NMU’s new indoor agriculture program recently received a $100,000 grant on Feb. 12 from Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help offset the costs for a self-contained growing center. According to MDARD’s page, the grants are to help “promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities”.
MDARD received over 139 proposals, totaling over $11 million. The program only accepted 20 proposals, which totaled to roughly $1.7 million. This included NMU’s proposal for a self-contained growing center. The indoor agriculture program is a new major brought to NMU which focuses on hands-on learning of indoor agriculture, sustainable farming practices, urban farming models, environmental infrastructure systems, helping solve the global food crisis and more.
Last fall was the first semester that the program took off.
“One of the biggest challenges of growing a program is finding space, and even though there is some available around campus, and in the Jacobetti Center in particular, it still costs a lot of money to retrofit that space and make it usable for the intended purpose.” Evan Lucas, assistant professor of technology and occupational sciences, said. “We targeted this grant specifically to help alleviate the cost impact of adding space for our labs.”
The program hopes that with the grant money they will be able to grow, and in turn create more space for students to work. Sarah Cormier, a junior in the indoor agriculture program, has exciting hopes for the grant money.
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