Researchers and professionals in agriculture and the food system are invited to help launch a new, multistate research, education, and outreach effort supporting new and better ways to grow and market food and useful crops in homes and urban communities.

Faculty, staff, and students in Extension, university research programs, private industry, non-profits, and government agencies are sought to join the development committee of the new Western Urban, Indoor and other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative.

The project was launched by two research and Extension-serving organizations, the Western Agriculture Experiment Station Directors (WAAESD) and Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA), in fall 2020. Brad Gaolach, director of WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research & Extension, leads the development committee.

The western initiative was created in response to USDA-NIFA’s recently developed Urban, Indoor and Emerging Agriculture program, which helps support the development of emerging, urban, and indoor food production across production, harvesting, transportation, aggregation, packaging, distribution, and marketing.

“With new NIFA funding for urban, indoor, and emerging agriculture expected to be available in 2021, this initiative will create opportunities to create new projects, scale-up existing ones, and leverage existing funding sources to help expand and enrich food sources, businesses, and communities nationwide,” Gaolach said.

Potential projects range from commercial-scale to community and home-based production, through food equity, access, and reuse in urban communities. Expertise from all aspects of food and agriculture, including production, distribution, equity, and resource recovery, is welcomed.

People tending crops
People tend crops at WSU’s Eggert Family Organic Farm.

Outreach for the project is being conducted across national urban Extension organizations, including the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER) and the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL).

“This new working group can help WSU faculty and staff and community and industry partners make connections across the West and the entire U.S.,” Gaolach said.

A virtual meeting is being planned for spring 2021 to develop themes and topics for formal research and Extension projects.

Learn more, including how to join the development committee, online.

To get involved, contact Brad Gaolach at 425-405-1734 or by email to