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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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61% of Indian business owners think their business may experience cybercrime during Covid-19

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SMBs believe that cybercrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before. Pixabay

About 61 per cent of Indian business leaders and decision-makers think their business is more likely to experience a serious cybercrime during the Covid-19 situation as opposed to 45 per cent globally, said a survey on Tuesday.

About a third of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe that cybecrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before, showed the study by US-based cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.

From February to March alone, CrowdStrike found that there was a 100x increase in Covid-19 themed malicious files.

Interestingly 62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed, the highest among all the countries surveyed, provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats and Cybercrime while working from home.

The “CrowdStrike Work Security Index” surveyed 4,048 senior decision-makers in India, Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and the U.S across major industry sectors.

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62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats while working from home. Pixabay

The survey looked into the attitudes and behaviours towards cybersecurity during the Covid-19 situation.

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It included responses from 526 Indian decision-makers across small, medium and large business enterprises.

The survey revealed that a large majority of respondents around the globe are now working remotely, with more than half of them working remotely directly as a result of the pandemic.

This, in turn has given rise to the use of personal devices, including laptops and mobile devices, for work purposes, with 60 per cent of respondents reporting that they are using personal devices to complete work — with countries like Singapore and India even reaching 70 per cent or higher in personal device usage. (IANS)

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Google fellowship in journalism aims to support students of colour

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The Google News Initiative Student Fellowship initiative has opened applications for a 10-12 weeks paid programme for students aspiring to build a career in journalism. Pixabay

The Google News Initiative Student Fellowship initiative, aimed at developing and supporting students of colour who are interested in careers in journalism, has opened applications for a 10-12 weeks paid programme.

The selected fellows will be given a travel payment of $1,000, plus a stipend of $5,000 for the course of the programme which will run from roughly September to December, Google said on Monday, adding that applications close on August 1.

“All fellows, who will have the opportunity to work remotely, will be selected by nine host newsrooms: Eugene Weekly, Houston Press, Isthmus, al Día en America, La Noticia, Vida Newspaper, the Washington Informer, the Omaha Star and the NNPA Newsroom,” Ashley Alese Edwards, U.S. Partnerships Manager, News Lab at Google, wrote in a blog post.

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The newsrooms in the US often do not reflect the diversity of the audiences they cover. Pixabay

A 2019 survey by the American Society of News Editors estimates that less than a quarter of newsroom employees identify themselves as a person of colour, compared to the US population, which is 24 per cent. The percentage is even smaller for newsroom leadership.

Google said its News Initiative Student Fellowship programme intends to address the barriers of access to early career opportunities many students of colour face, as well as support investigative journalism, technological innovation, and digital transformation in local newsrooms that serve diverse and underrepresented populations.

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Delhi government will also run awareness programmes regarding the same threat

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The threat of locusts is increasing in North India. Pixabay

To deal with the attack of locusts in the national capital, the Delhi government has issued an advisory for spraying pesticides, Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday.

Rai said in view of the increasing threat of locusts in north India, the Agriculture Department of the Delhi government will run awareness programmes to make the people and farmers of Delhi aware of this new threat.

“Also, the Delhi Government has issued advisory on spraying pesticides and its quantity,” Rai tweeted.

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“All concerned authorities are hereby advised to take preventive measures to control and eradicate the locusts to avoid devastating effect on standing agricultural and horticultural crops, vegetation, plants, gardens, orchard etc. in Delhi,” the circular said.

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“Also, the Delhi Government has issued advisory on spraying pesticides and its quantity,” Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai tweeted. Wikimedia Commons

It directed that awareness programmes be organised for the public and farmers to prevent and control any such invasion by locusts in Delhi.

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