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WWOOFing on a Small Organic Farm in NY

July 1, 2022

By: Elora Bevacqua, Swette Center student worker.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is an organization like no other that provides anyone the opportunity to travel and work on farms around the world. The process starts with registering as a WWOOFer on their website and finding a host. When I decided to pursue this opportunity, I wanted to stay in the United States as a “test run” before committing to an abroad experience. After scrolling through the list of hosts located all over the country, I sent messages to many in various northeastern states. Wainscott Farm in upstate New York was the first to respond and Lisa, my future host, accepted my request! 

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Fighting Food Crises with Jocelyn Brown Hall of FAO

June 29, 2022

By: Shelby Kaplan, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

Jocelyn Brown Hall is the Director of the North American Liaison Office of FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which has a focus on food security and agriculture management. The organization was formed post World War II in Canada to reduce hunger while improving food and nutrition security. Currently, there are 190 participating members, and they are present in over 130 countries across the globe. FAO has three major goals in the current food price crisis: let the market decide, don't close off borders, and start thinking about alternatives. I believe these goals are even more important with current events.

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Faculty spotlight: Greg Broberg

June 27, 2022

Greg headshotThis week we are excited to highlight one of our exceptional faculty members, Dr. Gregory Broberg! With an extensive background as an elementary and middle school teacher, Greg has cultivated a passion for educational equity, focusing on how to best support the unique needs of students. Before he was a teacher, he worked in various capacities in the juvenile court, including being a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Dr. Broberg is with the ASU School of Social Transformation as a Justice & Social Inquiry faculty member and Senior Lecturer.

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Equity through the Marketing and Regulatory Program

June 27, 2022

By: Stephanie Lip, ASU Food Systems graduate student

During our weeklong DC Immersive, several of our meetings took place in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) building. On one particular day, we had the privilege of meeting with the team from the Marketing and Regulatory Program (MRP) in the USDA conference room where people from all over the world come to discuss matters with policy officials within the Department.

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Farm Bill Discussions with the Senate Ag Committee Staff

June 24, 2022

By: Wazenn Nithesh, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

Agriculture was one of "three great branches of domestic industry" along with commerce and manufacturing. All three were equally entitled to the care and protection of the government. Agricultural interests were distinct and not always best served when included with those of commerce. On December 9, 1825, by a vote of 22-14, the U.S Senate approved a resolution creating a standing Committee on Agriculture.

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Three Ways to Protect Biodiversity Today

June 16, 2022

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, in collaboration with the Conservation International Lab at ASU and Sustainable Earth, recently published a comprehensive article for conservationists of all ages and all places to help provide greater understanding of what they can do to be a protector of our planet’s biodiversity. The article includes three easy behaviors that every human can do that will directly and positively impact biodiversity at a global scale. These actions include adding more plant-based foods into your diet, discover how you can reduce your daily water use and communicate directly with your elected officials and other government representatives. To learn more about what biodiversity is and how you can add your efforts to protecting the planet, read this article.

Fighting Hunger Differently at DC Central Kitchen

June 14, 2022

By Kate Seybold, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

As part of our Washington DC Immersive, our Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership cohort had the privilege of visiting the future home of DC Central Kitchen. Executive Director Mike Curtin and Healthy Corners Program Manager Yael Reichler met with us to share about DC Central Kitchen’s history, the innovative work they are doing to create a stronger and more equitable food system, and the exciting things on the horizon for the organization.

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Up Top Acres: Rooftop Farms to Feed DC

June 9, 2022

By: Ami Freeberg, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

As part of the Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership program’s immersive week in Washington DC, our cohort visited one of Up Top Acres rooftop farms. Kathleen O’Keefe, a co-founder of the business, shared their story, strategies, successes, and challenges with our class.

Since 2014, Up Top Acres has grown food, flowers, and herbs on building roofs throughout the DC area. The company came together by recognizing the need for developers to manage stormwater through green infrastructure (EPA consent decree), an increasing demand for locally grown food, and interest in sustainable building practices. Today, Up Top Acres manages 17 rooftop farm and garden sites, totaling four acres of growing space.

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GLI participates in BPRI bootcamp

June 8, 2022

By Mira Word Ries—Global Locust Initiative (GLI)

On May 20–21, 2022, Global Locust Initiative (GLI) team members traveled to Texas A&M University to participate in a successful launch event for the $12.5 million NSF-funded Biological Integration Institute: Behavioral Plasticity Research Institute (BPRI). The BPRI is the first virtual institute of its kind, dedicated to studying all aspects of phenotypic plasticity. After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed in-person meetings, the event, called the “BPRI Bootcamp”, provided an excellent opportunity to network, workshop ideas, and explore the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of the participants. The bootcamp brought together 38 faculty, staff, and students across Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Washington University in St. Louis, and the USDA ARS.

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The Role of Federal Agencies in Policymaking

June 7, 2022

By: Jillian Dy, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

Chad Maisel is well aware of the powerful platform for change he is afforded through his job. As Director of Racial and Economic Justice at the White House, he makes high stakes policy decisions every day that impact millions of Americans. His portfolio includes immigration, economic mobility, and racial justice. If you’re wondering if it’s easy to sleep at night with that kind of responsibility – it’s not.

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Desert locust outbreak declared over by the United Nations -- What’s next?

June 3, 2022

By Mira Word RiesGlobal Locust Initiative

Desert locust outbreak Sven Torfinn
31 March 2020, Kipsing, near Oldonyiro, Isiolo county - A desert locusts swarm flies in the region. ©FAO/Sven Torfinn.
The phenomenon of a desert locust outbreak has long struck fear in the hearts of farmers and pastoralists. Swarms that obscure the sun and stretch for kilometers, can easily devour the hopes of a plentiful harvest. From late 2019 into 2022, the Greater Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of southwest Asia, experienced a severe desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) outbreak. Many of the 23 countries impacted had not seen an upsurge of this magnitude in decades. For Kenya, it was the worst in 70 years. In conjunction with other disasters like drought, flooding, armed conflict, and a pandemic, over 36 million people faced crisis-level food insecurity in locust-affected countries (as of May 2021). On March 2, 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared the outbreak was over.

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An Insightful Visit with Congresswoman Pingree

June 1, 2022

By: Nick Benard, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

“So when I write of Maine cookery, I think I am writing American. I think I am writing about the old virtues we think of as part of our culture: resourcefulness, ingenuity, boldness, and imagination.” - Robert P. Tristram Coffin

Sitting in Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s office, surrounded by artwork, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other memorabilia celebrating the breadth and bounty of Maine’s agriculture and wilderness, I was reminded of Tristram Coffin’s love-letter-disguised-as-a-cookbook, Mainstays of Maine. Published in 1944, it’s not so much a collection of recipes as it is a gentle recounting of what makes Maine a unique part of the American landscape. As Congresswoman Pingree talked to our class of master’s students from Arizona State University, we heard a similar story of resourcefulness and imagination, but also one of Maine’s shifting role in agriculture.

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Future Cities episode 60: Environmental Justice and Green Infrastructure

May 24, 2022

UREx Podcast LogoGreen infrastructure features are often celebrated as multifunctional solutions in cities, with an array of benefits that they could provide. However, the implementation of green infrastructure can also cause disservices, including gentrification when green infrastructure features are implemented without a plan for how those features will interact with existing systemic issues. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Fushcia-Ann Hoover about her research on environmental justice issues surrounding green infrastructure. She tells us about her path towards interdisciplinary research, recommendations for cities to envision more equitable green infrastructure implementation, and her business, where she helps researchers and planners alike to center environmental justice in their work and to see the connections between people and the environment.

Follow Dr. Fushcia-Ann Hoover on social media!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EcoGreenQueen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ecogreenqueen/

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Listen on iTunes, StitcherGoogle Podcasts, Spotify, or Buzzsprout.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes, e-mail us at futurecitiespodcast@gmail.com or find us on Twitter @FutureCitiesPod. Learn more about the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) at www.URExSRN.net.

Post-doctoral Research Opportunity at the Sala Lab

May 20, 2022

The Global Drylands Center (GDC), the Extremes Focal Area and the Sala Lab are seeking a postdoctoral research scholar to lead two types of complementary activities. The postdoctoral research scholar will contribute to synthesis activities within the Global Drylands Center and the Extremes Focal Area in close collaboration with the Director, the Executive Committee and GDC-Extremes members. Synthesis activities will be complemented by the deployment of a field experiment at the Jornada Experimental Range in New Mexico with the objective of understanding interactions between intensity and duration of grazing and drought. The experiment will test the hypothesis that thresholds in rates of grass decline and recovery will be controlled by the interaction of defoliation amount, drought severity, and press duration.

This is a grant-funded position. Continuation is contingent on future grant funding. This position is expected to run for two consecutive years. The second-year renewal is contingent upon satisfactory progress and contribution to the collective program.

Essential duties

  1. Collaborate in the activities of the Global Drylands Center and Extremes Focal Area including synthesis, education and outreach.
  2. Design and deploy field experiment and collect data in collaboration with lab manager and graduate students.
  3. Analyze experimental data and write scientific papers associated with the research.
  4. Travel to meetings to perform the work and present results.
  5. Be an active member in research group activities (e.g., participate in lab meetings, mentor students).

Please use this link for more information and to apply: https://apply.interfolio.com/107009

Applications are due by June 12 at 3:00 p.m. AZ time.

Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis for a reserve pool. Applications in the reserve pool may then be reviewed in the order in which they were received until the position is filled.

NGO Panel in D.C. Discusses Value and Veracity of Agricultural Data

May 19, 2022

By: John Gifford, ASU Food Systems graduate student.

A panel of non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders spoke to ASU’s sustainable food systems graduate students during a May 2022 food-policy immersion experience in Washington, DC. Included among this panel were Ferd Hoefner, Michael Fernandez, Ann Mills, and Doug O’Brien.

Ferd Hoefner is a Washington, DC-based consultant working on behalf of multiple organizations with interests in federal farm, food, and environmental policy. His background includes over 30 years as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s policy director and lead Washington representative. Additionally, Ferd is a senior fellow with Arizona State University’s Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems. 

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Meet Master of Sustainability Solutions student Emma Goethe

May 11, 2022

Student Focus Post by Emma Goethe — Global Locust Initiatve

Emma is a Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) student in the School of Sustainability and College of Global Futures. She also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability in May 2021. During her undergraduate career, she defended her thesis through Barrett the Honors College titled “Inspiring Young Learners through Sustainability and Reptile Conservation Education.” Throughout her graduate program she, along with her group members, worked on their culminating experience project covering fair labor practices in procurement at ASU.

Meet Emma Goethe

Q: When did you know you were interested in sustainability science?

Growing up I would make mini-documentaries illustrating my “wild” adventures in the iconic Sonoran Desert, in reality, it was just the wash behind my house, yet from then on, I knew I was fascinated by the natural world. This passion carried over into my college career, when I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability and now my Master’s degree. Sustainability is fascinating as it strives to solve wicked problems that span disciples, boundaries, governments, cultures, and so on. In this sense I never had to be tied down to one area of study, instead, I could learn about the abundance of topics that exist within sustainability.

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CBO is hiring a Program Manager

May 10, 2022

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is hiring a new program manager who supports center operations, including administrative, project management, communications, and fundraising tasks in conjunction with center leadership. This role will act as the primary center liaison for partnerships and research collaborations and the main point of contact for ASU and external partners.

Applications close on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. AZ/MST time (the deadline may be extended based on when we secure a qualifying candidate).

Click here to learn more and apply or apply via Careers at ASU.

Center for Biodiversity Outcomes co-hosts documentary with local high school students

May 10, 2022

Alex DeLeon, Armin Abdoll, Gabriella Sabo, Annelyse Basha Smog of the Sea
Valley high school students Alex DeLeon, Armin Abdoll, Gabriella Sabo, and Annelyse Basha.
On Friday, April 29th, ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes partnered with Seton Catholic's Oceanic and Marine Sciences Club, Xavier's Students for Social Action Club, and Tempe Prep to screen the short documentary Smog of the Sea. Marcus Ericsson and Jack Johnson's Smog of the Sea focuses on the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the ocean.

The event raised awareness of how we impact our oceans and educated guests on how to substitute average items for environmentally friendly alternatives. Funds raised from the screening will be supporting the work of marine conservation ecologist and ASU grad student Erin Murphy as she works on identifying impacts of and solutions for marine plastic pollution.

The ongoing Pitchfunder will continue to support Erin's research in the fields of marine plastic pollution. Consider becoming a part of the solution by donating here.

Carbon Collect MechanicalTree (tm)- Designing Direct Air Capture Solutions

May 9, 2022

Our dependence on the unabated burning of fossil fuels drives the relentless rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, worsening the climate crisis. Historic wildfires and heat waves are becoming a regular summer occurrence in the Northwestern US, while unprecedented freezes are shutting down parts of Texas for several weeks. Decarbonizing the economy and transitioning to renewable energy sources are critical to mitigate climate change and meet the goals set in the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. Unfortunately, the consensus among climate scientists is that this is no longer enough. In their latest assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserted that we need to start removing CO2, from the atmosphere using a suite of technologies called carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.1 By using CDR technologies, the worst effects of climate change can be decreased by offsetting some of the CO2 that we are still emitting, and eventually decrease the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to safer levels.

One of the prominent CDR technologies expected to play a role over the next century is called Direct Air Capture (DAC). DAC is highly attractive because unlike other technologies, it does not require large swaths of land to scale up (like biomass carbon removal and storage; BiCRS), and it is not constrained to geographical locations (like afforestation and reforestation). Additionally, since DAC captures CO2 from ambient air, it can be located anywhere, allowing it to be co-located with any end-use partner, whether that be carbon storage or CO2 utilization.

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