Nine new Trellis Fund projects awarded

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.”

Six of the newly awarded Trellis Fund projects are Continue reading Nine new Trellis Fund projects awarded

Thanks from Uganda: Why the Trellis Fund matters

Editor’s Note: Liz Hohenberger, one of the UC Davis grad students who manages our Trellis Fund, shares a Thank You note sent by an organization that had previously received funding from the Trellis Fund.

The grants that the Horticulture Innovation Lab awards through its Trellis Fund aren’t huge; we fund 6-month projects for $2,000, matching small organizations with U.S. graduate students who can provide expert support. Since the Horticulture Innovation Lab also funds million-dollar projects, this may not seem like much, but we know that Trellis Fund projects can have a lasting impact on the graduate students (think of them as tomorrow’s agricultural leaders) and the local organizations that work together.

We recently received an email from one of the first organizations to receive Trellis funding, a reminder of how big of a difference this small grant can make. The email from Uganda started with:

“THANK YOU THE TRELLIS FUND. YOU GAVE US THE VERY FIRST PUSH!”

The letter went on to explain, “You initiated and nurtured the Environmental Conservation and Agricultural Enhancement Uganda (Eco-Agric Uganda), it’s hard to mention all its achievements now.”  Continue reading Thanks from Uganda: Why the Trellis Fund matters

Moving beyond the computer screen at our annual meeting

Elyssa Lewis, UC Davis graduate assistant at the Horticulture Innovation Lab

As one of the graduate student program managers of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s Trellis Fund, the reality of managing 15 small projects across 9 countries in the last year has meant a lot of time spent at my computer. I love what I do, but I find it easy to get consumed in my own projects. My world can easily become compressed to that which exists inside my computer screen.

Attending the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s annual meeting this year in Siem Reap, Cambodia, was a bit of a wake-up call for me. Getting to meet many of our partners and fellow development practitioners — whose names I’ve read in emails, reports and project proposals for as long as I’ve worked here — brought the scope of our work to life in a whole new way.

Taken off the page and out of my computer screen, Continue reading Moving beyond the computer screen at our annual meeting

Students help students learn state-of-the-art science

A version of this article originally appeared in the Feed the Future newsletter

In a classroom in Ghana, graduate student Dev Paudel from the University of Florida bent over computers with students and research assistants as they learned the basics of R, a free, open-source programming language for statistical analysis that he had installed on the computers earlier that week. As participants in this Kayaba Management Foundation training, the class members would next analyze the results of a needs survey of more than 300 farmers and vegetable vendors from nearby communities. Their goal?

“If we can use state-of-the-art statistical tools (including R) in Ghana, we can generate research findings that would be accepted by both policy makers and the international investor community,” said Hussein Yunus Alhassan, CEO of the Kayaba Management Foundation and chief instructor at Tamale Polytechnic. His new foundation is laying the groundwork for locally led research that supports the horticulture sector in northern Ghana, markets for horticulture value chains, and women’s empowerment.

Though only a graduate student himself, Paudel has several years of experience Continue reading Students help students learn state-of-the-art science

Call for Trellis Fund project proposals

The Horticulture Innovation Lab is seeking project proposals from organizations in developing countries for small horticultural projects, through its Trellis Fund.

The Trellis Fund will offer 15 grants, up to $2,000 each, to local organizations for six-month projects that address horticultural challenges in the region. Organizations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia are eligible to apply.

Project proposals must identify a problem faced by local farmers related to horticultural crop production, Continue reading Call for Trellis Fund project proposals