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McKnight announces new CCRP advisory committee members

February 27, 2014

The McKnight Foundation announces three new members to its Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) advisory committee. The new members join advisory committee chair Julio Kalazich, and fellow committee members Bibi Giyose and John Lynam. Providing strategic guidance for the CCRP, the advisory committee of six meets periodically to determine goals and priorities for the program, visits and evaluates projects, and identifies projects for funding.
“The CCRP greatly values the strategic guidance the committee provides and we are excited to grow with their experience and support,” said program director Jane Maland Cady. “We thank all our new and former members for their invaluable contributions and excellent leadership.”
The three new Advisory Committee members are:
V. Ernesto Méndez is an associate professor of agroecology in the Plant and Soil Science Department and Environmental Program at the University of Vermont, and currently a visiting professor of agroecology at the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica. Ernesto’s research and teaching focus on developing and applying transdisciplinary approaches that analyze interactions among agriculture, livelihoods, and environmental conservation in rural landscapes. Long-term projects include working on agroecological management, food security climate change adaptation with smallholder coffee farmers in Mesoamerica, and agricultural resilience in a changing climate in Vermont. Ernesto holds a Ph.D. in Agroecology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a fellow at both the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Vermont and an adjunct professor at the International University of Andalucía in Spain.
Jemimah Njuki has worked on Gender and Agriculture in many parts of Africa and Asia for the past 15 years. She has overseen implementation of gender responsive and women-targeted research and development projects that link women smallholder farmers to markets, integrate gender in co-operatives, apply participatory gender responsive research, and work with men and women in agriculture development. Jemimah is currently working as the senior program officer at the International Development Research Centre where she manages Cultivate Africa’s Future, a joint program of IDRC and the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research. Prior to joining IDRC, Jemimah was the Team Leader for CARE USA’s Women in Agriculture Program, and the Team Leader for Gender, Poverty, and Impact at the International Livestock Research Institute. She has written and edited several books and has published widely on gender and agriculture issues in international journals. Jemimah holds a Ph.D. in Gender and Development from Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Thomas Remington has worked in African agriculture and closely with African farmers since volunteering with the Peace Corps in northern Mali in 1977. Tom received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, conducting research with women rice farmers in The Gambia. He then became a cropping systems agronomist at the Africa Rice Center in Cote d’Ivoire and later joined Catholic Relief Services. As an agricultural advisor with CRS for 19 years, Tom engaged in long-term assignments in Baltimore, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Bujumbura, and Lilongwe. Areas of experience include rice cropping systems, seed security, and staple crop value chain development. He has collaborated closely with the CGIAR Center Research Programs, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation throughout his career to strengthen partnerships linking research and development outcomes. Tom recently joined CIP, the International Potato Center, as a sweet potato value chain specialist. He currently resides in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration, and encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based family foundation had assets of approximately $2 billion and granted about $86 million in 2013. Of the total granted, about $6 million (7%) went to support the Collaborative Crop Research Program.
McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program funds collaborative research among smallholder farmers, leading local researchers, and development practitioners to explore solutions for sustainable, local food systems. The program focuses support in 12 countries in Africa and South America where poverty and food insecurity have created hunger hot spots. In 2013, McKnight was awarded $25 million over five years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase its focus on the integration of legumes into the cropping systems of several countries in Africa.
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Tim Hanrahan, McKnight Communications Director, 612-333-4220