Lilianna Gittoes ’24
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Growing in the Garden State: Understanding Factors That Impact Food Production
I studied the performance of five farms in the Princeton, New Jersey, area, visiting and collecting data from each along with other interns working on this project. At each farm, we set up Arable sensors to monitor environmental and plant-health indicators such as the normalized difference vegetation index, which is a key indicator of plant health, sunlight radiation, evapotranspiration and more. We also set insect traps, placed resins in the ground to measure soil health, and took crop measurements. The farmers also filled out weekly questionnaires so we could track weeding, irrigation and input usage. My other responsibilities included preparing spreadsheets from the data we collected, so I got to practice data preparation and cleaning skills. I also performed data analysis using a software called JMP, with which I compared farming techniques and analyzed the factors that influence crop performance. This internship opened my eyes to a variety of pressing issues that organic growers face today and to the benefits of regenerative agriculture. I really enjoyed the work I did, and I hope to continue developing my data analysis skills and learning more about sustainable agriculture.
Food Systems, Water And Human Health
Rubenstein Research Group, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University- Princeton, New Jersey
Daniel Rubenstein, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Gina Talt, Sustainability Project Assistant, Office of Sustainability