CBER Blog Page

Producer and consumer perspectives on supporting and diversifying local food systems in central Iowa

Oct 12, 2023

Iowa UrbanFEWS team published important findings regarding consumer and producer perspective on local food systems.

We examined producers’ willingness to include/increase cultivation of local foods and consumers’ interest in purchasing/increasing local foods. We used focus groups of producers (two groups of conventional farmers, four local food producers) and consumers (three conventional market participants, two locavores) to pose questions about production/consumption of local foods.

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Wei Chen was awarded alternative modes of scholarship from the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Urban Geography Specialty Groups

Jul 26, 2023


Wei created a 2-minute video to explain why her research matters. Her video with the title “Listen! Nighttime satellite is whispering about U.S. electrical weakness” can be found at:  https://vimeo.com/763439048. This video has been awarded alternative modes of scholarship. This award is to recognize the increasingly diverse ways in which researchers disseminate their research. 

Sedigheh Ghiasi is awarded a grant from The Climate and Quaternary Research Fund

Jul 25, 2023


The Climate and Quaternary Research Fund is a grant program provided by the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at ISU. It was established to support research and experiential learning opportunities related to global climate change and quaternary research.


Wei Chen was selected as the 2023 Reiman Gardens' Science Communication Fellow

Jul 24, 2023


As a science communication fellow, Wei Chen has gained hands-on training and experience to share her research with public audiences. Equipped with the knowledge gained from informative 16-hour workshops, Wei was inspired to design several interactive activities that would resonate with a diverse audience. These activities focused specifically on building energy consumption, aiming to foster connections and raise awareness about building energy savings. 



Yuyu Zhou speaking at National Academies Workshop on Digital Twins in Atmospheric, Climate, and Sustainability Science

Jan 23, 2023

The digital twin is an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize atmospheric, climate, and sustainability science. Digital twins can be used to create global-scale interactive models of Earth and better predict climate and weather conditions, among other applications.

Vishal Muralidharan picked as the winner of Sustainability Tank, by means of Audience Vote

Oct 14, 2022

Vishal Muralidharan visited the National University of Singapore (NUS) between August-September, as part of the Second Student Cohort for the Center of Leadership Development in Built Environment Sustainability (https://www.cldbes.org/second-student-cohort-tbd).

Tássia Brighenti presents at the 11th International Drainage Symposium

Sep 26, 2022

11th International Drainage Symposium (https://www.swcs.org/events/past-events/past-specialty-conferences/22ids/attendee-information/) , August 30-September 2, 2022 in Des Moines, Iowa


Tássia Brighenti presents at the International SWAT Conference & Workshops

Sep 26, 2022

(https://swat.tamu.edu/conferences/2022-prague/), 11-15, July 2022 at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental. Sciences. For the Conference agenda, presentations and video access: Agenda | SWAT | Soil & Water Assessment Tool (tamu.edu)

Wei Chen presents teamwork at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.

Sep 21, 2022

Ecological Society of America (ESA) is the nation’s leading professional society of ecologists, representing 10,000 scientists, researchers, policy-makers, and managers from the United States and over 50 other nations. 2022 ESA annual meeting was held in Montreal, Canada, from August 14 to August 19. Wei Chen, a Ph.D. student supervised by Dr.

Sedigheh Ghiasi wins first prize in the Carbon Negative Idea Contest Organized by the ISU Green Umbrella

May 05, 2022

Participants had 5 minutes to pitch their idea. Sedigheh's idea was based on her MS in Architecture thesis which promotes Photovoltaic rooftop panels to develop low carbon and resilient neighborhoods using a user-friendly- interactive GIS-based map. Click here to see her presentation.

Understanding urban plant phenology for sustainable cities and planet

Apr 08, 2022

Understanding urban plant phenology for sustainable cities and planet published by Yuyu Zhou. This article discusses the effects rapid urbanization has on plant phenology. The complexity of urban environments provides difficult growing constraints for plants. However, opportunities in spatial data and technologies greatly aid in the study of urban phenology. An advanced understanding of plant phenology and the changes due to urbanization is dire for understanding how to grow sustainable, urban ecosystems.

2022-2023 Brown Graduate Fellowship Cohort Announced: Tiffanie Stone

Mar 08, 2022

Recipient: Tiffanie Stone
Degree Program: Environmental Science, Ph.D.
Nominated By: Thomas Isenhart — Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

PFI Lightning Talks

Feb 24, 2022

At the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) Conference, Tiffanie Stone presented how climate-smart local Iowa vegetables are compared to US conventional vegetables, which primarily come from California, based on environmental impacts across the entire food system (using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach). This lightning talk is part of the outreach plan for the first LCA study conducted within the Iowa UrbanFEWS project.

INFEWS PI poster presentation 

Feb 24, 2022

Tiffanie Stone (Life Cycle Assessment modeler) and Tassia Brighenti (Soil and Water Assessment Tool modeler) teamed up to present a poster titled "A biophysical lens: Assessing multiple food system scenarios in the Des Moines Metropolitan Area using SWAT and LCA simulations" at the INFEWS PI Conference. In addition to determining possible connections of model inputs and outputs, the strengths and weaknesses of each model were also presented to support more effective and holistic future food system scenarios at the metropolitan scale.


PhD student Wei Chen, presents Iowa UrbanFEWS work at the INFEWS PI Workshop on Feb 10.

Feb 19, 2022

Title:  Estimating the diurnal cycle of land surface temperature by integrating weather model with satellite observations.

A Life Cycle Assessment Approach for Vegetables in Large-, Mid-, and Small-Scale Food Systems in the Midwest US

Published Paper by Tiffanie F. Stone, Janette R. Thompson, Kurt A. Rosentrater, and Ajay Nair

Oct 24, 2021

"A Life Cycle Assessment Approach for Vegetables in Large-, Mid-, and Small-Scale Food Systems in the Midwest US" Abstract: Although vegetables are important for healthy diets, there are concerns about the sustainability of food systems that provide them. For example, half of fresh-market vegetables sold in the United States (US) are produced in California, leading to negative impacts associated with transportation. In Iowa, the focus of this study, 90% of food is imported from outside the state.

Sedigheh Ghiasi presents at AIA convention

Sedigheh Ghiasi presents workshop at the Iowa AIA convention Sept 23

Oct 03, 2021

The presentation was based on Sedigheh Ghiasi’s MS in Architecture thesis, which she will also defend this fall.

Title:   An interactive GIS-based method to enable homeowners and architects to determine feasible roof areas for photovoltaic (PV) panels