Research and Impacts
As a land-grant university, the U of M is committed to conducting research to improve Minnesota’s agricultural and forest products, horticulture, human nutrition, family and community, and environmental quality.
MAES’s multidisciplinary research explores the ecological, economic, and environmental interactions between the agriculture that feeds the world, the environment that sustains the earth, and the human interactions that support our society.
Advancement of agricultural research was the initial call-to-action when the Hatch Act was implemented in 1887. Today, researchers continue to search for key solutions to provide safe, healthy, and economically and environmentally sustainable food sources for a growing population.
Research is at the heart of advancing horticulture understanding to develop new varieties and opportunities for future generations. Our researchers work on projects involving horticultural plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers with the aim of expanding Minnesota’s horticulture industry.
As environmental concerns continue to create new challenges, University researchers are committed to finding solutions for everything from forest conservation to developing sustainable cropping systems to discovering alternative and renewable energy sources.
As society has moved away from the rural areas and into cities, U of M researchers have been ideally placed to explore the societal, economic, and personal impacts. From affordable urban housing to food safety and animal health concerns, researchers are exploring today’s important welfare issues and discovering solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted food supply chains across the U.S. It is essential for our food system to provide adequate nourishment to the people and support the livelihood of people who supply food. In response, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and Extension specialists from five universities have partnered to generate science-based knowledge and resources to enhance preparedness of the U.S. food supply chains for future disruptions.
A collaborative research project has led to the creation of the Culturally Enriched Communities website, which fuses interdisciplinary research findings with design-related best practices that can be used to eliminate health, income and educational racial disparities and strengthen the economic and cultural vitality of neighborhoods, cities, regions and states.
Originally launched in 2017, the Parentopia Project involves the design of a web-based application that complements parent learning and engagement through Minnesota’s ECFE program. As a closed platform, Parentopia.org can promote both class specific and site-wide discussion, private messaging, and general program information. In more recent years, the platform has expanded to additional school districts and enabled research with parents and staff to design technology as a hybrid for face-to-face interactions. Research has also identified the specific learning benefits to parents meeting in consistent groups and forming networks rich in social capital.
Growing North Minneapolis is a community-driven program which aims to build food, environmental, social and cognitive justice through sustainable urban growing and greening. Learning and career development are experiential and contextualized in real-world experiences related to the FEW nexus. Urban youth, predominantly of color and low socioeconomic status, are hired through a local workforce development program, and work together with UMN undergraduates and North Minneapolis community mentors to form intergenerational communities of practice.