Agriculture's place in Earth's ecology will be the focus of the 2012 Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture Oct. 29 at Iowa State University.
Erle Ellis, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland will present "Agriculture in the Anthropocene: Growing a Sustainable Human Ecology." The presentation will be free and open to the public at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall at Iowa State's Memorial Union.
"This presentation will characterize the emergence and history of agriculture as a global force transforming the Earth's system, while demonstrating the vast potential for agricultural systems to continue evolving ever greater benefits for both humanity and our planet's ecological heritage," Ellis says.
How human use and transformation of the Earth are driving global changes
Ellis studies how human use and transformation of the Earth, including agriculture, are primary drivers of global changes in climate, biodiversity and biogeochemistry. He has developed a scientific approach to mapping the human footprint, including tools that link human and ecological change processes on a small scale with their global causes and consequences.
The annual Pesek Colloquium, named for John Pesek, Iowa State University emeritus professor of agronomy, encourages discussion and community response on topics vital to sustainability in agriculture. The event is sponsored by the: Bioeconomy Institute at ISU; ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; ISU's Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; along with the Department of Agronomy; Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology; ISU's Plant Sciences Institute; the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; the Leopold Center on Sustainable Agriculture; Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body); and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
NEW PROJECT RESULTS AVAILABLE ON LEOPOLD CENTER WEBSITE
In other news from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU last week, it was announced that summaries of three recently completed competitive grant projects are now available on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture's website.
Kim Greder, ISU Extension, led a Marketing Initiative project to help families in Cass County, Iowa connect with their local food system. Through interviews, workshops, field trips and cooking sessions, the investigators identified and began to address the barriers to purchasing local food, which ranged from affordability and accessibility to simply knowing what to do with an eggplant. Learn more here.
In another Marketing Initiative project, local food coordinators with Pathfinders RC&D worked with producers in southeast Iowa to gauge their interest in combining marketing efforts and incorporating into a single group. They identified establishing trust and having a dedicated administrator as major requirements for successful cooperation. Learn more by clicking here.
Finally, the results from an Ecology Initiative project show that reconstructed prairies have promise as a future biofuel crop, comparing favorably to corn in terms of biomass, nitrate loss and greenhouse gas emissions. The project, led by Robert Horton, ISU Agronomy, and Tom Sauer, USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, expands ongoing work at the Comparison of Biofuel Systems (COBS) site in Boone County, Iowa. Learn more here.
Find these and other completed grant summaries on the Web. The Leopold Center has funded more than 480 competitive grant projects since 1988 under four initiatives: Marketing and Food Systems, Ecology, Policy and Cross-Cutting.