Hello, my name is Adis Alvarez. I have been part of the Agroecology program for a year now. During this time I have partaken in many activities such as Permaculture workshops, agricultural symposiums, research projects, and internships. These experiences have increased my awareness of pressing global issues concerning agriculture, and have also made feel confident about my ability to one day solves some of these problems.
Currently, I am at the Vegetable and Forage Crop Research unit located in Prosser, Washington assisting Dr. Hal Collins on his research concerning the carbon sequestration potential of different varieties of switchgrass intercropped with poplar trees. Not only will the study evaluate the ability of switchgrass to mitigate climate change, but it will also examine how soil conditions are affected by the intercropping of two perennial species. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=3234
My own research back home deals with the installation of a biodigester at FIU’s Organic Garden. The system, known as Sistema Biobolsa, was designed in Mexico and has been used extensively by farmers to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. The biodigester will convert waste, in this case goat manure, into methane gas that can be used for cooking and heating. This conversion is made possible by anaerobic digestion; a process in which microorganisms break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen. In addition to creating a sustainable fuel source, this process also eliminates the need for additional landfill space by reducing the amount of waste left over from agricultural production. Also, the methane emitted by animal waste warms the Earth far more than carbon dioxide emissions. http://sistemabiobolsa.com/en/
One of my favorite experiences by far has been my time spent at the garden. Being able to grow my own food has given me a special connection to the planet and my peers. It also made me more mindful of what I ate and less inclined to waste food after seeing with my own eyes how much effort it took to get it onto my plate. The time spent outside in the smoldering Miami heat turning compost, planting seeds, and watching them grow into mighty plants is what truly made me realize that I wanted to dedicate my life to agriculture.