Graduate students learn sustainable farm technologies to strengthen communities in developing nations

ALEC graduate students visit the World Hunger Relief farm outside Waco

ALEC graduate students visit the World Hunger Relief farm outside Waco.

In an effort to learn about globally sustainable farm methods and technologies, six graduate students in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications visited the World Hunger Relief farm outside of Waco, TX, earlier this month.

As part of the high impact experience, students toured the farm’s gardening and field operations, harvested vegetables and explored their broiler production operation. They also visited the farm’s dormitory, a Nicaraguan-inspired house and various other facilities similar to ones found in developing nations.

“This farm is an excellent training ground for anyone who aspires to do agricultural development work in developing nations,” said Manuel Piña, associate professor of international agriculture. “It benefits our students to see these sustainable technologies in action and gain feedback from professionals who are devoted to changing the agricultural landscape in poor communities.”

High impact experiences such as this are essential components to the teaching culture of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. The goal is simple – to offer all students a range of opportunities that lead to a more “enriching, impactful and practical university learning experience.”

Mitch Baker ’19 was one of the students who had the opportunity to experience the World Hunger Relief farm first hand. The opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life who are passionate about doing exactly what he wants to do – help others – is what he’ll take with him the most.

“A high impact experience is like being placed in a greenhouse,” said Baker, a graduate student focusing on international agricultural development. “We are able to learn different things, and with the right setting and temperature, we are able to grow at our own pace so that our individual experiences contribute to our future success.”

The Central Texas farm, which is a local example of the global effort of World Hunger Relief, Inc. (WHRI), specifically “focuses on addressing hunger issues of low-income, elderly and disabled individuals through various community gardening projects.”

Internationally, WHRI “equips individuals to work with communities in developing sustainable farming techniques.”

“Our goal is to properly prepare students to strengthen agriculture in the developing communities of the world,” Piña said, “and it’s high impact experiences like this that reinforce what’s taught in the classroom.”

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