Tuskegee University Breaks Ground on Sustainability Center
TUSKEGEE, Alabama – In the tradition of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University continues its synergistic relationship with area farmers and local communities with the development of a state-of-the-art agricultural, technological, and research facility.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Dec. 5 for the Carver Center for Integrative Sustainability and USDA Service Center, which will be located on the corner of Mortley Lane and Franklin Road across from the Tuskegee University Research Farm in Tuskegee, AL.
The development of the facility was spearheaded by Walter Hill, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Sciences, and director of the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station. Hill envisioned a facility where federal, state, and local agencies, Extension agents and university researchers could lead research initiatives in agricultural and technological advancements, and collaborate with farmers to improve crop productivity, enhance the lives of community residents and further sustainable development of the area’s economy.
“We are putting a facility here that will serve people by taking technological knowledge and converting it to something practical farmers can use,” said Bill Puckett with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The development of the Center was made possible through the collaboration of a number of organizations, including NRCS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tuskegee University, Congressional leaders, Alabama county commissioners, Walmart, Sodexo, C.H. Robinson, and Whole Foods.
“We’ve got great leaders and great farmers and now we’ll have a facility that will bring the two together and provide us with the technical assistance we need to help make people’s lives better,” said local farmer Al Hooks.
The facility is expected to open by Dec. 1, 2012. In addition to the Carver Center for Integrative Sustainability, the facility will also house a USDA Service Center, which will serve eight Alabama counties by providing research and Extension-based programming.
In addition to the Carver Center for Integrative Sustainability groundbreaking ceremony, a groundbreaking ceremony was also held for the Black Belt Family Farm Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Innovation Center. The center will be held west of Selma, AL on Highway 80 and will serve as a packing and value-added processing facility for local fruits and vegetables, as well as help provide technical and outreach assistance to a newly formed farmer cooperative.
Both groundbreaking ceremonies took place during the 69th Annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference held at Tuskegee University, Dec. 4-6.
Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region.