Organic farming research to expand with $2.6 million grant

Student with produce

UC Santa Cruz will continue and expand its leading role in sustainable agriculture research with a $2.6 million federal grant to strengthen collaboration with Central Coast farmers to promote organic production in the region.

Researchers at UCSC’s Environmental Studies Department and Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) will use the four-year grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative to expand a network of farmers, researchers, UC Cooperative Extension personnel, and local nonprofit organizations.

It builds on a project that began seven years ago to investigate ways to increase and improve organic production for the Central Coast’s high value strawberry and vegetable crops.

“This grant will allow us to greatly expand the network of farmers and researchers involved in improving organic production and to ask important questions about the environmental and economic performance of different organic production strategies,” says Carol Shennan, UCSC professor of Environmental Studies, who is leading the study.