Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Iowa Students run Farm and cultivate love for Sustainable Agriculture

The Student Organic Farm, where working is often independent of academic interests, works on the model of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

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An agricultural land in Vietnam. Image. Wikimedia
  • Student Organisation Farm began in the 90s’ as a practical application of sustainability in agriculture
  • A group of university students who started cultivating in farms for local consumption
  • About 40 different fruits, vegetables and herbs are on the list for the present season of growth at the Iowa Student Organisation Farms

Students of the Iowa State University donning casual tees, covered in mud and carefully pulling up weeds as they distinguish between different stages of perennial chives, rhubarb, etc., with their diligently gloved hands might be an unusual sight 20 years ago, but today, a whole new concept of farming has evolved from among the youth in campus.

About two decades back, the lure of multiple small-scale farming groups on the coast pulled shoppers to the markets for their fresh produce and their rich practice of sustainable agriculture. The same was adopted by a group of university students who started cultivating in farms for local consumption. Thus emerged the first ‘community-supported-agriculture’ (CSA) farm in the area, marking a new trend of sustainable growth in the heartland.

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Student Organisation Farm began in the 90s’ as a practical application of sustainability in agriculture. As more and more learners of agronomy enrolled for a dedicated weekly programme, the work got divided, and productive. “I didn’t know how passionate I [would] become for physical work,” says culinary science major Heidi Engelhardt.

“People want to work in kitchens and they want to work in big cities. And that is important, but it’s also important to have that farming aspect. And I think I’m very lucky to have discovered that” adds Heidi as she walks towards the student farm landscaped by basic agricultural tools and farming equipments in the campus.

An agricultural Land. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
An agricultural Land using liquid fertilizers. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Student Organic Farm, where working is often independent of academic interests, works on the model of CSA. Boxes full of freshly produced soybeans, corns and other plants are sent out to the local community during the ripe growing season. Those among students who work three hours a week are entitled to a discounted subscription price.

“Its’ hands-on learning,” says agronomy professor Mary Wiedenhoeft, who serves as an academic adviser on the farm. “And so that’s why the student organic farm is really unique.”

“Not a lot of people in agronomy are going in my direction,” says Riley Madole, who has a paid job as the summer farm manager. Riley aims to pursue the work as career after he graduates in December. As he talks about students assisting in dumping of handfuls of weeds into barrows so the compost doesn’t grow on farms, he adds, “whether it be straight organic or just reduced pesticide use,” its’ the kind of work he would love to do.

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Other than growth assistance and weed removal, students learn to grow food, take care of plants, manage a business, work as a team and know how recruitment works. All the same is inclusive of the added benefit of getting to savor the fruits of their labour, literally.

“I went out and harvested some Brussels sprouts and they’re now my favorite vegetable,” says senior Becca Clay, an agronomy major who joined the farm in her first semester.

Culinary science students express how they assimilated knowledge of their course while working in farms by gaining experience on how to “incorporate fresh herbs into cooking” and other similar tasks. About 40 different fruits, vegetables and herbs are on the list for the present season of growth at the Iowa Student Organisation Farms.

“I really like beets,” says meteorology student Kati Togliatti who started eating beets only after she enrolled as a student volunteer in the farm.

-by Maariyah Siddiquee, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid

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Payday Loans: Why They Have a Bad Rep and How You Can Benefit From Them

There are payday loan companies out there that have mistreated their customers in the past that people just assume that all the companies are like that

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Payday Loans that ask you for money upfront are more than likely going to be scams. You might see them listed online as advance fee loans and these are notorious internet scams that have cost lots of people money that they’ll never get back. Pixabay

Whenever financial emergencies come up, the most reliable and, pretty much guaranteed way of getting money fast, is by way of getting a payday loan. The process to get money in your time of need is so easy… you can apply and qualify in minutes! So, if Payday Loans are so awesome in helping millions of consumers in their time of need, why has it gotten such a bad rep?

Well, you know how in certain situations, all it takes is one person to mess things up for everyone else? That’s how the payday loan industry got such a bad reputation. There are payday loan companies out there that have mistreated their customers in the past that people just assume that all the companies are like that… It’s more so the unlawful acts that made people turn away from payday loans.

Unlawful Acts of Payday Loans

Some of the unlawful acts that have been done to customers include:

  • Not fully disclosing all the terms of the agreement
  • Tacking on excessive interest rates
  • Requiring money upfront

Payday loans that ask you for money upfront are more than likely going to be scams. You might see them listed online as advance fee loans and these are notorious internet scams that have cost lots of people money that they’ll never get back. According to fraudguides.com, the way advance fee loans work is the victim will agree to pay a “finder’s fee” before getting the loan. 

In order for the deal to be sealed, the victim will have to sign a contract and within the contract, there is language and lingo that the victim will agree to pay that fee when they know the source of where their funds will be coming from. It’s not until they pay the “finder’s fee” that they learn that they are disqualified to receive the financing they need.

There obviously scams all over the world… there were actually 5 scams that really shook India back in 2015 but the bottom line is that with scams, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Just pay close attention to what the qualifying requirements are and if they seem suspicious, look for something else… you shouldn’t have to pay money when you need it.

Why Payday Loans Have Gotten Such a Bad Reputation

Customers aren’t fully aware of all the terms of the loan agreement

This area was touched on earlier but to be fair, the reason for this can go both ways. It’s easy to say that the payday loan representative did not disclose all terms of the loan agreement with you but is that really the case? Sometimes the reality of why people find themselves in more debt than they bargained for is because they weren’t fully paying attention to the terms as the payday loan representative was stating them.

It’s very easy to do. The representative could be disclosing everything you need to know but you have this financial burden weighing heavily on your mind that you don’t even hear what the terms of the agreement are… you just simply “sign here” and “initial there” so you can get the money you so desperately need.

Now, it’s very possible that a payday loan company purposely didn’t disclose everything with a borrower simply because they want to get money but lenders are required by law to disclose everything in the loan agreement, including the repayment schedule and interest rate.

Payday Loans
Whenever financial emergencies come up, the most reliable and, pretty much guaranteed way of getting money fast, is by way of getting Payday Loans. Pixabay

The interest rates tend to be higher

Okay, so payday loan interest rates are quite high but you have to look at what you’re paying for in your interest rates… you’re paying for convenience. With payday loans, you’re getting the money you need almost instantly and they don’t do credit checks. So people with bad credit can get approved… if you were to go to a regular loan company, you would immediately be denied due to having bad credit and even if you had good credit, it could take weeks for you to get the money you need, depending on how much you’re asking for. 

So, before you continue on a rant about how bad payday loans are, remember what you’re you’re actually getting; you’re getting the money you need immediately and without a credit check.

Borrowers misuse payday loans

It’s not always the lender’s fault as to why you had a bad experience with payday loans… sometimes you’re to blame because you weren’t a responsible borrower. People don’t fully understand the purpose of payday loans… Payday loans are meant to be used for emergency situations to bring financial relief to those who need it. Instead, people use payday loans to pay for vacations and to buy expensive items. 

When people borrow for those reasons, that’s when you land yourself in financial ruin. What was meant to be “financial relief” has now turned into a financial nightmare… you then find yourself renewing the loan each pay period, not being able to pay it off or pay it down. 

Payday Loans
Payday Loans are meant to be used for emergency situations to bring financial relief to those who need it. Instead, people use payday loans to pay for vacations and to buy expensive items.  Pixabay

Borrow Responsibly

The whole reason people find themselves in more debt than they started out in is because they didn’t borrow responsibly. Of course, there are bad companies out to scam you but the secret to do your part and research reputable companies. If you can do that in conjunction with borrowing responsibly you’ll be able to borrow from anywhere.

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Also, a word of advice… learn to make better financial decisions. If there is something that you don’t necessarily need, you shouldn’t buy it, especially if you’d have to take out a loan to get it; it’s just not that serious. Try to only borrow when you absolutely have to.