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Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) 2018 Publications

Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) 2018 Publications

ALC researchers were busy this year, working on a diversity of agroecology-related projects and publications across the Americas. These range from reporting on in-depth field work with smallholders coffee farmers in Guatemala and Mexico, to research on agriculture and climate change in Vermont, and collaborating on a review of the state of agroecology in Canada. Most of these publications can be downloaded in the publications page of the ALC website.

NEW REPORT from IPES-Food: Seven case studies of agroecological transition

From the IPES-Food Website:

15 October, 2018 (Rome, Italy) – It is possible for communities, regions and whole countries to fundamentally redesign their food and farming systems – but doing so requires changes in the way communities envision their food systems, the way knowledge is shared, the way that food systems are governed, and the values underpinning them.

This was the message from IPES-Food’s new report, ‘Breaking away from industrial food and farming systems: Seven case studies of agroecological transition’, released on October 15th, 2018.

The case studies follow on from IPES-Food’s 2016 report, From Uniformity to Diversity, which identified the vicious cycles locking industrial food and farming systems in place, despite their severe impacts on human health, economic and social well-being, biodiversity, and climate change.

The case studies provide concrete examples of how, in spite of these barriers to change, people around the world have been able to fundamentally rethink and redesign food systems around agroecological principles.

Steve Gliessman, lead author of the report, said: “The case studies show that change doesn’t always start in the field. Transition can be kick-started by community-building activities, farmer-researcher partnerships and even by external shocks that make people question the status quo.”

Jahi Chappell discusses ‘Beginning to End Hunger’ at UVM

Jahi Chappell discusses ‘Beginning to End Hunger’ at UVM

Political Agroecologist Dr. M. Jahi Chappell delivered an address to over 80 people at the University of Vermont (UVM), last Friday September 14. Jahi is a widely recognized agroecologist, with a diverse trajectory that includes being a professor at Washington State University, an analyst at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and now a senior researcher at the Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience (CAWR), at Conventry University, England. The talk focused on Jahi’s recent book, Beginning to End Hungerwhich documents his experience on innovations and lessons to end hunger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The analysis also examines how this case study can inform similar work in other regions. His deeply transdisciplinary approach touched on issues of equity, policy and the need for academics, policy-makers, activists and social movements to work together to seek effective solutions to the pervasive issues of hunger and food insecurity. The talk was co-sponsored by the Plant and Soil Science Department, the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), the Gund Institute for Environment, the Food Systems Graduate Program and the Environmental Program, all from UVM (click on images to enlarge).

ALC Research Fellows Jump-start On-farm research in Advanced Agroecology Course

ALC Research Fellows Jump-start On-farm research in Advanced Agroecology Course

Today (August 31), was the first farm day for 3 teams of Advanced Agroecology (PSS/ENVS 212) students, as they headed out to Jericho Settlers Farm, UVM Catamount Farm/Farmer Training Program, and the Farm Between. Students were going to meet their farmer partners, get an overview of the farm and start helping out by doing work as part of their service learning. For the first time since the beginning of this course in 2008, each of the 5 farm teams is being led by an ALC undergraduate research fellow, who will be helping support all work on the farm, as well as the participatory action research (PAR) activities that are also a new component of the course. The other three farm partners are , Bread and Butter Farm and Digger’s Mirth Farm. This year, the fellows are from the following UVM programs: 2 Environmental studies majors, 1 Food Systems major, 1 Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems double major, and 1 Environmental Science major (click on photos to enlarge).

 

First offering of Agroecology Graduate Certificate Introductory Course

First offering of Agroecology Graduate Certificate Introductory Course

The ALC team recently concluded the first offering of PSS 311: Introduction to Agroecology, the first course of our Certificate of Graduate Study in Agroecology (CGSA). We had a great crew of 11 participants, from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The course is a hybrid, with 3 weeks online, and 1 week face to face. The face to face week was spent working and connecting with ALC Vermont partners, including The Farm Between, Diggers Mirth Farm, Bread and Butter Farm, the Intervale Center, UVM Catamount Farm & Farmer Training Program and the Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN). We connected over great local food from Blossom, Barrio Bakery, Bread and Butter burgers, and different vendors at Summervale, ArtsRiot South End food trucks and the Mendez-Nordstrom household. We are grateful for all the learning with the first CGSA cohort, and very excited to launch the remaining courses of the first full CGSA offering. Below we provide some images of a full and meaningful week (click on pictures to enlarge).

Adelante !!!

The ALC is hiring a part-time program administrator

The ALC is hiring a part-time program administrator

We are seeking a highly organized, personable, tech-saavy and motivated individual to join our team as a program administrator. Full job description is below. If you are interested, please send a cover letter, resume and contact information for 3 references to agroecol@uvm.edu

ALC Program Administrator

Position Summary

The Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) is a community of practice within the Department of Plant & Soil Science (PSS) at the University of Vermont, which utilizes an approach grounded in agroecology, participatory action research (PAR), and transdisciplinarity. Our goal is to better understand and seek solutions to the issues facing our food system. The ALC program administrator reports to the faculty director and research & outreach coordinator, and works closely with the core team (faculty director, research and outreach coordinator, and educational coordinator), to manage communications and internal operations for the ALC, and to plan and implement the ALC’s research and educational initiatives. The program administrator will also provide some support to the PSS program, and will be a point of contact for ALC students, and other collaborators both within and outside of the university.

Responsibilities

  1. The ALC program administrator serves as the primary support person for the Certificate of Graduate Studies in Agroecology (CGSA) (35% effort) This includes:
  • communicating with students interested in pursuing the CGSA
  • providing production support for a range of online courses
  • coordinating logistics for hybrid face-to-face summer course
  • supporting the effort to raise CGSA scholarship funds
  1. The ALC program administrator oversees external communications for the ALC and provides support to the PSS department. This task requires collaborating with other faculty and staff to develop and implement an outreach and visibility strategy for the ALC and PSS (20% effort). This includes:
  • maintaining websites and regularly updating social media accounts
  • developing outreach, informational, recruitment and event materials
  • supporting the creation of presentations that align with UVM templates and guidelines
  • While the ALC faculty director is PSS departmental chair, some external communication support for PSS will be required
  1. The ALC program administrator provides logistical and budgetary support for all ALC programming (15%). This includes:
  • creating and maintaining information management and organizational systems
  • coordinating facilities access (including A/V technology) and vehicle use
  • managing purchasing and vendor relationships (this includes assistance with travel arrangements, plane tickets, etc.)
  • supporting the management of program funding, and cross-departmental financial collaborations
  1. The ALC program administrator maintains partner relationships by communicating with ALC students and partners (farmers, representatives of NGOs, academic and industry collaborators) (15% effort). This includes:
  • coordinating lab meetings with ALC members
  • organizing and facilitating weekly staff meetings
  • coordinating researcher/collaborator meetings
  • responding to inquiries for information

The ALC program administrator contributes to fundraising efforts for the ALC (15% effort). This includes:

  • identifying appropriate funding opportunities
  • participating in grant writing
  • managing grant submission processes
  • supporting the cultivation of corporate and individual donors

Position Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • 2-3 years of administrative experience.
  • Strong public relations, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
  • The ability to work well—whether by phone, email, writing, or in person—with a broad range of constituents both internal and external to the university.
  • Demonstrated initiative and resourcefulness.
  • Willingness to be flexible and work collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks, meet deadlines and handle unexpected crises.
  • Detail-oriented, with strong budget management and problem-solving skills.
  • Sensitivity to issues of equity and diversity.
  • The ability to plan, prioritize, and balance the workload of several projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.

Preferred:

  • Experience with UVM’s business and financial applications and systems.
  • Familiarity with UVM’s administrative organization and academic programs.
  • Web development experience with WordPress and Drupal
  • Spanish language proficiency

This is a part-time position, 20 hours per week, at $18 per hour. We regret that we cannot provide benefits.

 

Farmer research networks & ‘Agroecological X-rays’ in the South American Andes

In mid July, ALC director Ernesto Méndez joined Maria Rosa Yumbla and Ronald Herrera, PhD students at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain), at the Andes Community of Practice (CoP) meeting of the Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP), in Arequipa, Perú. Yumbla and Herrera are conducting PhD studies in agroecology, and working on an ALC project on farmer research networks and participatory action research (PAR) with smallholder peanut farmers in Bolivia. At the CoP, Yumbla and Herrera presented their PAR work with farmers on developing an ‘agroecological x-ray’ to assess the state of their farms and discuss a transition towards agroecology. The term agroecological x-ray was coined by a participating farmer. The CoP included about 14 projects from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia supported by the CCRP, a program funded by the McKnight Foundation.

Yumbla, Méndez & Herrera attending the CoP meeting in Arequipa Perú
Yumbla and Herrera discuss results of the agroecological x-ray exercises with peanut farmers in Bolivia

Katie Goodall, ALC/PSS Alum Carries on with Agroecology

Katie Goodall, who did her Ph.D. with the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), in the Plant and Soil Science Department, at UVM, carries on strong with agroecology teaching. Now an Assistant Dean at the School for Field Studies, Katie is returning to the University of Michigan’s Biological Station to teach Agroecology. She was a teaching assistant at the station, for several years, while pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Congratulations y Adelante (Forward), Katie ! Read more here: https://lsa.umich.edu/umbs/news-events/all-news/search-news/katie-goodall-returns-to-umbs.html

ALC launches second cohort of Undergraduate Research Fellows

The ALC is pleased to invite applications for the second cohort of the Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (ALC Fellows Program). The ALC Fellows Program provides upper division (3rd year +) students the opportunity to develop skills and gain knowledge in agroecology and participatory action research (PAR) to become integral team members of ALC projects. Please note, applications for the next cohort of undergraduate fellows are due: Friday, April 13th, 2018. For more information, check out: www.uvm.edu/agroecology/fellows

ALC director participates in West Africa Community of Practice (CoP) of McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP)

ALC director participates in West Africa Community of Practice (CoP) of McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP)

In his role as agroecology advisor to the CCRP, ALC director Ernesto Méndez joined the CCRP’s West Africa CoP for their annual meeting, held in Niamey, Niger, February 26-March 3. This year, the CoP brought together 14 research projects, which are being implemented in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Project themes range from improving varieties of sorghum and millet, to the use of agroforestry, and the co-creation of agroecological knowledge between farmers and scientists. In addition to learning and interacting with participants, Méndez led a workshop on ‘Frameworks to Assess Agroecological Perfomance’, where participants applied the use of agroecological frameworks in their projects. He was joined by ALC collaborator Steve Brescia, Executive Director of Groundswell International, who discussed agroecology as a science, a movement and a practice. During the workshop, participants engaged with different agroecological frameworks and principles by project, and discussed actors, opportunities and recommendations, by country, in terms of agroecological science, movement and practice.