Barale honored with BIFAD Student Award for Scientific Excellence

Kelsey Barale takes notes during an interview with a farmer
Kelsey Barale, UC Davis graduate student honored with the 2014 BIFAD Student Award, interviews farmers in Guatemala about how they access agricultural information. (Horticulture Innovation Lab photo by Britta Hansen. High-resolution version is available.)

UC Davis graduate student Kelsey Barale was honored today in Des Moines, Iowa, at a public meeting of a U.S. government advisory board in advance of World Food Prize activities.

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, a presidentially appointed advisory board to USAID, selected Barale for its “Student Award for Scientific Excellence” for her work as a graduate student with the Horticulture Innovation Lab at the University of California, Davis.

Barale recently completed a master's degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis and will soon complete a second master's degree in International Agricultural Development.

Student accepts award with BIFAD board at meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development
Barale accepts the award at the BIFAD meeting, Oct. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy Mark Varner, Association for Public and Land-grant Universities.

She is researching how agricultural information moves among farmers in Guatemala, particularly constraints faced by women farmers in the Guatemalan highlands. She presented findings from her research at the International Horticultural Congress recently in Brisbane, Australia. This research is also partially funded by the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies, the Hemispheric Institute of the Americas, and UC Davis Jastro-Shields.

Barale has worked for three years with the Horticulture Innovation Lab. Her work has included overseeing $60,000 in USAID grants each year through the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s Trellis Fund, which pairs a dozen graduate students each year with organizations in developing countries for small horticultural projects.

"Kelsey is an interdisciplinary thinker and she seeks to understand both the biophysical and socioeconomic processes that jointly determine economic, environmental, and other outcomes in developed and developing country settings," wrote Dr. Stephen Vosti, of the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, in a letter supporting her nomination.

BIFAD presents one award to a student and one award to a researcher each year. Team members of the Horticulture Innovation Lab have been selected for BIFAD Awards for the last two years. Elana Peach-Fine was honored for her work as a UC Davis graduate student with the Horticulture Innovation Lab in 2013. In 2012, James Simon of Rutgers University was honored for his agricultural research with the Horticulture Innovation Lab related to nutrition and African indigenous vegetables.

Also honored by BIFAD this year for his research expertise is Muni Muniappan with the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech.

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture builds international partnerships for fruit and vegetable research that improves livelihoods in developing countries. The program is led by a team at UC Davis, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future initiative. For more information, visit

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