One of the most complex agricultural and natural resources challenges of our time is sustainably feeding the world while at the same time conserving biodiversity and the natural environment. We are working in Belize with community agriculture and conservation partners to improve understanding of sustainable approaches to address this challenge.
To develop leaders in agriculture and natural resources research and extension who can synthesize the complexity of agricultural systems to keep US agriculture at the forefront of addressing sustainable global food security.
Our 3-year experiential research and extension project brings together 14 undergraduate students and 10 mentors to investigate smallholder farms practicing conservation, adjacent to the Vaca Forest Reserve in Belize. Through the project, we train students through one-on-one student-mentor focused projects, which have both a research and extension component. Selected students conduct research in their first summer in Belize and follow this with outreach and extension of their research in Belize in their second summer on the project. We are conducting projects on crop production and soils, social and economic systems, wildlife, forestry, and ecosystem services. For more information, read the March 2017 UT press release.
A highly trained corps of skilled undergraduates, equipped with technical and cultural competency to solve challenges facing global and domestic agriculture and natural resources.
USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA): Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates Fellowship Program, Grant #2016-06392.
The funded period of the project is January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2019.