“I had no idea when I applied to the Faculty of Land and Food Systems that I would be getting such a fantastic and personalized education,” said Rebecca Taves.
Taves was part of the Applied Biology program’s first graduating class in May. She entered the Program as a mature student in 2007, after working for several years as a reference assistant at Calgary Public Library.
“I decided I wanted to go back to school and I was looking for a program that married my interest in food with my interest in agriculture,” she said.
Taves is particularly drawn to agriculture extension for farmers in the developing world and the Applied Biology Program’s Food and Environment stream matched her career goals.
“The Program allowed me to design my studies to fit my personal needs and desires,” she said. “It was very suited to me and to what I wanted to achieve.”
In her last semester, Taves spent six weeks in Lombok, Indonesia where she interned for Sustainable Trade and Consulting, helping the company develop a monitoring plan for a renewable biomass fuel-switch project.
Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, industry in first world countries can offset their carbon outputs by encouraging sustainable development, such as the use of clean fuels, in a developing country. Clean fuels can be costly, however, especially for impoverished farmers. For that reason, many Indonesian farmers use cheaper, unsustainable alternatives like coal or harvested wood.
“Carbon credits allow farmers to be compensated for the price difference in fuel and encourages them to use a more sustainable fuel source,” added Taves.
Now working in Ottawa for Statistics Canada on the Agriculture Census, Taves is busy learning Bahasa, Indonesia’s official language, in hopes of returning to the country one day.
“My time in Indonesia was incredible and eye opening,” she said. “I’ve definitely got the bug to go back there.”