Tag Archives: agriculture

Students Help an Urban Farm Rethink Its Future


(First published on State of the Planet on Jan. 25, 2016.)

In the Fair Haven section of New Haven, Conn., rates of obesity and diabetes are high, and access to healthy fresh food can be limited. For some residents of this low-income neighborhood, New Haven Farms is just what the doctor ordered.

The small non-profit agency grows vegetables on several plots around the city, and conducts classes in basic nutrition and healthy cooking. New Haven Farms grew out of a program run by the Fair Haven Community Health Center, which serves the largely low-income, Hispanic neighborhood. Doctors actually prescribe the program as one way to help patients at risk from diet-related diseases like Diabetes 2 learn a healthier lifestyle.

Last fall, a team of students in the Earth Institute’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management program traveled to Connecticut to study the New Haven Farms operation and come up with ways to expand its growing capacity and the number of people it serves. This “Capstone Workshop” was one of several conducted by teams of students in the MSSM program and serves in place of a thesis, giving students a hands-on experience consulting for a real-world client. This video tells the story of what the New Haven Farms team did.

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Climate Clock is Ticking for Pinot Noir

First published on the Earth Institute website on May 5, 2011

Pinot noir grapes in Volnay, Burgundy, in early August, when the grapes have begun to get their color. Photo: Olivier Vanpé

Pinot noir grapes in Volnay, Burgundy, in early August, when the grapes have begun to get their color. Photo: Olivier Vanpé

Vintners in the Burgundy region of France have been tracking their harvests since the 14th century, and they know as well as anyone the importance of picking their grapes at just the right moment to produce the best possible glass of Pinot noir.

Now, a team of scientists has found a way to look at sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and pinpoint that optimal harvest date six months in advance.

“If you’re a decision-maker in Burgundy involved with the wine industry … you could look early during the year, you could see what kind of patterns we have with the sea surface temperature, what kind of winter we had, and you could prepare yourself for a timing of the harvest date end of August, beginning of September,” says Yves M. Tourre, a senior research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Tourre spends most of his time at work for Meteo-France, the French national meteorological service, in Toulouse.

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