Tarleton receives $294,000 USDA grant for gardening programs, outreach

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STEPHENVILLE (February 9, 2016) — Tarleton State University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is one of 10 non-land-grant colleges and universities to receive a share of $4 million in competitive awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further agricultural research and teaching.

Tarleton’s share— $294,084 as part of fiscal year 2015 funding—will be used to increase campus and community awareness of food and nutrition sustainability through several education, research and outreach programs.


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According to Dr. Don Cawthon, professor in Tarleton’s Department of Wildlife, Sustainability and Ecosystems, the USDA grant money will help:
• Increase campus and regional awareness of the health benefits associated with the use of fresh food,
• Call attention to the importance of reducing food waste,
• Introduce students and local communities to the benefits of life-long gardening through on-campus and community vegetable and fruit plots, and
• Recruit undergraduate and graduate students into food-related careers.

In addition, Tarleton will develop new courses related to food and nutrition sustainability, such as composting, fruit production, medical nutritional therapy, organic agriculture, soils and land use, sustainable food systems and vegetable gardening.

Tarleton will team with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and A&M AgriLife Extension agencies in Erath County to carry out the research and outreach components of its USDA grant-funded programs. Student researchers will focus on peri-urban families with weak traditions in gardening and the consumption of fresh produce.

“University campuses—especially those with agricultural colleges—have a vital role to play in mitigating food shortages and dietary imbalances caused by the world’s rapidly rising population,” Cawthon said.


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“To meet the challenges the United States and the world face as the global population grows will require contributions from diverse, qualified scientists,” said Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture. “These projects and programs will enhance the educational experience of students at non-land-grant institutions and help them create the needed solutions.”

Other recipients of fiscal year 2015 grants are:
• California State University, Fresno: $150,000
• Fort Hays State University (Kan.): $701,072
• Wayne State University (Mich.): $299,998
• Missouri State University, Springfield: $297,584
• Missouri State University, Springfield: $549,411
• University of Tennessee, Martin: $146,910
• Middle Tennessee State University: $714,023
• Texas Tech University: $149,948
• University of Wisconsin, Platteville: $300,000
• University of Wisconsin, River Falls: $149,997
• University of Wisconsin, River Falls: $562,473

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