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Michelle Schroeder-Moreno

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

CEFS Director and Assistant Director of Educational Programs

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor

4126 Plant Sciences Building

Bio

One of the primarily things Dr. Schroeder-Moreno does is provide leadership and teach for the agroecology education programs and courses, which includes developing and directing the Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (B.S.) major and the Agroecology minor programs.

Agroecology is a new multidisciplinary discipline that integrates ecology with agriculture for the development of sustainable agricultural practices and food systems.  In other words, agroecology is the science behind sustainable agriculture. If you are interested in knowing more about agroecology or sustainable agriculture, consider enrolling in one of the agroecology classes below or the agroecology programs.

Throughout the agroecology courses and programs, Dr. Schroeder-Moreno’s goal is to train students as ‘future food system leaders’ that can critically analyze agriculture and food challenges from a multidisciplinary and holistic lens and develop sustainable solutions that are environmentally sound, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. Dr. Schroeder-Moreno also serves as the Assistant Director of Educational Programs for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a partnership among NC State University, NCA&T State University, and the NC Department of Agriculture and one of the leading facilities nationwide for sustainable agriculture research, education and extension.

Dr. Schroeder-Moreno additionally is the Director of the Agroecology Education Farm, a 6 acre student/community farm located near campus at the NC State Lake Wheeler Field station that provides experiential agroecology education opportunities for students and the greater community. Throughout all the agroecology courses and activities at the Agroecology Education Farm, Dr. Schroeder-Moreno emphasizes active and interactive learning where students learn from each other, from various experts in sustainable agriculture across a diversity of disciplines, from local sustainable farmers and from community organizations focused on sustainable food systems. Dr. Schroeder-Moreno  serves as a NC State Community Engaged Faculty Fellow and encourages students to learn and serve the community through  service learning experiences with community partners such as InterFaith Food Shuttle and advises for the student run Campus Farmers Market at NC State.

Dr. Schroeder-Moreno has been recognized for her innovation in teaching and received the NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010, Teacher Fellow award from the North American College Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) in 2014, NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award in 2016, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Croatia in 2015. She was also one of the founders and served as a previous chair of the national Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA).

TEACHING

Courses I Currently Teach:

Introduction to Agroecology (CS 230, 3 crdt) – Offered every fall face to face (CS 230-001) and offered online (CS 230-601) every spring. More information about enrolling in the Online Introduction to Agroecology course

Advanced Agroecology course and lab (CS 430/590, 4 crdt)- Offered every spring

Dr. Schroeder-Moreno also directs the CEFS Sustainable Agriculture Internship Program (CS 495, 6 credits), which is a unique team taught hands-on training program in sustainable and organic production, research and extension that attracts diverse students nationwide and internationally every summer at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). More program information and application information can be found at http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/getinvolved/internships.html

RESEARCH

Dr. Schroeder-Moreno’s research is focused on is focused on understanding the multiple benefits of mutualistic mycorrhizal fungi on various crops and and associated sustainable soil management practices for a variety of production systems. In the last 8-9 years she has worked collaboratively across departments at NC State to understanding how composts, cover crops and mycorrhizal fungi can enhance sustainable production and soil health in strawberry production in North Carolina, especially for systems in transition out of fumigation.

Publications

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Grants

Date: 09/15/22 - 9/14/27
Amount: $150,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS)

The objective of this project is to provide for cooperative efforts between North Carolina State University's investigator and USDA ARS (Agency) investigator with resources needed to facilitate the knowledge of soil health and availability of soil organic carbon and nitrogen to grain and forage crop commodities. Specifically, the investigators will conduct analyses of soil organic carbon and nitrogen fractions in multiple experiments, with the aim of developing improved recommendations for climate-resilient forages and crops.

Date: 09/30/22 - 9/29/25
Amount: $847,541.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS)

This proposal aims to strengthen existing partnerships and opportunities to invest in local food infrastructure that creates long-term regional food economic resilience. Increasing federal and state-level resources have provided significant opportunities for short-term local food markets and institutional engagement. However, more sustainable channels of financial and institutional support for food hubs and local food intermediaries are needed to build sustainable opportunities for farmers and communities. With recent engagement and elevated awareness (1), local governments have a great opportunity to learn, engage, and innovate for systems-level solutions that benefit the health and wealth of farmers and their communities. The growing network of food councils that exists across North Carolina can partner with their regional Council of Governments (COGs) to educate local governments, leverage existing funding streams, and advocate for long-term value chain and local food infrastructure investments. This proposal will build capacity and innovation in three multi-county foodsheds in North Carolina, while leaning on a statewide network of partners. Food councils will lead community outreach and advocacy efforts. COGs will provide capacity building, assistance with regional data collection and analysis, and a strong connection to local governments. The Food Hub Network will provide a needs analysis. Resourceful Communities will lead a cross-county economic and value chain impact analysis and potential funding solutions. CEFS provides program management and evaluation for this proposal, a statewide structure to the network of food councils, and coordinates Statewide and Regional Summits where cross-county analyses will be compared regionally and opportunities for action will be galvanized.

Date: 01/01/23 - 12/31/24
Amount: $205,350.00
Funding Agencies: Dogwood Health Trust

The Produce Rx Program, Harvest Health, was piloted in January of 2022 after a two semester feasibility study with WCU students. Thirty participants were recruited based on diet related disease and food insecurity from Cherokee Indian Hospital and Tribal Food Distribution. Thirty participants were also recruited from Vecinos, a free clinic for uninsured Latinos and Farmworkers. Each participant, for twelve weeks, received a box of seasonal whole foods with an emphasis on local. These boxes were delivered to central locations where attendees could participate in a hands-on cooking class or watch a cooking education video based on that week's box, taught by community educators. Participants also received a box of "cooking essentials" like a sharp knife, immersion blender, and spices. They also received weekly gas cards and childcare to ensure barriers to the access of receiving, consuming, and enjoying fresh, whole, seasonal food was reduced. Participants loved the program and we recorded physical and behavioural changes. Here is a video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mLTRB8F4khk2f4tRAjzJ5c5vCgYZeLPN/view. In January of 2023 the USDA is launching the Local Food Procurement Assistance Program, where boxes of locally grown food will be purchased from NC BIPOC farmers, and distributed to food insecure people. We have been promised 75 boxes a week to Vecinos patients and are requesting Dogwood funding to match the education component of our program. We have proven that by removing barriers to eating seasonal, whole foods, participants consume more locally grown food from our regional farmers who contribute to land stewardship and the local economy. Participants are also healthier and happier, which will benefit generations to come.

Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/24
Amount: $626,230.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The goal of this proposal is to develop a sustainable agriculture beginning farmer registered apprenticeship program that targets veterans. This will be a pilot program implemented in partnership with Lenoir Community College and support from veteran organizations across the state. After the pilot, the program can be expanded across North Carolina with other community colleges and recent graduates

Date: 04/01/20 - 3/31/24
Amount: $359,524.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Global climate change, food security challenges, environmental concerns, and global food crises are complex food system challenges that require innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to agricultural research and education. Increasing diversity creates a more productive and creative workforce with complex problem solving skills. Lack of focused recruitment and training programs in STEM has led to many groups being under-represented. Engaging diverse and multicultural undergraduates in hands-on, cutting-edge agriculture and food systems research while providing structured professional development training will increase student interest and ability to build careers in agriculture and food systems. Our overall project goal is to develop a summer-based agroecology research and experiential training program that addresses the challenges of sustainable agriculture production and incorporates professional career development and structured mentorship. We will recruit 30 students, 10 students per year for 3 years with at least 50% women and at least 40% from traditionally underrepresented groups, including underrepresented ethnicities, first generation college students, and economically disadvantaged groups, to participate in the 10-week paid summer training program. Specific program elements of the summer training program include: Hands-on research experience and training in four core themes that align with AFRI priority areas including: Sustainable crop production and technology; Soil health; Natural resources and the environment; and Food system and socio-economic impacts Integrated extension training through participation in relevant field days and workshops, as well as the development of resource materials for Cooperative Extension Individualized professional skills development, including writing, understanding agriculture career pathways, leadership training, diversity, equity and inclusion competencies and development of an e-portfolio Structured mentorship and network opportunities with faculty, graduate students and agricultural professionals The intellectual merit of this REEU, Diverse Agroecology and Sustainability Scholars Training Program, lies in developing a new and critically needed pipeline for the next generation of diverse sustainable agriculture professionals and researchers equipped to address our complex food and agriculture challenges. With the long-standing collaborative working team of multidisciplinary researchers and educators in agroecology and robust stakeholder partnerships within the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), Cooperative Extension and various organizations associated with North Carolina State University (NC State), our project team has the experience and resources to ensure a quick start and successful implementation of the program. Assessment of participant knowledge, skills, and abilities will take place before, during, and after the research appointments to evaluate the level of achievement of program objectives and student learning outcomes.


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