The AgroEcoLab's research was highlighted in a recent Local Motives video that focuses on saltwater intrusion.
Check out an interview with Kate on Stem to the Sky. She talks about agroecology, work-life-balance, and a day in the life of a professor.
I applied for my position at University of Maryland from the guest house at the Kanisa Anglikana Tanzania (Anglican Church of Tanzania). I am not a religious person, but it was inexpensive compared to the one hotel in town where all the wealthy game hunters would stop over for a night. I much preferred learning how to make chapatti from the nuns than listening to the drunken banter of someone who just shot a zebra for sport. My house had spotty power, no internet, and no hot water. The day before the application was due, the power to the entire town was cut off and I had to ride my bike to my friend Rashid's family store. Where I sat atop a pile of bursting bags of sugar and hooked up my dying laptop to the generator as I tried to submit my application. There was no time for last minute edits and agonizing. It was submit now or never.
Joining the faculty in a Plant Science Department felt odd. I am an agroecologist, soil scientist, and biogeochemist. I still don't claim the "plant hat." But, I feel like I have made a home for myself at Maryland in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. I have the best students a professor could hope for. I love teaching undergraduates as much as I love mentoring my graduate students.
The journey to tenure has not been easy, just like grad school wasn't easy. Being a woman in science isn't easy period. I am fortunate to have wonderful colleagues (who I now call friends), brilliant students (who are now becoming colleagues), and a host of cheerleaders outside of academia who kept me sane throughout this process.
It is an especially difficult time to be pre-tenure with the looming budget cuts across Universities as COVID-19 strips their rainy day funds and fall enrollments plummet. It is also an incredible time to be an educator. For the first time, my single voice is being echoed by the administration - we can't talk about food systems without talking about food justice. We can't talk about food justice without talking about racist policies.
I have the luxury of being on the other side of the tenure line, which means I can speak out. I can amplify voices that need to be heard. I can help change racist policies within the University system. We educators have a duty to have uncomfortable conversations with others and with ourselves. Hell, isn't that what learning is all about? Turns out we are wrong a LOT of the time. But as long as we do something about it, as long as we try to correct it, understand it, we will end up better off than when we started. Some people say, "Ah, now you have tenure, you can take a deep breath and relax." Rather, I like to think of it as, now I have tenure, I can take a deep breath and start speaking loudly.
- By Kate Tully
In the United States, health is often defined by deficiency and lack rather than vigor and abundance — and rightfully so. The World Cancer Research Fund found that, in 2018, the United States had the fifth highest rates of cancer worldwide. Additionally, a report in the International Journal of Cardiology found that the U.S. has the highest rates of heart disease among “High Income Countries”. It is likely that you know at least one person with cancer, heart disease, and/or other chronic illnesses. Suffice it to say that Americans are not the healthiest bunch.
While we may not be able to immediately control several of the factors that contribute to the ubiquity of chronic illness — genetics, medical racism, environmental hazards, etc — there are many factors that we can, and therefore ought to, control. And for some, the food they purchase is something they can control. One responsible way to boost personal health is to maintain (safe) participation in farmers’ markets, CSAs, urban agriculture projects, and other alternative foodways. In doing so, you also support local agricultural systems, farmers, and overall community health.
It is important to acknowledge that the ability to choose the source and quality of one’s food is a privilege. Due to historic and structural systems of oppression, including wealth inequity, racism, and the heteronormative patriarchy, access to environmentally, socially, and culturally sustainable food systems is not equally afforded to every person and community. Therefore, those who have the ability to participate in holistically sustainable and just food systems have the responsibility to do so.
- By Dylan Fishbein
On 4 Apr 2020, Dani Weissman successfully defended her dissertation, earning the title, Dr. Weissman!! I couldn't be more proud of her. Mentoring her was a joy and I am so happy that she will be sticking around the lab for a while and continuing to work on conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Region.
- By Kate Tully
AgroEcoLab alumna, Elizabeth de la Reguera, published a great blog post about saltwater intrusion for Sustainable, Secure Food Blog. Check it out!
A collaboration between the AgroEcoLab and the Northeast Climate Hub resulted in a newly published factsheet! Check it out here.
New publication in ECOSPHERE (Open Access) about nutrient release from saltwater-intruded ecosystems authored by PhD Candidate, Dani Weissman. Check it out here.
New article about allelopathy in cover crops published in Chemoecology. Check it out here.
Hot off the presses! Check out our new article in Organic Agriculture!