News

New Course Alert! PSS 312: Ecological Foundations of Agroecology

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
 
We are reaching out to let you know about a new online course being offered Spring 2018, PSS 312: Ecological Foundations of Agroecology (3 credits). This course will be taught by Dr. Vic Izzo, UVM Lecturer in Plant and Soil Science (PSS).
 
Course Description: This online course examines the ecological foundations of Agroecology, largely from a biophysical perspective. Over the course of three sequential modules, students will explore the fundamental principles of ecology and their application to agriculture systems and landscapes. Students will be challenged to evaluate agricultural systems from an ecological perspective. By comparing and contrasting conventional and agroecological rationale and production, students will identify and understand how to apply ecological strategies for the development of sustainable agricultural practices.
 
Course Highlights: This course will give participants an opportunity to interface with key players in the agroecology movement through online discussion boards and recorded lectures. Some of the guest lecturers include: John VandermeerStacy PhilpottNate SandersSid BosworthEric Roy, and Laura Hillamong others. 
 
This course can be used as the one of the required courses for the new Certificate of Graduate Study in Agroecology, which will be officially launched summer 2018. 
 
 
For more information or questions, please contact: Vic Izzo, vizzo@uvm.edu. 
 
Please share widely with your networks, students, and colleagues.

Janica Anderzén, Ph.D. Student on PECSII Conference in Mexico

Janica Anderzén, a PhD student in the ALC, presenting a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project on livelihood diversification in smallholder coffee communities in Chiapas, Mexico. ALC is one of the partners in this collaborative and transdisciplinary project. The PECSII conference on “Place-based transdisciplinary research for global sustainability” was held in Oaxaca, Mexico. What a great & inspiring conference that brought together academics and practitioners from 35 different countries! #PECSII

ALC Awarded EPI Grant

The Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative is excited to announce that our new project, Engaging Co-Learning Through Participatory Action Research (PAR), has been awarded funding through the Engaged Practices Innovation Grant at the University of Vermont.

The abstract for this proposal states, “We recognize that participating in real, hands-on agroecology-related research has resulted in important results for student engagement and learning. In response to requests from current farmer partners for research that is useful and relevant, this proposal seeks to expand the PSS/ENVS 212 (Advanced Agroecology) service-learning course to incorporate participatory action research (PAR) co-facilitated by student interns. Four students will be selected as “Farmer Team Captains” or FTCs, and will work closely with faculty and staff of the Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative, farmers and their student peers, while gaining strong leadership skills, experience in conducting and facilitating agroecological research and learning what a multi-actor PAR process requires to succeed.

The project is a collaborative partnership, which includes Karen Nordstrom, Lecturer, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences; Joshua Faulkner, Farming and Climate Change Coordinator, Center for Sustainable Agriculture and UVM Extension, and our farmer partners: Corie Pierce and Brandon Bless, Bread and Butter Farm; John Hayden, The Farm Between; Hilary Martin and Dylan Zeitlyn, Diggers’ Mirth Collective Farm; and Christa Alexander and Mark Fasching, Jericho Settlers Farm.

We look forward to strengthening and deepening our relationship with Advanced Agroecology students, farm partners, and associated UVM affiliates with the support of this grant!

ALC Student Research Opportunity

We are seeking highly motivated ENVS seniors looking for a thesis or internship capstone project in agroecology, climate change and farming in the Northeast to join a research team led by a graduate student in the Plant and Soil Science Department. What information do farmers and outreach professionals need to best support vegetable and berry growers in adapting to the impacts of climate change? This research project seeks to identify emerging trends and innovative strategies which farmers are using to successfully adapt to extreme weather on vegetable and berry farms in New England. The purpose of this study is to generate usable information, and is based on the idea that many farmers are actively and successfully adapting to severe weather to sustain the economic viability and ecological health of their farms. In this first year of this project, the research team will go to farmer meetings and conferences across Northern New England to administer a survey on adaptive management.

For more information and where to apply, please see the attached flier:
ALC Climate Adaptation Internship 2017-18

ALC Hosts Participatory Action Research (PAR) Workshop at UVM

The Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) hosted a full day workshop on Participatory Action Research (PAR) at UVM, on September 29. The workshop included lectures, case study presentations and participant exercises to better understand what PAR is and how to do it. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) program, a collaborative initiative among UVM, York University and McGill University (both in Canada). The event received support from the Department of Plant and Soil Science, Food Systems graduate program, and the Department of Biology at UVM. What a great and inspiring day! As one of the Canadian participants put it: “I wish I had taken this workshop on my first year of the PhD.”

New Book Review of Agroecology Text

Check out Molly D. Anderson’s book review below of, Agroecology: A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-Oriented Approach. Anderson writes,

This book assembles contributions from some of the most outspoken and articulate academic advocates, practitioners, and analysts of agroecology (and most authors work across these realms). Many of them have worked together and mentored or influenced each other, so they share a common perspective on agroecology despite different disciplinary lenses. Individual chapters are consistently accessible and well-documented, and refer the reader to previous writing by these authors. Having chapters from this stellar group guarantees a strong and authoritative book on current thinking about agroecology and the development of the field. As a whole, this book might be seen as a field guide to agroecology 2016, i.e., a place where readers can discover the themes and topics that academics who identify with agroecology are/were thinking about at this point in time and how they construe its history (2017, August 04).

Follow the link to read the whole review.