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New World Agriculture Group (N.W.A.G.)

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Community Resource Directory SCÍGriCG cHid FGChnOlOOV 4198 Natural Science Bldg. University of Michigan AnnArbor, Ml 48109 764-1446 Arising in the late seventies from a local group of socially-concerned scientists, the New World Agricultura Group has developed into an international organization of about 100 ecologists, social scientists, and people nterested in agriculture who seek alternatives to socially and ecologically destructive methods of contemporary agricultural production. Recognizing the interrelatedness of technical, social, and political concerns underlying larger problems in modern agricuiture, NWAG members attempt to approach their study of agricultural problems and possible solutions in an interdisciplinary manner. Exemplifying past research programs conducted by NWAG is its study of the potential use of ntercropping techniques on midwestern tomato farms that would enable farmers to increase production without resorting to mechanization which has the effect of displacing farmworkers fromtheir jobs. Presently, NWAG is working with the National University (UNAN) and the Union of Small and Medium-sized Farmers (UNAG) in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan agriculturalists hope to develop ways of reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which are expensive and bad for the environment, and so increase food production and become less dependent upon foreign inputs. There are several projects, for example, that are focused on the biological control of insect pests through the use of natural predators and parasites of the pests. NWAG scientists are dispersed throughout the United States. The larqest chapters exist on the Cornell and University of Michigan campuses, although there are many active members located in Vermont, North Carolina, California, Kentucky, Minnesota, throughout Canada, and in Nicaragua. NWAG has a steering committee consisting of a member from each of three regions: East, Midwest and West. There is also a Nicaragua Coordinating Committee. Beyond this there is relatively little structure, although regional and international meetings are conducted in a formal manner. Here in Ann Arbor, NWAG members are presently researching the U.S. farm crisis, in an attempt to define it, discover its root causes, and understand approaches necessary for its resolution. Interested persons are welcome to attend our meetings and should cali the NWAGAnn Arbor office (764-1446) to express their interest and find out the place and time meetings occur.