Stock image depicting International Agricultural Development

The Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health (SBC) has been awarded $721,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service to fund a two-year project to conduct the Food for Progress Post-Project Sustainability Assessment.

The SBC is an interdisciplinary center within the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS) that is committed to creating sustainable research-, outreach-, and education-based solutions to plant health problems that threaten global crop production. The SBC will lead this project while working very closely with its contracted partner -- The Improve Group, a woman-owned, full-service evaluation, research, and strategic planning consulting firm based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Improve Group is committed to helping local, national, and international organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure their investments lead to meaningful, sustained impact. 

“We are excited to partner with SBC on this important project,” says Leah Goldstein Moses, Founder & CEO of The Improve Group. “Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to partner closely with a world class agricultural educational institution like SBC, but it also builds on our growing body of work on the resiliency of food systems in a number of countries around the globe.”                                               

Food for Progress, a program within the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, supports developing countries and emerging markets to improve and strengthen their agricultural sectors by improving agricultural productivity and expanding trade of agricultural products. Food for Progress has active projects in 10 countries, and completed projects in many more. This new sustainability assessment will determine if, and to what extent, Food for Progress development activities and recommended practices have been sustained since the project's end, and what practices growers have or plan to continue. Information learned from this assessment will help shape future Food for Progress activities.

“This project provides yet another opportunity for CFANS faculty, staff and students to positively influence global agriculture and food security.  Integrating expertise from several different disciplines, our assessment activities can be leveraged to build new international researcher-to-researcher partnerships and provide international experiences for our students.  We are excited to establish a new public-private partnership with The Improve Group as well. This new project is a win-win-win for the SBC, CFANS and all of our partners,” says Jim Bradeen, SBC Co-Director. 

Numerous CFANS faculty will play pivotal roles in this project, as they have willingly contributed and shared their expertise in various fields related to Food for Progress projects. SBC Collaborative Research Specialist Britta Hansen played a key leadership role in securing this project and will continue to provide project coordination. The University of Minnesota and CFANS extend congratulations to the SBC for this outstanding achievement.



Media Contacts: Maria Moeller, Chief Marketing Officer, The Improve Group,