Racelis leading Agroecology program, newly certified organic garden at UT-Pan American
Once an ordinary stretch of land, a new greenhouse, raised beds and an adjacent field tucked away behind brick buildings at the University of Texas-Pan American became officially organic last week.
Students, faculty, staff and other supporters of the Subtropical Organic Agriculture Research program, or SOAR, gathered in the afternoon heat to tour the garden used for student experiments intended to advance organic farming.
“Everything within this fence is a certified organic operation,” said Alex Racelis, professor and Agroecology program director, about the recent seal awarded to the mini farm by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Racelis noted that despite the Rio Grande Valley’s deep agricultural community roots, a very small fraction of fruit and vegetable production is organic.