Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund

Ariana Rundquist: The thing I liked best about
my experience with Trellis was the fact that I was doing something real, that I could look
on a map and know that there were people there who were taking my advice and who were using
it to try to do something better for their community. What is the Trellis project? Tom Shapland: The Trellis Fund aims to scale
down the Hort CRSP model by connecting graduate students with small research institutions
and non-governmental organizations in the developing world. Peter Shapland: We believe in the model because
small agricultural organizations can utilize minimal amounts of funding to create big impacts
because they have close ties to the communities and low overhead. Tom Shapland: Meanwhile graduate students
build expertise in their studies and are eager to bring those skills to bear. In its inaugural year, Trellis awarded grants
to 10 organizations and 10 graduate students. Projects reached 1800 farmers in 7 different
countries: Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Tajikistan, Nepal. 2011 Trellis projects included… Ariana Rundquist: I worked with a group called
the Randa United Farmers Group in the Bududa District of Uganda. And the project was about
community development through the organic cultivation of passionfruit. Now Passiflora
edulis is an edible fruit, and it’s a high-value crop, so the point behind the project was
to try to raise farmer income in this predominantly agriucltural district of Uganda through the
cultivation of something edible, something nutritious and something delicious. Michael Wolff: My name is Michael Wolff. I’m
a graduate student in the soils and biogeochemistry group here at UC Davis and I worked with a
group called Eco Finder in western Kenya, working with communities on the shores of
Lake Victoria. Topics ranged from empowering rural women
with drip irrigation in Kenya to postharvest apple processing in Tajikistan. Graduate students are a key part of Trellis. Mark Lundy: Trellis was an opportunity in
a very specific place with very specific need to see how well my understanding of cropping
systems could apply, how transferrable that understanding was. Michael Wolff: It was a really positive experience
for me as a graduate student because I was surprised at how useful my expertise as a
soil scientist actually could be. I was really quite pleasantly surprised that the way that
they have taught us to think here at an American graduate school about systems and about nutrient
cycles was a very useful perspective even when examining cropping systems and soils
that I did not have a lot of personal experience with. Trellis gives graduate students international
experience while helping grassroots organziations that serve smallholder farmers. Do you want to be part of Trellis 2012? starting in September 2012, 15 graduate students
will travel to developing world organizations that work with smallholder farmers. Graduate
students form UC Davis, North Carolina State University, Cornell University and U Hawai’i
– Manoa are eligible to apply. To apply to the program, please email [email protected]
with your resume, statement of purpose (400 words max), list 2 references (including major
professor). Applications are due June 6th. For more information please visit http://hortcrsp.ucdavis.edu/main/trellis.html
or send an email to [email protected]

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