Eating Animals Review

Next Tuesday at 12:35pm, Jonathan Safran Foer will be doing a “virtual visit” to the Illini Union, in room 404, giving us a chance to ask him questions about his book Eating Animals, a heavy piece of nonfiction. I call it heavy not because its prose is dense (it’s quite pleasant to read) or because it is full of numbers (all figures that are there are necessary, and in good context), but because its subject matter is so difficult to stomach (pun intended). Though the title might imply that it is a straightforward vegetarian manifesto, Foer assures his readers as early as page 13 that it is not. It is something more complicated and less comfortable for both omnivorous and herbivorous humans. Continue reading

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Permaculture on Organic Farms

ron2Join eOrganic for a webinar on Permaculture on Organic Farms. The webinar will take place on December 9, 2014 at 2PM Eastern Time, 1PM Central, 12PM Mountain Time, 11AM Pacific Time. The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.

About the Webinar

Lots of people are talking about permaculture, but there is very little information about how it could be applied to commercial farming in the US. In this webinar we’ll help remedy that gap by providing an overview of farm-scale permaculture, focusing on opportunities and challenges of diversification, perennial crop development, and market development for perennial crops. For each topic we’ll draw on our own ongoing research projects as well as existing literature, and refer participants to resources for learning more or getting involved.

About the Presenters

Rafter Ferguson, Ron Revord, and Kevin Wolz, are graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You can contact Rafter or learn more about his work at You can contact Ron and Kevin or learn more about their work at

Register now at

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Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Program Open


Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Program gives out $100,000 a year to students pursuing degrees in sustainable agriculture. The company, which you can read more about here, is dedicated to producing responsible, simple, and nourishing packaged food. You can read about past winners by clicking the above image.

Eligibility Guidelines

The program is open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students studying at an accredited 2 or 4 year college or graduate school in the U.S. for the 2015/2016 school year. Students must be focusing studies on sustainable agriculture. International students may apply as long as they are studying at a U.S. school. Annie’s accepts applications postmarked between November 3, 2014 and January 5, 2015. If you are chosen to receive an award, you will be notified by May 25th, 2015, and funds will be dispersed directly to your school on or around July 2, 2015.

The Application

The application consists of two parts – your application and your supporting documents. Complete the application cover page, sign the form and draft a personal statement. Your supporting documents consist of an official copy of your transcript and two letters of recommendation from someone who can speak to your commitment to Sustainable Agriculture. The letters of recommendation must be from contacts that are NOT related to you. Letters of recommendation should be in a sealed envelope and the writer should sign the seal.

Click here for the application (Word Document).

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Event: “Stacking ecosystem services” lecture on Friday

Morgan Robertson, assistant professor of Geography at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver a lecture on “Stacking ecosystem services: Building environmental markets at the intersection of science, capital, and law” from 3:00pm to 4:00pm on Friday, November 7. The lecture will be free and open to the public in room 1005 of the Beckman Institute.

Dr. Robertson research is primarily in wetlands management and market-based environmental policy. You can read his full bio here.

Directions to the Beckman Institute can be found here. Other questions about the event can be directed to Matt Cohen at

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Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Long!

Stephen Long, a UIUC professor and researcher in Genomic and Plant Biology, was named one of Thomas Reuters’s top influential scientific minds in the field of Plant and Animal Science. His research includes topics such as the effects of atmospheric changes on crops, particularly changes that are projected to arise from global warming. You can search the full listing here, and read a description of compilation criteria here.


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Grants: Funding for Prairie and Savanna Research

Prairie Biotic Research (PBR) is an all-volunteer, Wisconsin nonprofit established in 2000 to foster basic biotic research in prairies and savannas. One way that they do this is through a competitive Small Grants Program that funds grants up to $1000 to individuals for the study of any grassland taxon anywhere in the USA, and this includes both natural history and experimental science. Continue reading

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News: USDA to provide $4 million for honey bee habitat

usdaAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees, which play an important role in crop production.

“The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees, and this funding will allow us to work with farmers and ranchers to apply that knowledge over a broader area.” Continue reading

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Important Update on Foer Visit

Slide1We were previously scheduled to have the talk in room 217 today, but we have shifted to room 404, accessible from the northeast and northwest staircases in the Illini Union (those closer to the Green street entrance). For further assistance, please see the map here.

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Webinar: The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development

In celebration of National Co-op Month, please join USDA, national cooperative leaders and development specialists for an engaging webinar on how cooperatives have benefited food supply chains and played a critical role in developing local and regional food systems. The webinar will be on Thursday, October 30 from 1 – 2 pm.

Moderator: Andrew Jermolowicz – Associate Deputy Administrator, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development


  • Elanor Starmer – National Coordinator, USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative
  • Jim Barham – Agricultural Economist, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development
  • Margaret Bau – Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development
  • Robin Seydel – Membership and Community Development Coordinator, La Montanita Co-op
  • Jan Tusick – Center Director, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
  • Karl Sutton – Farmer, Coop Member, Western Montana Growers Cooperative

    This webinar is free to the public and does not require registration.

Click here on October 30 at 1 p.m. ESD to log in to the webinar. Alternately, you can call toll-free (800) 738-1032 to listen to the webinar audio on your phone.

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Event: Cover Crop and Soil Pit Digs in Northwest Indiana

The preview for the event can be found here.

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