Plant Disease and Insect Scouting and Identification Resources for Urban Agriculture in Rhode Island

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $91,500.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2026
Grant Recipient: University of Rhode Island
Region: Northeast
State: Rhode Island
State Coordinators:
Heather Faubert
University of Rhode Island


  • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), leeks, okra, onions, other, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, sweet potatoes, taro, tomatoes, turnips


  • Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mulches - general, physical control, prevention, sanitation, traps

    Proposal abstract:

    Diseases and insects can be a significant challenge in urban agriculture. Some common diseases in urban farms and community gardens include leaf spots, root rot and damping off, blight, among others. Insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and squash bugs can also be common pests. To prevent and manage diseases and insects, Agricultural Service Providers will learn about insect and disease scouting and identification. Insects and plant diseases can cause severe economic losses to farmers and negatively impact food security. Identifying the specific insect or disease can help in choosing the right management technique, which may include biological control, cultural control, or organic options to manage the problem. During the three years of the project, Agricultural Service Providers and urban farmers will attend winter half-day workshops, insect and disease 'pest walks' at local urban farms, and participate in demonstrations of a portable plant diagnostics laboratory.  Plant diseases and insect identification guides will be produced and distributed among the Agricultural Service Providers and participating farmers.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Over the three years of this project, we will train 6 urban agricultural service providers to identify insects and plant diseases in urban farms. With these new skills, the agricultural service providers will mentor and assist 50 urban farmers in Rhode Island.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.