SRamaswamyDr. Sonny Ramaswamy (at right in above photo), director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), visited the College Monday August 14. He was hosted by Mike O’Neill, the College’s associate dean and associate director of UConn Extension (left, facing camera). During his presentation entitled “Transformative Innovations for 21st Century Food and Agriculture,” Ramaswamy spoke about NIFA’s efforts to catalyze discoveries to address agricultural challenges through education and engagement. He described NIFA-funded projects  at the cellular, organismal and community levels to address nutritional security, food waste and efforts to decrease the ecological footprint of agricultural production. He emphasized the need for sustainable consumption as well as sustainable production. Following his talk, Ramaswamy met with faculty and administrators from the College and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and representatives from other New England land-grant universities. The discussion covered a variety of topics, including the challenges faced by smaller land-grant institutions. Earlier in the day, the group met for breakfast with Vice Provost for Research Radenka Maric before touring the Innovation Partnership Building on Discovery Drive.