This is a list of past and current projects and research at the GVSU Sustainable Agriculture Project. Academic projects and research contribute to the social, educational, environmental, economic, and aesthetic systems at the SAP. Projects and research can be contributed by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty. If you are interested in doing research at the SAP or for more information, see our Research Guidelines.

Funded Place-Based Project Grant Proposals

Impact of Volunteer Tree Planting on Attitudes Toward Experiential Learning and Knowledge of Agriculture

The purpose of this research project is to investigate student attitudes toward experiential learning.

This research by Cullin Flynn and Dr. Amy McFarland was funded in 2016.

To view the Grant Proposal, click HERE.

Biomass Production Potential and Economic and Environmental Impacts of Willow Cultivation

This research intends to conduct a trial of four commercial-quality willow varieties to determine:

  1. The biomass production potential;
  2. The environmental effects of willow cultivation; and
  3. The economic benefits, costs, and economic development impact of the biomass energy system.

This research by Erik E. Nordman, Ph.D. was funded in 2016 and is in progress.

  • To view the Statement of Research Interests, click HERE.
  • To view the Grant Proposal, click HERE.

Identification and Characterization of the Bacteria that Form Root Nodules with Pea Plants at the SAP

The purpose of this research project is to identify and cultivate the species of bacteria that form symbiotic root nodules on pea plants grown at the SAP.


This research by Jennifer Winther (faculty) and Gwynne Powell (undergraduate) was funded in 2018 and is in progress.

To view the grant proposal, click HERE.

Other Projects at the SAP

Farming the Future (2016)

This project seeks to determine whether hands-on community education classes would prove to be beneficial to the community, the children, the SAP, and the environment.

For access to the full content, visit ScholarWorks.

Holton, Andrijka; Jacobs, Brittany; Swanson, Cassie; Swanson, Hannah; and Young, Taylor. "Farming the Future" (2016). Environmental and Sustainability Studies Undergraduate Research. Paper 5.

GVSU Sustainable Agriculture Project Handbook (2014)

The purpose of the SAP handbook is to:

  1. Provide an overview of the history and organizational structure of the Sustainable Agriculture Project.
  2. Document and share useful techniques and insights gained from past experiences of the SAP community.
  3. Capture the current vision and share potential ideas for future growth.

To download the handbook, visit ScholarWorks.

Darwich, Youssef and Eardley, Dana. "GVSU Sustainable Agriculture Project Handbook" (2015). Honors Projects. Paper 408.

Soil Analysis Testing (2014)

This project aims to establish new methods for analyzing the soil on a regular basis while also being cost efficient for the SAP to perform.

For access to the full content, visit ScholarWorks.

Woldyk, Nick. "Performing Soil Analysis Tests at the Sustainable Agriculture Project on a Regular Basis" (2014). Environmental and Sustainability Studies Undergraduate Research. Paper 1.

Study on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Associations in Fruit Trees (2014)

This research characterized the arbuscular mycorrhizal associations (symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots) in the roots of ten fruit trees at the SAP.  Results showed variation between both the fungal diversity and percent colonization between the different fruit trees.

For access to the abstract, visit ScholarWorks.

Aldrich, Kennedy and Winther, Jennifer. "S3 Study on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Associations in Fruit Trees at GVSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Project" (2014). Student Summer Scholars. Paper 131.

Effects of Vermicompost on Germination (2012)

This project explores the efficiency of incorporating worm castings into the vegetable starts at the SAP.

For access to the abstract, visit ScholarWorks.

Weis, Joseph. "Effects of Vermicompost on Germination of Various Vegetables" (2012). Natural Resource Management Undergraduate Research.

Page last modified October 12, 2018