California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has released an update to its Master Plan that indicates that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites could be repurposed for buildings, including residential, and/or recreational space.
According to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head, the proposed changes directly affect the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department. The department is committed to making sure that its facilities remain invaluable teaching environments that enable its students to learn about crop, fruit and horticulture production, food safety and pest protection, in addition to providing sites for externally funded research projects that benefit the industry.
Industry members are invited to submit comments to the university. According to Steinmaus, a recent eMail to the Cal-Poly community from the university president indicates that all of the input gathered through the end of May will be studied by the planning team.
“We need as much input as our industry leaders can provide in this short time period,” Steinmaus says.
Students voiced their concerns at a recent listening session that made the local news. They focused on the urgency of maintaining Class 1 soils for agricultural use, and the importance of having such land close to the campus in order to facilitate the school’s Learn by Doing philosophy, Steinmaus says.
“You may have the same concerns and could effectively voice concern that developing agricultural land around the Crops Unit would also seriously impact research and learning collaborations with outside industry,” Steinmaus says.
Here is what you can do to help:
- Submit your comments about the Master Plan through its website or directly to [email protected]
- eMail or call in your concerns to the university president’s office at [email protected] or 805-756-6000
- eMail or call in your concerns to the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office at [email protected] or 805-756-2161
- Pass this message along to anyone who you feel would be an effective advocate for the program and its lands.
Visit StudentsForAg.com to see more about how the current students feel about the proposed plan.