Expanding Resilient Climate And Pest Protection Systems For Diversified Organic Specialty Crop Producers

Grants and Contracts Details


U.S. retail sales of organic foods continue to rise with fruits and vegetables leading the way and making up nearly 45% of all sales. To meet these demands, organic specialty crop growers diversify their production of produce to access direct-to-consumer markets that call for a diverse portfolio of produce. However, organic fruits and vegetables are limited by pests, diseases, and weeds, while organic compliant pesticides often perform sub-optimally and fail to reduce damage and increase yield and profitability. At the same time, climate change is presenting new challenges through increased temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and more frequent extreme weather events that also limit yield and the production of high-quality products. Mesotunnels offer a promising dual-protection strategy to shield crops from these biotic and abiotic stressors. Yet adoption of these protection systems has been limited to few specialty crops, despite growing scientific evidence of their benefits. Further there is a lack of knowledge surrounding how to integrate mesotunnels into diversified fruit and vegetable operations. The long-term goal of this project is to increase the sustainability of the organic specialty crop industry in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast regions by overcoming production challenges including pests, diseases, weeds, and social acceptability, while also and building resilience to climate change related stressors.
Effective start/end date9/1/238/31/27


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $3,477,477.00


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