Marcia Croft

Marcia Croft Profile Picture
Home Department:
Horticulture

Mentor / Lab:
Steve Hallett

Specific Research Area / Project:
The Role of African Leafy Vegetables in Food Security

Undergraduate Institution:
Kalamazoo College


Research Profile:

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest concentration of food insecure people in the world, where one in four people are hungry. Nutritional insecurity is even more common, as 2 billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. African Leafy Vegetables are a diverse set of crops that have formed the backbone of traditional diets, providing critical nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin A, B, and C. In western Kenya, African Leafy Vegetables play an important role in the markets and diets of local people, but they have yet to reach their full potential for contributing to food security. My thesis examines aspects of limitations to these vegetables including: high quality seeds, drought tolerant varieties, production systems, consumer quality expectations, market barriers, and household food security. What we found was a diverse group of mostly women actors who are profiting from the nutritional and economic benefits of these vegetables, but here is still more room for expansion.


Marcia Croft Research Picture

About Me:

Marcia Croft About Me Picture

My experience at Purdue improved exponentially after joining ESE. The best part of being in ESE was the community that came with the program. The colloquium that lasts one year was a great opportunity to meet students from across different disciplines and backgrounds, but ESE also has a great community across different cohorts. I have learned a lot from other ESE students more senior and junior than me, and I am sure I will stay in touch with many ESE students long after graduation. The support system in ESE is also phenomenal and has made my time at Purdue much easier. I would highly recommend ESE to any future graduate students and the different perspective of the program have enriched my experience at Purdue.


Awards:

  • Most Outstanding Interdisciplinary Project Award
  • David L. Boren Fellow – Language learning and national security fellowship, June-December 2015
  • U.S. Borlaug Graduate Research Fellow – Food security research fellowship, May-December 2015
  • Clifford B. Kinley Trust Award recipient – Human welfare research funding, May-December 2015
  • Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium Next Generation Delegate – Participated in the international symposium on the challenges of climate change and food security, May 2014
  • Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security – Two-week symposium for graduate students on challenges to food security and cross-disciplinary problem solving, June 2013
  • D. Woods Thomas Travel Fellowship – Sponsored international agriculture research, 2013, 2016
  • Andrews Fellowship Recipient – Four year research fellowship award from Purdue University, 2012-2016

Publications:

  • Croft, M., M. Marshall, and S. Hallett. (2016). The Role of Gender in Household Food Security in Western Kenya. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Croft, M., M. Marshall, and S. Hallett. (2016). Hydroponic Production of African Leafy Vegetables for Improving Nutritional Security. Manuscript in submission.
  • Croft, M., M. Mickelbart, S. Hallett, and S. Weller. (2016). Drought Tolerance in African Vegetable Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) landraces. Manuscript in submission.
  • Croft, M., M. Marshall, and S. Weller. (2014). Consumers’ Preference for Quality in African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development 3(5): 67-77.
  • Croft, M., A. Bicksler, J. Manson, and R. Burnette. (2013). Comparison of Appropriate Tropical Seed Storage Techniques for Germplasm Conservation in Mountainous Sub-Tropical Climates with Resource Constraints. Experimental Agriculture 49(2): 279-294.

Presentations:

  • Croft, M., M. Marshall, and S. Hallett. (2015, November). Market Barriers for African Leafy Vegetables: A Case Study in Eldoret. Poster session presented at the 2nd International Conference on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Croft, M., M. Marshall, S. Hallett, and S. Weller. (2015, August). Consumer Preference for Quality in Three Leafy Vegetables in Kenya. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Croft, M., M. Mickelbart, and S. Weller. (2015, August). The Responses of African Vegetable Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) Varieties to Drought Stress. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Leadership:

  • Orchestra member, 2012-2016
  • ESE Symposium Speakers Committee member

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