Name of Researcher
Colin Cureton and Connie Carlson
Name of Institution
University of Minnesota
Goals of this IPREFER rearch objective
Develop supply chains that allow for the commercial launch of winter oilseed cash cover crops
A project or question the intern might work on
In this project students will develop marketing, communications, and messaging for winter annual “cash cover crops” such as winter camelina and pennycress that are being developed by the UMN Forever Green Partnership, which have potential to advance major agribusiness and food companies’ recent commitments to address climate change, water quality, soil erosion, and other environmental issues through “regenerative” agricultural practices such as cover crops. While only 6% of US agricultural land is currently using cover crops, the case for cover crops is now well established among growers. However, cover crops much less “cash cover crops” and their benefits are not understood as well by the general consumer, nor has agribusiness and the food industry developed effective marketing strategies for communicating these benefits. The team of students will develop a communications and marketing toolkit (concise slide deck, infographics, potentially supportive photo/video, and key messaging language) for promoting the environmental and economic benefits of winter annual “cash cover crops,” with particular focus on winter camelina, in food and other products in ways that align with emerging consumer value drivers of sustainability and impact.
Knowledge, skills or interests that students should have
- Background, experience, or studies in marketing, business, audio/visual production, science communication, journalism, or writing
- Interest in the food industry and consumers’ emerging sustainability values are a plus
- Willingness to learn the basic agronomics, economics, and multifaceted benefits of incorporating “cash cover crop” winter oilseeds like camelina in Upper Midwestern US row crop agriculture
- Students should be excellent communicators, creative, thoughtful, and good collaborators with their fellow students, researchers, growers, and consumers
Knowledge, skills or experiences the student will acquire
Practical skills in communicating/messaging emerging opportunities to advance sustainability in Midwestern agriculture and the food industry. Cutting-edge consumer research, engagement, and marketing with a strong sustainability focus. Finished projects to add to marketing and design portfolios.
Location of the work (field, greenhouse, lab; city)
Remote, with opportunities for in-person meetings, interviews, and photo/video media development on-location in 2021 as COVID allows.