BSU Professor Crowdfunding For New Study On Organic Food

Oct 12, 2015

A Boise State professor is looking into whether an organic diet makes people healthier, and she’s crowdfunding to help pay for her research.

“This is a pretty new way, as far as I can tell, to raise research dollars,” says Cynthia Curl, an Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Health at the university. She wants to find out if eating organic food has measurable health effects.

“I think when we all go to the grocery store and we’re faced with the choice of buying organic vs conventional we wonder if there’s going to be a measurable difference in health. And that’s the question we’re trying to answer with this study.”

In her new project, Curl will work with low-income pregnant women. She’s trying to raise $7,500 to help give some organic fruits and vegetables, and others “conventional” non-organics. The money she raises will pay for the food, while a grant from the University of Washington will help pay for the rest of the study. Then after the babies are born, she hopes to study the children's attention and memory.

Curl says crowdfunding helps fill the gap left behind as government grant money goes away.

“It’s great that the public has a say in the kind of research they’re interested in. I think that having a project like this one be crowdfunded, I hope it speaks to people for something they really want to know.”

She says people who donate will help in two different ways.

“The funding that we raise here will go directly to buying the fruits and vegetables that we’ll be providing to the low income women who participate in our study. Secondly, anyone who is interested in understanding whether there is a health benefit to eating organic could benefit from learning the results of our research.”

Curl would like to follow the kids until they’re six or seven-years-old.

Her crowdfunding campaign starts Monday through Boise State's "PonyUp" campaign.

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