Why fruit and vegetable research matters, with updates from our partners around the world
The Trellis Fund, operated by the Horticulture Innovation Lab, connects organizations in developing countries with U.S. graduate students who have agricultural expertise, generating benefits for both the students and the in-country institutions.
Editor’s note: Tiare Silvasy is a master’s student in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who participated in a Trellis Fund project led by the Center for Agricultural Research and Development (CARD-Nepal). She recently returned from a trip to Nepal to work on this project, which focused on soil testing and nutrient management for smallholder farmers — many of whom had never had a soil test before. Here’s a Q&A with highlights from her trip.
Question: How does your work on this Trellis Fund project fit into your studies and career?
Tiare Silvasy: In Hawaii, my thesis is on nutrient management and I’m looking at local organic fertilizers, specifically at meat and bone meal, produced locally here from the islands’ fish and meat wastes. We’re looking at using those local materials on our farmer’s fields, instead of importing fertilizer products. Meat and bone meal contain a relatively high amount of nitrogen for an organic fertilizer.
Tell us about the main work you did on this Trellis Fund project during this trip.
The Horticulture Innovation Lab invites organizations in developing countries to compete for new Trellis Fund grants up to $4,000 each for 6-month projects, to extend horticultural information to local farmers and stakeholders along fruit or vegetable value chains.
Project proposals may address horticultural crop production, irrigation, plant nutrition, pest management, postharvest practices or marketing issues in relation to fruits and vegetables. Once projects are selected, the Trellis Fund will connect organizations with U.S. graduate students who have related agricultural expertise for project support.
Both new organizations and previously awarded organizations are encouraged to apply. Organizations based in these countries are eligible to apply:
In Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia
In Latin America and the Caribbean: Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras
In Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, and Tajikistan
Editor’s note: After this original announcement, two changes were made to student assignments and are reflected below.
The Horticulture Innovation Lab team has selected nine graduate students to support Trellis Fund projects in Africa and Asia in 2017.
Through their work on the Trellis Fund projects, the graduate students will apply their agricultural expertise to support local organizations as they work together to help smallholder farmers better grow fruits and vegetables.
The Horticulture Innovation Lab is now recruiting graduate students with agricultural expertise to participate in nine new Trellis Fund projects in Africa and Asia.
U.S. graduate students from North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are eligible to apply.
The deadline for applications is Nov. 4, 2016.
Selected students will work to support a six-month project, with 100 hours of remote work and also travel for 1-2 weeks of in-country work. Projects will take place during 2017 in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Cambodia and Nepal.
The Horticulture Innovation Lab has announced nine new projects in Africa and Asia as part of its Trellis Fund program.
Each of these six-month projects is funded with a $2,000 grant, with work scheduled to begin in 2017. A U.S. graduate student with related expertise will be matched to each project, to provide additional agricultural knowledge and support for local goals.
“We are pleased to build new relationships with local organizations, with support from our innovative Trellis Fund program,” said Elizabeth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab at the University of California, Davis. “We believe this model, which links knowledgeable U.S. university students with local, on-the-ground practitioners, can help further extend horticultural expertise to farmers nearby.”