The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, design and demonstrate solutions to real world challenges through its P3 Program. The P3 Award Program is a unique competition open to teams of college/university students working to design solutions toward the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity and protection of the planet – people, prosperity, and the planet.
The EPA offers the P3 competition to respond to the needs of people in the United States —including those in small, rural, tribal and/or disadvantaged communities. Proposed projects must embody the P3 approach, which is the intention and capability to simultaneously improve the quality of people’s lives, provide economic benefits and protect the environment. This year’s topics include sustainability- reducing solid waste (or food waste!) as a P3 research area. Applications are due November 19, 2019.
Suggested Project: Native Grasses and Organic Farming
A 2013 study by Charles M Benbrook etal of Washington State university found cows foraging on grass and legumes produce a higher composition of fatty acids in their milk. (PLUS/ONE) Higher levels of omega-3 in comparison to omega-6 mean a healthier body, while higher levels of omega-6 mean a less healthy body (heart disease, for example). (PubMed) A more current 2018 study, also by Charles M Benbrook etal, contains a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional milk’s 6:1 ratio.
I communicated with Organic Valley here in Wisconsin about the content of their grasses. They sent me to the Forage Identification webpage they use as their guideline from Purdue University. Although only a few of the grasses and none of the legumes are native, the big three are Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans).
Wouldn’t it be grand if someone designed a project to compare adding more native grasses and some native legumes to the present mix of non-native/native species?