2015 Young Scholar Enhancement Grant Projects

With attached research posters

LS13-256: Ethnography and Sustainable Agriculture Research: Investigating the Southwest Georgia Project Food Hub; William Sumner, undergraduate at Georgia State University. Little systems research exists that critically examines food hubs. The Young Scholar worked with an active food hub in Albany, GA to study the process of beginning a new food hub in order to better understand the challenges faced by small-scale African-American farmers in constructing a sustainable food system.  Sumner learned that food hub work is not simply a matter of connecting small farmers to larger markets but in this context, it is about addressing issues of inequality and social justice and making rural communities stronger and more resilient.

LS13-257: Undergraduate Field Experience in the Living Mulch Corn System; Ali Hintz, undergraduate student at University of Georgia. The living mulch system is a new crop production system in which corn is planted using no-till methods into a field of established Durana white clover. The goal of the project was to determine the relationship between corn and Durana white clover by examining how clover height influences clover mass, how corn height influences the amount of light available to the clover (light interception), and how light interception influences clover mass. Study results showed light interception increased with corn height, which caused clover to senesce its leaves. It is hypothesized that the nitrogen from the senesced and decaying clover will be taken up by the corn. In order to test this, corn and clover were sampled and will be analyzed for their nitrogen content to validate the hypothesis.

LS12-250: Extending the Market Season with High Tunnel Technology for Sustainable Organic Fruit Production; Kenneth Buck, undergraduate student intern at University of Arkansas. The goal was to study the relationship between blackberry production system (tunnel-in-tunnel, high tunnel, and field) and the effect on fruit and storage quality.  Additionally, the student conducted a project on the potential for mist cooling systems to serve as a temperature regulation system in high tunnel primo cane blackberry production.  Preliminary results indicated no significant differences in post-harvest quality among the treatments.  The SSARE Young Scholar Enhancement internship provided the undergraduate student with an opportunity for the application of classroom learning and the development of hands-on skills in preparation for a career in sustainable agriculture.

LS12-249: Internship with Organic Rice Production; Tommy Tan, Westbrook High School, Beaumont, Texas. The research that was conducted involved determining the nitrogen composition of the soil of various fertilizers as well as examining the bacterial microorganisms to more deeply understand the biochemical processes involved in nitrogen consuming bacteria in organic rice production.