AC Updates from the McKnight Foundation

Published on:

February 18, 2014

We are delighted to announce three new members of the Advisory Committee for The McKnight Foundation’’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ernesto Méndez, Dr. Jemimah Njuki, and Dr. Thomas Remington to the program. The new members will join Advisory Committee Chair, Julio Kalazich (replacing Richard Jones as Chair as of January 2014), and committee members Bibi Giyose and John Lynam. The CCRP greatly values the strategic guidance the committee provides and we are excited to grow with their experience and support. We thank all our former members for their invaluable contributions over the years, including Richard Jones, Melinda Smale and Musonda Mumba as they rotate off the Committee. A special thanks to Richard Jones for his excellent leadership as AC member and chair.

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. Most of his work utilizes a Participatory Action Research approach to directly support agroecological practice and farmer livelihoods. 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 PhD 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 (IDRC) where she manages the Cultivate Africa’s Future program, 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 PhD 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 PhD in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, conducting research with women rice farmers in The Gambia. Tom then became a Cropping Systems Agronomist at the Africa Rice Center in Cote d’Ivoire and later joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS). As an Agricultural Advisor with CRS for 19 years, Tom engaged in long term assignments in Baltimore, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Bujumbura and Lilongwe.  His 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 that link research and development outcomes. Tom recently joined CIP, the International Potato Center, as a sweet potato value chain specialist and is currently residing in Lilongwe, Malawi with his wife Debbie Shomberg, the CRS Country Representative.