Students share Trellis stories in Davis Enterprise

six people stand talking in a vegetable field
Brittany Pierce discusses plant pests and diseases with farmers in Bangladesh. Horticulture Innovation Lab photo.

Three UC Davis students shared their experiences with Trellis Fund projects this summer for a front-page article, “Global insights: Trellis students work abroad,” in the Davis Enterprise.

For the article Felicia Alvarez, who covers the agriculture beat for the Davis community newspaper, interviewed students Brittany Pierce, Deirdre Griffin, and Belinda Richardson. She also talked to Elyssa Lewis, one of the UC Davis graduate students who manages the Trellis Fund for the Horticulture Innovation Lab, about how the program works.

The article is dramatic and entertaining, bringing readers along on the students’ journeys and into distant agricultural fields, beginning with:

They found themselves in Bangladesh, Malawi and Kenya.

…. After months of preparation, three students journeyed abroad to take a crack at agricultural problems in the developing world. These are their stories.

Read the rest of the article here.

Three people holding amaranth grain in field of amaranth
Belinda Richardson, left, picks amaranth in a demonstration garden with Olivia Atieno Nyaidho and Onyango Vincent, both of DIG, in Kenya.

Though 14 students from multiple universities were selected to participate in this year’s Trellis Fund projects, this article focused on the individual experiences of just these three — all of whom returned from their trips abroad very recently. As I write this blog post, two students are traveling for Trellis projects right now, and six others are planning Trellis trips in the near future.

The newspaper article follows Pierce through a day in Bangladesh and into the vegetable fields where she gathered information with an organization called PRIDE related to pests, diseases, and alternative management options for farmers growing eggplants and cucurbits.

Then the article rides to fields in Malawi with Griffin, a Ph.D. candidate studying soil science, who developed curriculum for farmer training sessions on soil health with the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology.

The article ends with Richardson, a Master’s student focused on international agricultural development, working on market analysis and other lessons for a farmer business school with Development in Gardening (DIG) in Kenya.

Trellis background

As Alvarez described, Trellis works as “a smaller scale” version of the Horticulture Innovation Lab, by funding organizations in developing countries for small projects ($2,000) and matching them to knowledgeable U.S. graduate students who can provide agricultural support. Students receive travel support and a small stipend ($300) for their work. The Horticulture Innovation Lab’s work is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

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