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Research - The Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) at UMD


KEY SAP Action research projects:

• Partnership with UMD Dining Services, which serves the produce we grow and uses it to rebuild their own capacity to use whole foods in their kitchens as a step toward procuring greater amounts from area farmers. The partnership with Dining Serviceshas a twofold function: to provide experiential education opportunities to students in production, distribution and processing of local foods and scratch cooking; and to assist the Dining Services in iterating their own operations to broader scratch cooking from locally harvested produce.

• Partnership with the Glensheen Mansion, for whom we grow large amounts of pumpkins for their annual 'Spooktacular' event.

• Partnerships with area grocers and restaurants, who purchase 'surplus' produce from our farm. Partners have included the Duluth Grill, Mt. Royale Fine Foods, Super One, At Sarah's Table, and Va Bene. In working with these businesses, we expose students to the different needs grocers, restaurants and institutional kitchens have for their produce and the entrepreneurial relationships needed to manage them.

• Trial Seedling Orchard, a five acre abandoned orchard on the UMD Farm which we are now in the third year of renovation. We are exploring options for more fully utilizing it for teaching, research, and community outreach and engagement.

• Duluth Community Orchard, which consists of an initial 50 heritage apple trees won in a 'crowed-sourcing' methodology and whose fruit will be donated to community outlets.

• Teacher Training Garden, revolving around a collaboration with the Duluth Community Garden Program and the Duluth Public School system and partly funded by the Carlton- Cook-Lake-St. Louis Community Health Board. The Teacher Training Garden collaboration revolves around workshops for aspiring and existing teachers on utilizing gardening as part of curriculum.

• Ethnobotany Garden, which features native medicinal and dye plants, was conceived of and is managed by Asso. Prof. David Syring, Anthropology, and students.

• American Indian Garden, a demonstration project with the Intertribal Agriculture Council on growing produce from generationally kept seed-stocks. The IAC is interested in SAP as a model for tribal colleges.

• Western Honeybee Apiary is a a collaboration with the Northeast Duluth Beekeepers on the SAP Farm field site for education and agricultural services around the important role that western honeybees play in pollination activities.

• Native Pollinator Research Plot, is a demonstration site collaborations with the national organization Xerces Society on strategies for reinstituting habitat for native pollinators.

• A 5-10KW Windmill is being explored for installation on the SAP Farm as part of a project spearheaded by the UMD Office of Sustainability and faculty in Civil Engineering in collaboration with SAP.

• A Million Gallon Wildlife/Irrigation Pond, which is in the planning stages and will allow the SAP Farm to irrigate the fields and gardens on rain and snow run off as part of our broader goal of shifting from centralized to distributed and more sustainable infrastructure around food, energy and water systems.

Collaborative Research Projects:

Defining the Agricultural Landscape of the Western Lake Superior Region – Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, U of MN (Abazs, Syring, Stark)
—‘Food, Food Systems, and the New Regionalism at UMD’, Faculty Seminar at UMD, Spring Semester, 2011, Institute for Advanced Studies, UM Twin Cities (Hanson, Farrell, Syring)
—Eating is an Agri-cultural Act: Understanding Food Systems from the Perspective of Citizens Who Eat and Exploring Policy Possibilities for Local Units of Government – Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, UM Twin Cities (Syring)
—Workshopping the Renovation of the Old South Orchard on the UMD Farm, Duluth, Minnesota, Center for Community and Regional Research, UMD (Hanson, Hale)
The UMD edible landscapes initiative: engaging the community in the reclamation and restoration of heritage tree fruits on campus  (Hale)


—Sam Giebner: Let it Rot: Determining the Environmental Conditions Necessary to Maintain a Good Compost Pile in a Northern Climate
—Allison Tubbesing: Let It Rot: Examining the Biological Parameters of a Compost Pile

CLA Technology Grant

Marcie Powers (2011) - Establishing an Integrated Pest Monitoring Program at the UMD Orchard more...

WDIO interview 100 Percent Local Food Possible in the Northland