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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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9/3/2012 9:47:00 PM
Long-time Prescott College professor pulls up stakes
Courtesy photo
Sarah and Tim Crews and their dog, Trucha, spend a snowy day in the Prescott National Forest a year ago. Tim is leaving his job of 18 years as director of the agroecology program at Prescott College.
Courtesy photo
Sarah and Tim Crews and their dog, Trucha, spend a snowy day in the Prescott National Forest a year ago. Tim is leaving his job of 18 years as director of the agroecology program at Prescott College.
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Tim Crews arrived at Prescott College 18 years ago to start the agroecology program, and left Monday to become research director at the Land Institute in Salina, Kan.

Defining agroecology, Crews said, "It is looking at farms as ecosystems with insects and nutrient cycling, trying to manage them more as ecosystems than factories."

Crews, who earned a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., recalled that Prescott College appealed to him by offering a commitment to "field-based studies, bridging with rigorous academics."

Besides establishing an off-campus farm, Crews helped to found the Prescott Farmers Market in 1997 and the community supported agriculture (farm co-op) program on campus three years later.

Crews, 51, regards launching the agroecology program as his biggest accomplishment because it has gained a national reputation for the small private college. The program now offers master's degrees.

Crews said he has become acquainted over the years with the Land Institute, a nonprofit organization and research center housed on the banks of the Smoky Hill River.

The institute's website states, "We are creating a new agriculture informed by nature. It produces food while preserving biodiversity. It minimizes the inevitable damage associated with annual crops: soil loss and degradation, water fouled with toxins and drained of its oxygen, and high greenhouse gas emissions."

That mission meshes with Crews' values.

"I have been collaborating with them for about 12 years, and I believe very strongly in their goal of developing farming systems that function much more like the native ecosystems they replaced," Crews said.

The institute's managing director, Scott Seirer, said, "We have known him for several years. He's an ecologist, and we have to add that role to our science mix. ... He will also be research director, so he will supervise the science staff."

Scientists at the institute conduct research to find perennial grain crops.

"Tim's role as an ecologist will help us look at the concept of growing more than one crop in the field at the same time," Seirer said.

While looking forward to his new challenge, Crews said he and his wife of 23 years, Sarah, will miss Prescott and walking their dog, Trucha, in the Prescott National Forest.

Sarah Crews works in the hospice field.

She and Tim have two daughters: Ruby, 21, and Claire, 18, who attend Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., respectively.

Crews' former students will miss him as well.

"I would definitely say he was my favorite professor," said Shanti Rade, a 2001 graduate who operates a small farm with husband Cory in Paulden. "He was an inspiring teacher. He is just a dynamic teacher. He really got his students excited about the subject matter."

Crews said Prescott College hired an "excellent replacement," Allison Jack, who earned a doctorate at Cornell from the Department of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology.

Referring to his former employer, Crews said, "It's a gem. I'll miss it."











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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Valley Resident

Now if you take the rest of the place with you we will all be better off. The United States is losing big time in real education, we are slipping on the world stage and we have to glorify basket weaving and sustainable marijuana growing. Try to turn these made up degrees from a made up college into jobs and success. I think not ,then don't forget to come back and protest everything.

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Article comment by: No Small Mango

The Crews Used to play in the local band, "No Small Mango." Sarah has a lovely voice, and Tim played a mean mandolin. Prescott will be just a little smaller without them, but I wish them well!

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Article comment by: Kent Gugler

You've added a lot to our community, and to the planet and the human species. You will continue to do this in your new home, and nobody could want more. Goodbye, friends.

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Article comment by: A Proud Global Warming Whaco Socialistic Eco-terrorist

What great people, they were such assets to our town. And what a handsome dog!

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Allison Jack

We'll miss you Tim & Sarah! Thanks for the shout out in the article. I'm honored to follow Tim in this position and look forward to carrying on his great work.

Tim, thanks for a fun summer of training, teaching and adjusting to a new climate!

Here are just a few of my summer adventures with the Prescott College agroecology program.
http://agroecology.wordpress.com


Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Speaking of Calamity

With major funding provided by the Post Carbon Institute, the Land Institute is just another cog in the Global Warming whaco wheel. The goals, while admirable, are undoubtably being perverted by the need for funds.
__________

Calamity Jane sez:

"Prof Crews- I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavors. That said I must warn you about moving to KS. My bumper sticker says it all" Welcome to KS now turn your clock back 150 yrs"."

What, you don't like old fashioned Christian Family values found in the hard working heartland of America? Perhaps it's your socialistic, eco-terrorism views that don't mesh with the good folks in Kansas.


Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Daniel Wood

As oil supplies are depleted over the coming decades, it will be nanotech, biotech and agroecology to the rescue of our food supply. Thanks for your research Tim. Although, I have more confidence in indoor aquaponics and bioengineering than outdoor farming. Climate change might pose serious challenges to outdoor farming, and climate change might be unavoidable even with a global focus on geoengineering.

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Anita Scheelings

Tim, can't wait to follow along, and will keep a close eye on your ongoing contributions to society regarding sustainable foods and perennial crops! All the best in Kansas and beyond! You and Sarah will be sorely missed here in Good'Ol Prescott and Prescott College.

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: tom agostino

We will miss you Tim and Sarah. I played you a good bye song on the Folk Sessions last week. Tim, I'll miss your slide mando.

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Kay Lauster

Good for you Tim, a new adventure! I loved all you did here. Best of luck at the Land Institute. It will be fun learning new "tricks." The Prescott music scene will really miss Sarah though.

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: Calamity Jane

Prof Crews- I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavors. That said I must warn you about moving to KS. My bumper sticker says it all" Welcome to KS now turn your clock back 150 yrs".

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: The Truth

If the college spent half the money it spends on property on people they would be able to retain quality faculty and staff....

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Article comment by: native zonie

hope kansas is good for you as az will miss you ! its awful flat in ks , i live in oklahoma now and miss az big time !



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