Strawberry production in California relies heavily on the use of plastic mulch to aid water conservation, weed suppression, and soil temperature optimization. This plastic needs to be disposed of at the end of the growing season, resulting in significant financial and environmental costs. Our team is currently conducting research on plastic mulch ‘end-of-life management’ decisions among California strawberry growers to better understand the factors that help or hinder growers’ adoption of more sustainable practices (e.g., plastic mulch recycling) and technologies (e.g., biodegradable mulches) that can help address the growing problem of agricultural plastic pollution. This work is part of a large, multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).
Our team is currently seeking a qualified environmental social science research assistant, who will help to develop surveys, conduct interviews, and analyze collected data as part of their fulfillment of a Master of Science degree program in Environmental Science and Management in the Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences (NRES) Department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. An ideal candidate for the two-year (fully funded) position, to begin in September 2023, will have a social science Bachelor's degree in a field such as environmental studies/science, anthropology, geography, sociology, or sustainable food systems. Experience in both qualitative and quantitative data analysis is desirable. Interested individuals should submit a short cover letter and copy of their C.V. to Dr. Nicholas Williams (email@example.com) ASAP and will need to meet the Cal Poly University application deadline for the program by April 1, 2023.