Gallandt, students interviewed for BDN article on Maine academic agriculture programs

Eric Gallandt, a professor of weed ecology at the University of Maine, as well as Madison Lawler and Delaney Overlock, undergraduate students in the sustainable agriculture program at UMaine, were interviewed for the Bangor Daily News article, “Modern agriculture programs in Maine emphasize food production science, policy.” There are fewer family farms in Maine than there were a generation ago, so post-secondary degree programs focused on agriculture, food sovereignty and sustainable growing are taking the place of farming knowledge traditionally passed on from parents and grandparents, the article states. Most of Maine’s public and private colleges and universities offer some form of agriculture degree programs or certificates, the BDN reported. This includes the sustainable agriculture program at UMaine, an interdisciplinary approach encompassing topics from crop rotation and pest management to water quality and economics, as well as hands-on experience working in the university’s greenhouse or with area farmers to offer the Black Bear Food Guild community supported agriculture share program. “In our programs you have students learning from experts,” said Gallandt. “Students can learn about farming in a number of different ways, and we look to give them an appreciation for sustainable agriculture and guide them if they want to go on into farming or further their education with advanced degrees.” “Sustainable agriculture is about more than just the food,” Lawler told the BDN. “It maintains soil quality, mimics a natural ecosystem that doesn’t damage the land and ensures the production of healthy, wholesome food.” And this approach has community benefits too. “I am not against conventional farming whatsoever, but [it] can be done in a sustainable, responsible way that does not harm the environment, [and] includes small farms which allows the consumer to really know where their food is coming from and know their farmer,” said Overlock.