Agroecology from A to Z

Adventures in Agroecology and Food Systems

Buen Viaje to Tim Crews!

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Well, it’s official. Tim gave me the key to the mesquite hammer mill trailer on Saturday and he and Sarah headed out for Kansas yesterday. Safe travels and agroecological adventures to you both!

Read the full article with comments.

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Sarah and Tim Crews and their dog, Trucha, spend a snowy day in the Prescott National Forest a year ago. Tim is leaving his job of 18 years as director of the agroecology program at Prescott College.

9/3/2012 9:47:00 PM
Long-time Prescott College professor pulls up stakes

Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT – Tim Crews arrived at Prescott College 18 years ago to start the agroecology program, and left Monday to become research director at the Land Institute in Salina, Kan.

Defining agroecology, Crews said, “It is looking at farms as ecosystems with insects and nutrient cycling, trying to manage them more as ecosystems than factories.”

Crews, who earned a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., recalled that Prescott College appealed to him by offering a commitment to “field-based studies, bridging with rigorous academics.”

Besides establishing an off-campus farm, Crews helped to found the Prescott Farmers Market in 1997 and the community supported agriculture (farm co-op) program on campus three years later.

Crews, 51, regards launching the agroecology program as his biggest accomplishment because it has gained a national reputation for the small private college. The program now offers master’s degrees.

Crews said he has become acquainted over the years with the Land Institute, a nonprofit organization and research center housed on the banks of the Smoky Hill River.

The institute’s website states, “We are creating a new agriculture informed by nature. It produces food while preserving biodiversity. It minimizes the inevitable damage associated with annual crops: soil loss and degradation, water fouled with toxins and drained of its oxygen, and high greenhouse gas emissions.”

That mission meshes with Crews’ values.

“I have been collaborating with them for about 12 years, and I believe very strongly in their goal of developing farming systems that function much more like the native ecosystems they replaced,” Crews said.

The institute’s managing director, Scott Seirer, said, “We have known him for several years. He’s an ecologist, and we have to add that role to our science mix. … He will also be research director, so he will supervise the science staff.”

Scientists at the institute conduct research to find perennial grain crops.

“Tim’s role as an ecologist will help us look at the concept of growing more than one crop in the field at the same time,” Seirer said.

While looking forward to his new challenge, Crews said he and his wife of 23 years, Sarah, will miss Prescott and walking their dog, Trucha, in the Prescott National Forest.

Sarah Crews works in the hospice field.

She and Tim have two daughters: Ruby, 21, and Claire, 18, who attend Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., respectively.

Crews’ former students will miss him as well.

“I would definitely say he was my favorite professor,” said Shanti Rade, a 2001 graduate who operates a small farm with husband Cory in Paulden. “He was an inspiring teacher. He is just a dynamic teacher. He really got his students excited about the subject matter.”

Crews said Prescott College hired an “excellent replacement,” Allison Jack, who earned a doctorate at Cornell from the Department of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology.

Referring to his former employer, Crews said, “It’s a gem. I’ll miss it.”

p.s. I just found this photo of Tim and I at Tim and Sarah’s farewell party.

The passing of the agroecological torch

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One thought on “Buen Viaje to Tim Crews!

  1. Thanks Tim – you made a huge impression on me!

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