Campus: CSU, Stanislaus -- July 28, 2000

Ethiopian Links Lead To Milk, Seed Shipments

A group of concerned California farmers, who through a California State University, Stanislaus program became aware of the plight of people in Ethiopia who are struggling against drought and famine, have delivered a shipment of hope.

Dairy Relief, a national organization that includes a number of farmers from the San Joaquin Valley where CSU Stanislaus is located, purchased 38,000 pounds of dried whole powdered milk and shipped it to the country in North Africa. The nourishment arrived by ship in Ethiopia on Tuesday, July 25 after Stevinson dairy farmer Tony Azevedo organized a campaign to send the surplus milk product to Ethiopia.

A number of representatives from CSU Stanislaus and California were on hand when it arrived. Accompanying Dairy Relief representatives were Dr. Donald Johnson, an adjunct CSU Stanislaus Professor and former World Health Organization official, and Steve Engfer, a CSU Stanislaus graduate student. Both helped orchestrate delivery of the milk to Ethiopia where the University is involved in an exchange program aimed at linking up the expertise of both countries.

To that end, Getachew Tikubet, manager of the Bio Farm project in Ethiopia and director of the African Renaissance Foundation, will join CSU Stanislaus as an adjunct professor this fall. He will explore grant prospects for the University concerning bio-agriculture and organic farming methods. Considered a world expert on organic insect control methods, Tikubet made his second visit to the CSU Stanislaus region earlier this year, touring a number of farms and meeting with agriculture business leaders who followed up with visits to Ethiopia.

Azevedo returned from a 1999 visit to Ethiopia determined to find a way to get surplus milk products to that country.

In addition to the milk, a shipment of 50,000 donated vegetable seed packets were delivered earlier in the month. The seeds will help farmers in areas where starving people, reportedly boiling grass and eating it for nourishment, grow badly needed vegetables in a grain-growing region of Ethiopia hard hit by drought.

Engfer is co-coordinator of the University's future BioAg Center, an outdoor laboratory and field site for observation, demonstration, and experimentation relating to sustainable land use and environmental planning. He returned home from a 1999 trip to Ethiopia enthused about developing a link between the emerging BioAg Center project at CSU Stanislaus and pest control and waste management sites in Ethiopia.

The University's new interdisciplinary outdoor laboratory and field site known informally as the BioAg Center will enable CSU Stanislaus to offer a permaculture minor, starting this fall.

The University is developing its Agricultural Studies program and the BioAg outdoor lab site, located near the Science Building on the shores of Willow Lake. The new site is now available for faculty and student gardening, horticulture and permaculture demonstration projects on the campus. CSU Stanislaus biology and chemistry students will use the site as a hands-on laboratory resource in the coming years, according to Dr. Wayne Pierce, a CSU Stanislaus Professor of Biological Sciences.

The developing BioAg Center and outdoor lab site near the Science Building on the CSU campus is focused on the application of and experimentation with perrmaculture, biointensive gardening techniques and associated research studies by faculty and students.

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