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News from the Center

  • 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.  
  • Mass Food System Plan logo

    Massachusetts Food System Planners Want YOU!

    January 29, 2015
    The public is invited to share ideas during a Listening Session for the Massachusetts Food System Plan on Tuesday, February 3 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The purpose is to provide the planning team a wide variety of perspectives regarding ways to improve our food system.  A statewide plan, incorporating input from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth, has been in the works since July, 2014 and is scheduled to be ready for review in December 2015.
  • Pat Vittum receives USGA Award

    Pat Vittum Received 2015 USGA Green Section Award

    March 4, 2015
    FAR HILLS, N.J. – Dr. Patricia Vittum received the Green Section Award on Feb. 7, 2015, at the USGA’s Annual Meeting and Service Awards in New York City. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass. Vittum, a professor at the University of Massachusetts’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture, has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. A recognized industry leader, she is a widely sought-after resource for practical information about turfgrass pests.
  • UMass Extension educators teach attendees about soil health

    Soil Health Workshops Help Growers Learn How to Farm With Nature

    November 18, 2014
    More than 200 vegetable farmers, agriculture students, and other members of the Bay State’s agriculture community attended two free workshops designed to help improve the soil’s capacity to function as a vital living system that sustains plant, animal and human health. Farming with Nature: Improving Soil Health on Vegetable Farms was offered twice: on Wednesday, Nov. 5th in Amherst and on Thursday, Nov. 6th in Dighton.
  • Forester Joe Perry runs tree identification workshop

    Envirothon 2015: High School Students and Coaches Gather at UMass Amherst for Workshops

    November 12, 2014
    There was a buzz in the air as they arrived from Cape Cod, the North Shore, Central and Western Massachusetts.  Planning for the 26th year of Massachusetts Envirothon was well under way, as over 200 students from 23 high school teams across the Commonwealth gathered at UMass Amherst on November 5th for a jam-packed day of education and preparation. Will Snyder, UMass Extension Educator and Chair of Mass Envirothon, said, “The enthusiasm is high this year.  We have more teams than ever before and greater numbers of student participation. High school students and their coaches along with several veteran Envirothon team members (now UMass students), statewide presenters and Mass Envirothon Steering Committee members learned about topics related to chosen natural resources. 
  • Former and current Extension Faculty and staff gather

    UMass Extension Commemorates 100th Anniversary at September Celebration

    September 26, 2014
    A century of community education, outreach and service through UMass Extension was marked at a celebratory gathering on September 26, 2014 on the UMass Amherst campus. Retired and current faculty and staff, students, government officials, community partners and regional farmers gathered for what was truly a “once in a lifetime“ event at the University’s flagship campus, site of Extension’s founding back when UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC).
  • Screen shot of census web page

    The Agricultural Census for Massachusetts, Demystified?

    October 16, 2014
    Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) conducts a census of farming, working to document the facts about every farm in the country, down to the state and county level. The results of the Agricultural Census provide the most complete picture we have of the directions agriculture is moving and the trends that are emerging. Now there’s an alternative way to sample the results. With the help of our colleagues in UMass Amherst’s Department of Resource Economics, we’ve posted our own tables, charts and some interpretation of the results on our website.
  • Newton 4-H club: Visual Presentation Awards: Jennifer Buras, Katharine Axon, Daisy Proskauer, Elena Morris Kelly

    New 4-H Club Plants Many a Smile in Newton

    September 8, 2014
    It is not hard to hear the enthusiasm for 4-H in Michael Buras’s voice as it spills out of the telephone. Early in 2013, he helped to start a new club that young members have named, “Plant a Smile.”  Just as most good efforts get started, this one began with a great 4-H experience. Buras’ youngest daughter attended a summer camp and encouraged the formation of a permanent 4-H club in her hometown. In a very short time, this club has grown to involve eight girls, 12 year olds, who are dedicated to the projects they undertake. Initially, they planted a lot of flowers, vegetables, and shrubs, quickly growing into their chosen name.  
  • Mass Ag Field Day research updates

    Crop Research Showcased at UMass Farm in South Deerfield

    July 29, 2014
    Enjoy watching pigs run alongside foraging crops? Bumble bees being examined for disease-transmission effects from flowers? Examples of energy-efficient food storage? If so, you would have enjoyed UMass Agricultural Field Day on July 29th. Held under clear skies just twelve hours after an impressive thunderstorm, about 80 farmers, organizational representatives, researchers and others gathered in South Deerfield at the Crop and Animal Research Farm on North River Road from 10:00 to 4:00.
  • Dr. Michael Dirr, keynote speaker at MNLA conference

    Down to Earth: Nursery and Flower Growers Cover Lots of Ground at Annual Conference

    July 24, 2014
    Beautiful weather, a wonderful setting, a plethora of flowering plants, soft turfgrass and knowledgeable speakers all came together perfectly to make the annual joint summer meeting of the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) and the Massachusetts Flower Growers Association (MFGA) a valuable event for all who attended. UMass Extension coordinated the day’s educational program, bringing in a variety of speakers and topics for the landscape, nursery and greenhouse industries. 
  • Jon Clements explains IPM at Mass Fruit Growers Assoc meeting

    Massachusetts Fruit Growers Convene at Cold Spring Orchard

    July 14, 2014
    On July 9, Massachusetts fruit farmers convened at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers’ Association, held at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard Research and Education Center in Belchertown. More than 100 orchardists from all over Massachusetts came together to learn about new methods for growing many of the varieties of fruit they make available to buyers on their orchards and at farmers’ markets.
  • Pollinator Workshop at Powisett Farm

    Fruitful Partnerships: Two Eastern Mass. Farms to Continue Working with UMass Amherst

    July 1, 2014
    On the heels of a successful Spring 2014 Mass Aggie Seminar series held with two new partners in eastern Massachusetts, key organizer Sonia Schloemann (Extension Educator and Fruit Specialist at UMass Amherst), is already planning another set of programs next year with the two farms. Powisett Farm in Dover, Mass. and Tangerini Farms in Millis have been model collaborators, according to Schloemann.  “Powisett and Tangerini Farms were great co-hosts. They share similar values regarding investment in community education and we are delighted to be putting ideas together with them for spring 2015.”
  • Berkley 4-H team competes at MA Envirothon

    Teens Focused on Sustainable Local Agriculture at This Year’s Massachusetts Envirothon

    May 21, 2014
    The setting for this year’s high school Envirothon, Sholan Farms in Leominster, Mass., could not have been more beautiful, nor more appropriate. The hard work, curiosity and environmental passion of 31 teams of high school students and their teacher-coaches was obvious from start to finish.  The all-day environmental competition showcased serious student investment in learning about this timely issue. All schools gave a 15-minute presentation on Sustainable Local Agriculture to a panel of judges.  
  • Massachusetts 4-H Robotics Team at World Festival

    Green Stormgears, Westford Youth Robotics 4-H Club, Place First Statewide

    May 6, 2014
    Massachusetts 4-H has yet another reason to be proud. The Green Stormgears from Westford, MA, took first place in the Champions Award Category as the best in judging and robot categories in the state. This afforded them the privilege of representing the Commonwealth in the Championship at the 2014 World Festival in St Louis Missouri on April 28.
  • Sonia Schloemann, Extension Educator and Fruit Specialist, educates visitors about beehive choices.

    Bee Smart, Amherst!

    May 6, 2014
    A “beehive of activity” had the campus “abuzz” on April 23 at one of the public events held during Pioneer Valley Bee Week, a western Massachusetts initiative to raise awareness about bee health, bee hives and bee habitat.  The event was also one in a series of 2014 events commemorating a century of Extension service and education across the nation.
  • Rich Bonanno, President, MFBF presents Kelly Erwin with Mass Ag Day Award

    Mass Agricultural Day at Boston State House

    April 14, 2014
    Farmers! Legislators! Organizations! Local Food! If you were roaming the marble halls of the Massachusetts State House on March 26, 2014, you would have experienced a barrage of foods, sights and aromas that tout the Baystate’s finest agricultural provisions.The prestigious Agricultural Day Award was presented by Mass. Farm Bureau Federation President, Rich Bonnano, to Kelly Erwin in recognition of her support for the viability and sustainability of the agriculture industry in Massachusetts as former Executive Director of the Mass. Farm to School Project. She was honored as the “Mother of Farm to School” for her heroic efforts over 12 years to bring fresh food into schools all across the Commonwealth. Well done, Kelly!
  • 4H camper sharing his tech project

    4-H Summer of Science new video

    April 1, 2014
    4-H Summer of Science rolls out exciting new video! Learn about the new adventures young students have on campus as they discover new worlds through the lens of science, engineering and technology. Watch it here.
  • Passion flower grows at Durfee Conservatory

    Durfee Conservatory Sports New Website

    March 20, 2014
    Looking for a breath of spring somewhere....anywhere? Visit Durfee Conservatory’s new website as well as the greenhouses!  This information-packed website with lovely floral images will help you remember that spring is arriving soon.
  • 4-H camp

    Massachusetts 4-H Camps: 2014 Spring & Summer

    April 1, 2014
    Join one of the many camp offerings for youth in Massachusetts. Camps are educational and interactive, a great way to encourage the love of animals in young people ages 8-18.

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