate citizens who care about their communities and the environment," said Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
  • 4-H Robotics camp

    4-Hers: Sign up time for UMass Camps and Academies

    May 5, 2015
    Fun and educational! It is that time of year to sign up for summer camps and academies at UMass. Interested in learning about beef or dairy cows or Veterinary medicine? These opportunities are coming right up in June. Spaces are limited, so sign up today! Summer of Science camp with 4 unique tracks will be held June 28-30. These topics often provide life-changing experiences for young people to learn about solar cars, Veterinary science, or how to make a movie or a robot.  All on UMass Amherst campus...to get a taste of their future!
  • Cover of Pipeline Assessment document

    Center Publishes Study on Proposed Pipeline Route

    April 16, 2015
    The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment has released “A Natural Resources Assessment of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project’s Pipeline Route Within Massachusetts.” The assessment was conducted by a team from UMass Amherst’s Department of Environmental Conservation, including Scott Jackson, Extension Associate Professor, Bethany Bradley, Assistant Professor, and Thomas Cairns, MS Candidate. The authors created the assessment by utilizing a compilation of twenty available inventories of natural resources and environmental resources in Massachusetts, from state and UMass Amherst sources. These inventories were mapped against the mainline route of the proposed pipeline and then the proportion of affected resources was compared to the availability of the particular resource countywide and statewide. This method resulted in identification of key resources most likely to be impacted by the pipeline. Volume One covers the mainline of the pipeline and is now available for download here. Volume Two (forthcoming) will cover the spurs.
  • Research technician and Stockbridge undergraduate, Genevieve Higgins collecting water samples from the Connecticut River in Deerfield.

    In Search of an Invasive Plant Pathogen in the Connecticut River

    April 2, 2015
    In 2013, a two-year study was undertaken to determine the incidence and distribution of Phytophthora species in the Connecticut River Valley watershed. Phytophthora is a destructive plant pathogen that attacks regionally important vegetable crops and woody plants in forest and urban settings. The pathogen is notorious for thriving in wet, flooded soils and has the ability to produce a swimming, asexual spore that seeks out susceptible plants to infect. Under ideal conditions, disease outbreaks can develop very quickly in agricultural settings. The genus Phytophthora is composed of numerous species, some of which are non-native in Massachusetts. The primary goal of this study was to determine if the non-native vegetable pathogen, Phytophthora capsici, is present in the Connecticut River and its various tributaries.
  • 2015 Spring Forum—LAND: the foundation of a healthy food system

    April 2, 2015
    Attend PVGrows 2015 Spring Forum to learn about the role that 'secure access to land' plays in our food system – and how individuals and organizations can work together to strengthen this foundation.  The forum will be held on Wednesday, April 15th from 9:00-1:30 p.m., at Open Square in Holyoke, MA. Like past forums, the 2015 spring forum will include interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally-grown lunch. This event is open to anyone interested in and working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.
  • Dr. Anne Averill moderates Pollinator Health Symposium

    Symposium Provides Valuable Information to Professionals Concerned With Bee Health

    April 1, 2015
    Did you hear the sound of buzzing emanating from UMass on March 26? It was the gathering of over 300 bee-focused individuals from throughout New England at a symposium to learn about pollinator health for agriculture and the landscape. The first–time symposium drew beekeepers, educators, landscapers, farmers and others to a packed full day educational program of research-based information about native bees, honey bees and ways in which to protect pollinator health.
  • bee with pollen USGS image

    UMass Extension Symposium: Pollinator Health for Agriculture and Landscapes

    March 16, 2015
    Thursday, March 26, 2015, an exciting full-day educational program of research-based information about native bees, honey bees and protecting pollinator health is on tap. Experts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Maine, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will share their expertise and latest scientific research on pollinator health, designing pollinator support plantings, neonicotinoids in agriculture and landscapes, and bee-friendly landscapes.
  • UMass representatives visit Congressman McGovern in Washington DC

    UMass Heads to the Hills (Capitol Hill)

    March 10, 2015
    Volunteer Ken Nicewicz and Linda Horn (Extension 4-H) held annual “CARET” meetings with Massachusetts legislators on Capitol Hill in early March.  The Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), is an organization of volunteer grass-roots supporters of the Land Grant University system that meet every year in Washington, D.C. Senator Elizabeth Warren told Nicewicz and Horn that upcoming legislation regarding nutrition would include issues of food security. Senator Edward Markey, Congressman James McGovern and Congressman Richard Neal and their legislative aides each spent time talking with our  delegates about key issues within The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).  
  • Co-chairs,Rick Harper and Dave Bloniarz and joined by presenter, Mary Owens

    Community Tree Conference: Preserving Trees and Landscapes in a Changing Environment

    March 10, 2015
    Massachusetts tree aficionados gathered at Stockbridge Hall on the UMass Amherst campus on March 10. Over 200 tree wardens, urban foresters, landscapers, arborists, teachers and others arrived from across the state to learn about urban forestry, tree conservation and the environment. Montessori teacher Germaine Koomer attended with Jeff Esche from the Northeastern Urban Forestry Advocacy (NUFA). Esche, NUFA Executive Director, has snagged two DCR grants which are allowing them to create a tree inventory, a process of tree identification, recording locations, site and tree conditions for the purposes of managing the health of trees and property in Newburyport.
  • UMass Fruit and Vegetable Team

    UMass Extension Fruit and Vegetable Program Holds Annual Advisory Group Meeting

    March 5, 2015
    Mentor Farm growers across the state met on March 4 with the UMass Extension Fruit and Vegetable team to evaluate successes and challenges to their collaborative work in 2014 with Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Members of the UMass team met with 10 farms at the beginning of the 2014 growing season to identify pests and problems and to set IPM goals.  
  • Alex-Risley Schroeder leads group discussion

    State Planning Process Draws Crowd to UMass Amherst for Food Systems Discussion

    February 5, 2015
    Markers flew across flipcharts as a highly-engaged audience of about 110 people came together during a Listening Session for the Massachusetts Food System Plan held on Tuesday, February 3 at UMass Amherst. The purpose was to provide the official planning team a wide variety of perspectives regarding ways to improve the state’s food system.  A statewide plan, incorporating input from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth, has been in the works since July, 2014 and a draft is scheduled to be ready for review by policymakers in December.  

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