biologyScience

The project is looking at how to make “farm-to-table” more sustainable

UTA’s research in Iowa agriculture has a potential impact on urban and rural Texas

An Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) received a $ 248,404 sub-grant to study how to make agriculture more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
“We are trying to determine what it takes to get the peri-urban and urban farms in central Iowa to produce enough consumer food crops to provide 50% of the nutritional needs of the people of Des Moines, and what the impact on the environment will be,” said assistant professor Caroline Craigsey.

Peri-urban areas are largely defined as peri-urban and urban areas – neither urban nor rural in the traditional sense. It is the fastest growing area in many countries.

The National Science Foundation’s total grant of $ 2.5 million went to Iowa State University and includes Northern Iowa University.

Paul Componation, head of IMSE, said Krejci’s work could have a significant impact on other large urban areas nearby or close to the agricultural sectors.

“Urban areas with high growth rates, such as DFW, do not usually think about how to use local resources in a sustainable way,” said Componation. “Looking for ways to make the farm-to-table journey more efficient can improve Metroplex’s sustainability and improve the quality of life for our residents.”

The project scope looks at food production systems in and around Des Moines, and researchers will develop a model that integrates climate, crop production, markets, water systems and the urban environment. Craigsee’s role in the project focuses on modeling farmers and consumers decisions and behavior.

“In the United States, nearly all of our food comes from sources as far away as California or even New Zealand,” she said. Years ago, Iowans produced their own food. Not anymore.

“We use interviews and surveys to determine what it takes to encourage farmers to produce more consumer crops and what can persuade consumers to buy more local food. I will use this data to create a simulation model that tests the impact of different policy scenarios on the structure of the food system over time. A look at impacts on water quality. ”

Craigsey said Iowa is known for producing corn and soybeans, both of which are not environmentally friendly crops.

“The runoff of agricultural chemicals from Iowa farms entering the watershed not only affects the water quality of the people of Des Moines, but also affects people outside Des Moines, as it enters the Mississippi River and flows into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Craigsi. Assistant Professor in Iowa before arriving at UT Arlington. “We are looking at what it will take to change the food supply system to improve water quality and increase central Iowa residents ‘access to fresh, healthy local food, while maintaining or even improving Iowa farmers’ income.”

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