Statewide Cornell Garden-Based Learning Vegetable Variety Trial (VVT) enters its third year in 2014.This project aims to gather data to help us create our recommended list of vegetable and herb varieties for New York State gardeners. Trial participants rate vegetable and herb varieties via the Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners citizen science online forum.Some elements from 2012 & 2013 trials will remain the same including the garden design, planting a variety of vegetables and incorporating ecological gardening practices.
What’s New for 2014? A Design Challenge!
We challenge you to design the 3×3-raised beds – design just one or design them all! Designs will be gathered into an online photo gallery for all to view, share feedback and vote on favorites. A panel of CCE Master Gardener Volunteers and educators will review and choose the designs for the 9, 3×3 raised bed garden implemented in the Vegetable Variety Demo Garden (VVdG) on the Cornell campus.
Details on design criteria and submission requirements can be found on our web site here: www.gardening.cornell.edu/vegvarietytrial
Don’t want to design a bed? Enroll as a participating county! As before, your county can join the VVT as a Full or Partial participant. See more info on our web site.
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The Department of Horticulture at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) requests proposals for innovative research, teaching and extension/outreach projects involving organics and sustainability in farm and food systems, and managed landscapes including gardens and green spaces.
Short proposals are requested from Cornell staff and students, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and New York farmers. Project proposals will be reviewed and considered for funding up to a maximum $12,000 level, but PIs are encouraged to leverage and combine TSF funds with other sources of financial support to foster more ambitious project.
Proposals will be evaluated and prioritized for funding by a review panel of Cornell faculty, staff, students, organic farmers and other qualified experts. Project leaders of all successful proposals will be notified in late January, 2014.
Click for additional information or a copy of the full Request for Proposals in Organic & Sustainability Systems Research, Teaching & Outreach or please contact Maxine Welcome (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Neil Mattson (email@example.com).
Proposal Submission Deadline: Dec. 9, 2013.
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Update on the Plant A Row for the Hungry (PAR) Program:
This year has been a very successful one for PAR! Since the start of the PAR program in 1995, gardeners in the U.S. and Canada have delivered more than 20 million pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits for the needy through local PAR programs. Thank you to the thousands of gardeners whose contributions achieved this goal. This total proves that gardeners can make a difference.
MINI USA & Miracle-Gro have partnered to promote a creative marketing campaign launching the new, larger version of the MINI Cooper, the MINI Countryman. In addition to 25 roadside billboards in 11 markets, MINI USA created a “MINIMiracle” display that will appear at various events and locations across the country.
Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, take a picture of the #MINIMiracle display or Miracle-Gro wrapped MINI Cooper, and post the image to Instagram and Twitter utilizing the #MINIMiracle hashtag. For every tracked hashtag, Miracle-Gro will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to the PAR program. Follow the #MINIMiracle campaign by visiting the Miracle-Gro Facebook page.
Open Grants that are available through the National Gardening Association:
2013 Subaru Healthy Sprouts: Grant Application Deadline: November 15, 2013
2014 Youth Garden Grant: Grant Application Deadline: December 6, 2013
2014 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant: Grant Application Deadline: January 17, 2014
2014 Mantis Tiller Award: Grant Application Deadline: March 7, 2014
The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) provides grants to schools, as well as community-based environmental and educational organizations — no grants are made to individuals or businesses. Visit http://captainplanetfoundation.org and click on “Apply for A Grant.” Application Deadline: Jan. 31.
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According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight. The recently launched “Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program” (FVRx) attempts to combat this startling statistic by allowing doctors to prescribe “Health Bucks” to patients suffering from or at risk of obesity or other diet-related illnesses. These Health Bucks are redeemable for produce at the 138 local farmers markets within the city boundaries.
Patients enrolled in the program receive a monthly prescription of $1/day in Health Bucks for each family member, and they meet with their healthcare providers on a monthly basis for health assessments, prescription renewals, and to set goals based on their progress. Participants also receive nutritional counseling and tips on how to best cook and economize.
FVRx has already proven effective at improving community health in other cities in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and California since 2011.
The first 38% of participants in the program in those states dropped their Body Mass Indices, and in the second year the percentage increased to 39% of participants who lowered their Body Mass Indices. Furthermore, the program has been shown to improve patient health and food literacy, to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and to boost revenue at farmers markets.
Interested in engaging with your food system and the community around you? Check out our Discovering our Food System and Vegetable Varieties Investigation projects to learn how you can dig in.
For more about the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program, check out:
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Just in case you’re not on our newsletter mailing list, here’s a snapshot of our most recent newsletter. Subscribe today to stay up to date!
- Gardening in a Warmer World: a CCE Conference, Cornell University. Adaptive and innovative gardening methods to help meet challenges in the face of climate change. Registration required by Sept 20th.
Online Permaculture Design Course
, Starts January 2014. Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry. Participants explore through videos, readings, and activities to complete portions of a design for a site of their choosing. View the syllabus and registration information at the Department of Horticulture.
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The 2013 Vegetable Variety Trials continue throughout NYS as the summer heat holds on for a few more weeks. We’re excited to give you a peak into a few of the trials from around the State. Stay tuned for other updates soon, and if you haven’t planted your fall crops - there’s no time like the present!
From Wayne County: Beauty and produce abound in our 2013 trial beds. What fun to plant both vegetables and flowers/herbs in our same small plots. Wayne County experienced an “early” spring. Peas were in by April 4; and our sets and seeds by May 16th. We have a different volunteer for each of our beds which makes for interesting team work. The harvest continues as we enjoy the colorful additions of the flowers and herbs. We’ve been sharing our abundant crop of tomatoes with our nutrition team. They have used them when teaching about using fresh produce in meal preparation.
From Onondaga County: The trial garden is on the site of the Southwest Community Farm and jointly managed by CCE Onondaga and Jubilee Homes, Inc. The site hosts workshops, demonstrations and the Urban Delights Farmstand youth group for six weeks during the summer. Produce from the farm is sold by Urban Delights onsite and at the downtown farmer’s market, and is also donated to neighborhood residents and local food cupboards. The demonstration gardens include a three sisters planting of corn, beans and pumpkins; peanuts and popcorn; scented basils (cinnamon, lime, lemon, and holy basil); and a Vegetable Variety Trial Garden, a project of Cornell’s Garden-Based Learning program that showcases a variety of growing techniques and vegetable varieties.
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This just in from the Small Farms Program…
- Interactive 5- to 7-week courses connect you to the information and people you need to start a successful farm business or diversify your farm
- Led by experienced educators and farmers
- Take a single course or start at the beginning and work your way through the courses in order
- While most courses can be taken by people anywhere in the world, check the course description to confirm whether your course is targeted to those farming (or planning to farm) in the Northeastern US
Visit the course calendar or course descriptions to see the offerings of all the courses organized by season.
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One third of our food supply depends on pollination. While bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and wind are all common pollinators, bees are responsible for doing most of this critical work. In 2006, news regarding colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that leads to the decline of bee populations, began to spread. Millions of dollars have been spent to determine the cause of the disorder, and beekeepers and beekeeping programs alike have multiplied to raise awareness about these significant pollinators and to encourage others to consider beekeeping. It is important that we teach students of any age about the importance of pollinators through activities such as beekeeping and planting native flower gardens.
(image courtesy of WholeSystemsDesign.com)
There has been a rise in popularity for beekeeping, including beekeeping in school gardens. In part the increase has been a response to colony collapse disorder, yet also an interest in learning more about the intelligent behaviors of this insect. Beekeeping can be integrated into the school curriculum in a variety of subjects. The obvious link is biology, but also students may study the origin of honeybees in a history or geography class, or perhaps a lesson on sugars with a look into how honey is made and comparing flavors of different local honeys. Math is another neat link, studying the geometrical shapes of honeycomb. Not only can beekeeping provide learning opportunities, then, but it can also teach students about stewardship, respect, and responsibility. The website www.pollinators.org provides a variety of pollinator curricula, games, and tips for implementing projects
Of course bees can be dangerous. Bee stings are uncomfortable and very serious to anyone who is allergic. As with most things on school grounds, take precautions to minimize possible risks; we suggest consulting an experienced beekeeper prior to planning to keep bees in schools, place the hive so that it is not accessible to children without supervision (many schools put them on a roof or behind a fence in a side yard), and always have a beekeeper present at the hive when students are watching it.
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The crops at highest risk for infestation by Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) — an introduced pest from East Asia — include fall raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Cherries, both tart and sweet, elderberries, and peaches are also susceptible. Thin-skinned grapes can be infested directly, though cracked or damaged berries are more susceptible. Early season June-bearing strawberries may escape injury, but late summer fruit or day-neutral varieties may suffer damage.
Cornell researchers and extension educators have trap network covering some 30 counties around the state to keep tabs on the pest. (As of June 7, none have been reported.)
For more information:
How do I manage Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in my garden?
Spotted Wing Drosophila blog
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A 4-H club in Erie County, “The Ladybugs,” recently videotaped the process of a bonsai tree project they completed. The Erie County 4-H Staff graciously shared the video with us. Enjoy!
This slideshowpersonalized with Smilebox
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