Seeking insights into integrated animal-horticulture systems

Understanding the socioeconomic feasibility and trade-offs involved in mixed crop-livestock farming systems — ones that specifically incorporate fruit and vegetable crops — is the focus of a new call for concept notes.

The Horticulture Innovation Lab is offering a grant up to $750,000 over three years to support a research project in integrated animal-horticulture systems. Sept. 19 is the deadline for brief concept notes, submitted by U.S. university researchers.

The research should be focused on the needs of smallholder farmers in developing countries that are part of Feed the Future, with priority given to Cambodia, Nepal and Rwanda.

“We are hoping to attract researchers from a range of disciplines — sociologists, economists, livestock specialists, and agriculturists — who have experience working in this area, even if not specifically with horticultural crops,” said Beth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab. “The most important thing is to have a  Continue reading Seeking insights into integrated animal-horticulture systems

5 elements to better work with resource-poor farmers: A.S.K. M.E.

portrait: Mark Bell
Mark Bell, Horticulture Innovation Lab Leader, Communications and Information Transfer

By Mark Bell, the leader for communications and information transfer at the Horticulture Innovation Lab. Bell is also the director of the UC Davis International Learning Center.

The “ASK ME framework uses 5 elements to help researchers, extension agents, development workers, and educators better work with farmers and meet their needs in a variety of situations.

A = Audience and needs. Assess the relevant needs and wants of the audience. Talk with partners, target groups and stakeholders using methods such as: focus groups, participant observation, field visits, surveys, interviews, key informants, and intuition based on field experience.

S = Solutions. Identify solutions that are appropriate for the farmers’ socio-economic and market circumstances. Test and validate solutions under farmer conditions.

K = Key message. Identify the key message related to each solution. What are those elements absolutely Continue reading 5 elements to better work with resource-poor farmers: A.S.K. M.E.

Newsletter: New grant RFP, horticulture on world stage

Below is a copy of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s email newsletter, in case you are not already a subscriber. If you would like to receive this email newsletter in the future (including notifications of our future funding opportunities), please subscribe. You can also browse our past newsletters. Thanks for reading!

We are once again announcing a new grant opportunity this month. For those of you counting, that means the Horticulture Innovation Lab has three open calls for research proposals right now. We look forward to reviewing your applications and hope you’ll take a minute to share these opportunities with colleagues who might be interested. This week we will also be attending the American Society for Horticultural Science conference, a chance to connect with some of our colleagues and partners, old and new. We are always interested in meeting more brilliant researchers and further strengthening our network.

CALL FOR CONCEPT NOTES ON INTEGRATED ANIMAL-HORTICULTURE SYSTEMS The Horticulture Innovation Lab is offering a grant up to $750,000 over three years to support a research project in integrated animal-horticulture systems. Sept. 19 is the deadline for brief concept notes, submitted by U.S. university researchers. Continue reading Newsletter: New grant RFP, horticulture on world stage

Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

Horticulture, micronutrients and nutrition will play an important role at this year’s World Food Prize events and Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, October 12-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.

This year’s World Food Prize laureates — Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, and Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) and Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus — were selected for their work with bio-fortification and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, which provide a Vitamin A-rich alternative to other sweet potato varieties traditionally eaten in parts of Africa.

Accordingly, the theme of the Borlaug Dialogue will be “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” with an emphasis on the crucial role of nutrition in global food security.

The Horticulture Innovation Lab’s director, Beth Mitcham, will contribute to that discussion as a speaker at the Borlaug Dialogue. She will be Continue reading Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

MásRiego project starts in Guatemala

Expanding irrigation and climate-smart farming to Guatemala

An international team led by UC Davis is working to connect 9,000 rural households in Guatemala with improved water management and climate-smart agriculture strategies, to increase food security and reduce poverty.

Called MásRiego (“more irrigation”), the project aims to increase farmers’ incomes and their use of climate-smart strategies, including drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, reduced tillage, mulch use and diverse crop rotation. To enable farmers to adopt these new practices, the team will not only provide trainings but also build partnerships to increase farmers’ access to needed microcredit financing and irrigation equipment.

“The opportunity to impact so many farmers’ lives on this scale is exciting,” said Beth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab. “We’re taking lessons learned from our previous research — in Guatemala, Honduras and Cambodia — and building a team to help more small-scale farmers apply our findings and successfully use these innovative practices.”

The new project is part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. It represents an additional $3.4 million investment in the UC Davis-led Horticulture Innovation Lab by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s mission in Guatemala.

Partnering with UC Davis is an international team with representatives from Centro de Paz Bárbara Ford in Guatemala; Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala; the Panamerican Agricultural School, Zamorano, in Honduras; Kansas State University; and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Continue reading MásRiego project starts in Guatemala