Growing Together: The Agronomy Project

Hal Morpeth welcomes student volunteers. photo courtesy of CELS News

This is a story about a university, its faculty, staff and students, the State of Rhode Island, some Master Gardeners, and a food bank. It’s also about testing new vegetable cultivars, and bringing many diverse interests together to grow good food, and lots of it.

For the past several years, University of Rhode Island Plant Sciences professor Dr. Rebecca Brown and research associate Carl Sawyer, with help from some URI students, have been growing fresh produce for the Rhode Island Food Bank. This year, the project has undergone a significant expansion. Dr. Brown needed more help, and a team of volunteers headed by Master Gardeners Hal Morpeth  and Charlie Samson got involved. With help from some URI and other student volunteers, they made the transition from “gardening” to “farming,” planting hundreds of cucumbers, lettuces, peppers, cabbages, carrots, potatoes, and onions.

volunteers getting down and dirty. photo courtesy of CELS News

Vegetable trials are also part of the project. One of these, partially funded by the RI Department of Environmental management, is testing blight-resistant tomatoes.

Bringing so many diverse groups together seems to benefit everyone. The trials will produce research data, the volunteers – including Master Gardeners – gain valuable experience, and the Food Bank gets the fresh produce. Sounds good to me.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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2 Responses to Growing Together: The Agronomy Project

  1. Wendy says:

    a perfect partnership. Some of those kids look young. Did they have some local middle schools help out too?

    My 6th grader has had lots of gardening/farming/environmental lessons in her science units at school.


    • dirtynailz says:

      Yes, there were some middle school students, and yes, I think it’s a perfect partnership, too. I only wish this heat wave would break so it would be easier to work in the fields!


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