2012 22.1 WSU Students Recieve Scholarship to Attend Annual Tilth Conference

With funding from the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR ) and the WSU Organic Farm, a group of graduate and undergraduate Washington State University students had the opportunity to attend the annual Symposium and Tilth Producers Conference in Yakima this year. Students from several majors such as Organic Ag Systems, Field Cropping Systems, Horticulture-Green House management, Sociology, Weed Management, Soil Sciences, and Ag-related doctoral programs participated with attendees from related backgrounds. The students applied for the CSANR and WSU Organic Farm scholarship and actively participated to form their well-rounded group that included some students from as far away as Nepal and Nigeria. The group shared a common goal of learning about worldwide agricultural systems that can be sustained both environmentally and economically.

These students are dedicated to changing food production and distribution systems and were excited to make use of the tremendous resources available at the conference. Tilth Producers, CSNAR, and the WSU Organic Farm provided this unique opportunity to facilitate new connections among the students and organic and sustainable agriculture professionals (namely farmers and researcher professionals). Scholarship recipients we also interested in refining and developing their focus and course of study at the conference.

To be eligible for credit along with the scholarship, students filled out an extensive application and participated in a preconference planning process to select a focus they would carry throughout the conference weekend. Pre-conference requirements for scholarship eligibility included developing a list of questions and goals that were designed to catalyze the conference experience. Students researched additional expertise on their subject of focus so they would be well-versed in it prior to making contact with conference presenters, then performed an in-person interview of conference presenters and participants, wrote a detailed research report on their chosen subject, and created an extensive evaluation of the overall process. Tilth Producers will use findings from these postconference evaluations to refine support of the next generation soon to enter the food paradigm and provide critical insight to WSU for offering programs relevant students passionate about sustainable food systems.

Students were very appreciative of the opportunity to attend the conference and meet the people who are currently working in the fields they hope to enter. Many commented on how useful it was to see research side by side with on the-ground implementation by farmers, and how well this demonstration aided their overall education related to organic/low-impact agriculture. Samples of the students’ articles can be found on the Tilth Producers website. The articles cover specific interests and topics addressed by the student group and provide an introduction to the up and coming farmers and researcher professionals joining the work towards a healthier future in agriculture.

Tags: Conference, CSANR, Funding, Organic Farm, Scholarship, Students, Tilth Conference, WSU