Accelerate for Success Grant for Silverstein

Brian Silverstein, SoA Associate Professor and Director of the Arizona Center for Turkish Studies, was awarded funding through UA Research, Discovery and Innovation’s Accelerate for Success grants, for a project he’s the PI on, with collaborator Murat Kacira, Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. The project is titled “Cultural Aspects of Grow-House Technology Acceptance among Refugees in Southern Arizona.”

Abstract: This pilot project brings social science together with agricultural biosystems engineering in a new collaboration among faculty in SBS and CALS to understand how members of Tucson’s refugee community experience interaction with controlled environment growing systems (“grow-houses”: greenhouses and hoop houses specifically). Tucson’s refugee community faces severe challenges to social inclusion and economic sustainability, at the same time grow-house food production is showing economic promise in the region. This project examines whether grow-houses might help develop mechanisms for income, by exploring how refugees interact with such technologies and what the major factors are in refugees’ acceptance of such technologies. Data will be collected at the UA’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) to refine and hone the research questions, currently focused on: How do refugees from different cultural backgrounds, of differing genders, and at different ages, interact with the grow-house environment? How do culture, gender, age, education, and pre-existing food production skill-sets affect refugees’ interactions with one another in the grow-house, and with grow-house technologies? This project will bring refugees from the Tucson community (mainly Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan) to the UAgFarm facility, where they will be made familiar with grow-house technologies through presentations and hands-on workshops. (Anthro News digest date: 9/6/2019)