Perspectives Online

CALS Ingenuity

Dr. Johnny Wynne (left) hosted a reception for Carlo Petrini (right), founder of Slow Food International, an organization that defends food biodiversity, educates people about food and builds food communities. Petrini was featured at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems' inaugural Sustainable Agriculture Lecture in May. (See related Story)
Photo by Becky Kirkland

We're all familiar with the term "American ingenuity" - the innovation and resourcefulness that solves problems and gets the job done. At Disney's EPCOT, an entire attraction called "Innoventions" is dedicated to the technologies that have developed through such need-based creativity. In this issue of Perspectives, you'll encounter that same problem-solving resourcefulness on the part of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences personnel - a kind of "CALS Ingenuity" that helps provide solutions, as it gets jobs done.

College "innovention" has been at work in Kure Beach, where Dr. Bill Hunt and Dr. Mike Burchell have taken on the problem of storm water washing contaminants through drainpipes onto the beach and into the ocean. In response, they are experimenting with an abundant local resource - the sand - and have designed and installed a Dune Infiltration System to pass storm water beneath the dunes and filter it through the sand rather than direct draining into the ocean. Read here about the results of this new water diverting-and-filtering method.

In a story in our Alumni section, Dr. Mike Boyette of our Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering is on the scene in Halifax County. There he has assisted the Edwards family in fine-tuning the large-scale wood-burning boiler they use for tobacco curing. It's such a unique, clean-burning system that Boyette calls it a "breakthrough" and its owners "real innovators."

The College has helped many producers reinvent themselves through diversification, and one success story is reported here. A Gibsonville dairy farm, which previously supplemented its dairy income with a tobacco crop, now operates a thriving farmstead cheesemaking business. This new source of income to the farm came about after the owner participated in a farmstead cheesemaking short course in our Department of Food Science. The innovation has paid off for the family, which now produces and markets three types of cheeses.

In Madison County, some of our youngest College clientele, the 4-H'ers, are embracing new technologies and putting them to practical use. We report here how this group, using Global Positioning System receivers and Geographic Information System software, has created the first GIS map of old roadways in the western part of the state.

In those and several other articles in this issue - including the College Profile of Dr. John Cavanagh, news about graduate students' field-research findings and announcements of the latest honors and awards to our faculty - you'll see what "CALS Ingenuity" means.

Johnny Wynne, Dean
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences