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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Meet undergraduate Gabriel DeRosa

Gabriel DeRosa

Gabriel DeRosa.

Gabriel DeRosa recently completed a UConn study abroad experience at the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai in Florence, Italy. He participated in the College’s Sustainable Food and Environmental Systems Program where students learn about European agriculture, economy and society, gaining additional perspectives to compare and contrast with their American experiences.

The program, which occurs in the fall semester, allows students to spend fourteen weeks earning fourteen credits overseas. It features classroom instruction and study tours and internships. Throughout the immersive experience, they learn how food is produced, transformed, distributed, prepared and consumed in Italy. The particular areas of focus are determined by the three CAHNR faculty members that accompany students, tailoring each excursion into a unique experience based on their expertise. Typically, the cost for Connecticut residents is slightly more than attending UConn for a typical fall semester and in the case of out-of-state students, the cost for the program may be lower than that for a typical fall semester. Financial assistance may be available for qualified students. For more information, please email John.Volin@uconn.edu, Hedley.Freake@uconn.edu or Steven.Rackliffe@uconn.edu or go to abroad.uconn.edu.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?

I’m a horticulture major. Growing up I spent a lot of time near farms. I always had friends that had farms or lots of land, and so I was around a lot of animals and livestock. I found I was interested in farming but realized that I wanted to focus on plants. I started looking around for community agricultural projects and different organic farms in my area to get involved in. Once I started working, I knew I had discovered something I really enjoyed doing. Then I found that UConn has a great program for plant science. (more…)

CAHNR takes students to Ireland in May

Ireland is the perfect location for CAHNR students to participate in education abroad and to receive learning beyond the classroom, according to two faculty members who are taking a group there this May.

countryside

CAHNR’s education abroad experience includes a one-week stay in the Irish countryside.

Professors Sheila Andrew, of animal science, and Sandra Bushmich, of pathobiology and veterinary science, are leading the new three-week UConn Global One Health: Irish and US Perspective education abroad program. They noted that this opportunity offers three UConn graded credits in a beautiful place with no language barrier for under $5,000.

Study animal, human and environmental health
Being able to compare and contrast how the One Health concept is implemented in two different cultures is a plus, as well. “We are excited for our students to gain an in-depth understanding of how our food systems are closely tied to human health and environmental sustainability. Visiting Ireland will provide the students not only a comparison to US food systems, but also an opportunity to experience a vibrant culture in a beautiful country,” Andrew said.

The group will be small and stay together for three weeks, which will allow for meeting others with similar interests and for easy access to hands-on learning. The students begin the program in the United States on May 15. (more…)

College faculty facilitate collaborations with Cuban researchers

Cuba Trip (January 2017) 04

A street in Havana, Cuba. Photo taken by CAHNR students on summer 2016 trip.

Five College faculty members traveled to Cuba last week for a networking event at the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) in furtherance of the Cuba Research Initiative. The three-day event consisted of presentations and discussions of agricultural and animal science issues with a focus on developing new projects and collaborations between researchers in the US and Cuba. Representatives from the National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA), Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH) and the ICA greeted the visiting faculty. The meetings provided an opportunity to formulate research partnerships that will benefit both nations.

UConn faculty members and students from the College previously visited Cuba over the summer to participate in an international conference. Prior to the summer conference, Assistant Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences, had initiated and strengthened relationships with ICA, CENSA and UNAH through a workshop she taught on meta-analysis for the biometrics doctorate program at ICA.

The trip was sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), the individual departments of visiting faculty members and Global Affairs and represents an ongoing effort to secure partnerships in the country.

Associate Professor Guillermo Risatti of the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science led the UConn team. Other faculty members include Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science; Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences; and Assistant Extension Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension. Professor John Volin, head of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, was to have gone but had to cancel his trip shortly before departure.

Aviana Rosen of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy and the project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, conceived by Huedo-Medina, accompanied the group as well. (more…)

Economist seeks to determine the contribution of food and agriculture industries to US economy

Richard Dunn

Richard Dunn

Richard Dunn, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is recognized as one of the leading scholars in the economics of obesity; in 2015 he was a plenary speaker on the topic at the International Health Economics Association Biennial World Congress in Milan, Italy. Prior to arriving at UConn in 2014, he established an extensive research portfolio focused on how the economic environment influences risky health behaviors. For example, he recently published an article that connected declines in the stock market to increases in smoking, alcohol abuse and poor mental health. Another project demonstrated that the Great Recession caused alcohol purchases and drunk driving fatalities to increase.

Dunn is now embarking on an ambitious long-term project to compile and analyze federal administrative and survey data to document the contribution of food and agriculture industries (FAI) to the US economy. Statutory reporting requirements generate a wealth of information about the economic activity at US businesses. This data is a valuable resource that can inform policy decisions, improve production efficiency, increase the competitiveness of US firms and better guide economic development in rural America.

Although the United States Department of Agriculture collects extensive information about on-farm activity, they do not compile data on other segments of the food and fiber supply chain. Rather, these sectors are the responsibility of the Census Bureau. Without a mandate to systematically coordinate reporting across all the economic sectors that constitute the supply chain (on-farm production, manufacturing, warehousing, wholesaling, professional and business services, transportation, retailing and food services), the contribution of food and agriculture to the US economy will be underappreciated.

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UConn raises awareness, confronts the challenges of food waste

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced national goals last year to reduce food waste. Setting the mark at a 50 percent reduction by 2030, the agencies stressed the staggering costs of discarded food. Nationally, an estimated 40 percent of food is thrown away, amounting to losses over $160 billion. Food waste affects food security, natural resources and climate change. With one in six Americans lacking access to a consistent, nutritional supply of food and the considerable amounts of energy, land and water used to produce food that is thrown into landfills, strategies need to be implemented to minimize waste.

Scantic Valley Farm Gleaning

Students Caitlin Garvey (CLAS) and Megan Reiser (CAHNR) help glean blueberries left in the field after pick-your-own season at Scantic Valley Farm for the Tasty Waste Lunch event.

Heeding this call, the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) partnered with the Department of Dining Services and a number of other UConn departments and organizations for Huskies Ending Food Waste to raise awareness and effect change to reduce food waste on and off campus through four events this semester. CAHNR collaborated with Community Outreach, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Public Engagement. Other major sponsors of this initiative, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, United Technologies and Foodshare, provided funding support and participated in guest lectures for this Food Waste Series.

Cameron Faustman, associate dean for Academic Programs in CAHNR, helped organize Huskies Ending Food Waste with Jillian Ives. Ives is an academic advisor and program advisor for the College Ambassadors in CAHNR. (more…)