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In the news

Some articles of recent interest:

USDA, Others Invest $5 Million to Grow Broccoli in the East – More coverage on this project, this an AP report on Feb. 21:

U.S. consumption of broccoli has nearly doubled in the past 25 years, with Americans now eating 8.5 pounds annually of the vegetable celebrated for its high levels of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Nearly all of that comes from California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Thomas Bjorkman“And they do an excellent job,” said Thomas Bjorkman, one of the lead researchers and associate professor of horticulture at Cornell University. “But with the demand for locally grown and rising transportation costs, that really creates an opportunity for Eastern production.”

“We’re not attempting to put California out of business. We just want a piece of the action,” said J. Powell Smith, a South Carolina extension agent who is lining up growers in his state. …

Miguel Gomez, an assistant professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University, has been helping put together an East Coast network of farmers and retailers. Along with saving money, Gomez said creating second major production center for broccoli provides a hedge against threats such as drought, disease and bioterrorism.

“When you look at a food system that depends on a single area, that is extremely risky,” he said. “It’s good to diversify.”

It also saves money. Shipping 10 tons of broccoli from Salinas, Calif., for instance, runs about $6,000 and adds 20 cents to 25 cents per pound to the vegetable’s cost, Bjorkman said.

Read the whole article.

Two recent Cornell Chronicle articles featuring activities in our sister departments in CALS:

  • Students flock to ‘magical mushrooms’ course – More than 5,500 students have taken PPPMB chair George Hudler‘s Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds class.
  • Cornell releases two new potato varieties, ideal for chip – “Waneta and Lamoka — named after a pair of twin lakes in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York — are especially appealing to potato chip manufacturers because they fare well in storage and produce a nice color when cut. … Both varieties are resistant to the golden nematode, a pathogen present in some New York soil that attacks potato roots, and common scab, another soil-borne pathogen present nationwide that can cause pits in potatoes. … ‘New York growers will have a higher quality product to sell,’ said [Walter De Jong, associate professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics.]

Bellinder honored by NEWSS

Robin BellinderThe Northeast Weed Science Society (NEWSS ) awarded Department of Horticulture professor Robin Bellinder one of its highest honors, its Fellow Award. The NEWSS Awards Program says:

“A key goal of [Bellinder’s] applied research program has been to integrate weed management strategies that minimize herbicide use. Notable among these efforts has been research on innovative cultivation equipment. She has also been a leader in the use of interseeded cover crops and cover crop mulches for weed suppression. Other contributions include considerable efforts in the use of reduced tillage systems for several vegetable crops, efforts to provide growers with information on dose-response adjusted herbicide recommendations to minimize herbicide application, and the use of natural products as herbicides.”

Bellinder also engages growers and educators in diverse extension activities and participates in international consulting activities including a USDA-funded project to ameliorate declining yields in rice- and wheat-growing areas in India.

Plants: macro-masters of micro-fluidics seminar March 2

Maciej Zwieniecki, Sargent Fellow, Arnold Arboretum

Maciej Zwieniecki, Sargent Fellow, Arnold Arboretum

From Taryn Bauerle:

Dr. Maciej Zwieniecki, Sargent Fellow at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, will be giving a seminar March 2 at 12:15 p.m. in Plant Science 233 on “Plants: macro-masters of micro-fluidics: Hydraulic integration of local autonomous responses to dynamic environments in the vascular network”

Abstract: Plants are highly branched organisms that bridge vastly different and dynamic environments: geosphere and atmosphere. Leaves and roots are distal sites of mass and energy exchange that autonomously respond to rapid changes in local conditions at molecular and cellular levels. Irrespective of the diverse range of stimuli, responses almost always involve a rapid hydraulic component. I propose that plant vascular network provide system level regulation and integration of responses allowing for emergent properties that transcend local benefit to whole-plant wellbeing. Using examples from diverse and spatially separated processes (hydraulic dynamics of vascular system, nutrient uptake, and leaf-atmosphere coupling), I provide a conceptual outline that links seemingly unrelated biological and physical phenomena and offers an explanation to fast coordination of function across plant body.

Maciej Zwieniecki’s research focuses on: mass and energy transport in plants; structure and function of plant vascular network; abiotic plant stress biology; interface between plant and environment. Zwieniecki authored and co-authored over 60 refereed publications, a book, and over 100 proceedings abstracts. He was giving invited seminars in many US and European universities. Zwieniecki’s research was supported by NSF, USDA, Mellon Foundation, SCCR (Poland) – total funding as Pi and Co-Pi exceeded so far $4M.

Maciej will be on campus March 2 and 3. Taryn Bauerle is putting together a schedule for Maciej. Please contact her if you would like to meet with him and include a time that would work well for you:

New beginning farmer website

Northeast Beginning Farmer Program

Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

From Erica Frenay, Northeast Beginning Farmer Project: or 607-255-9911.

After a year of development, the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is pleased to unveil a colorful new website with expanded tools and a wealth of new resources. Point your browser to to find the enhanced site, which will extend high quality support to aspiring, new and diversifying farmers across the entire Northeast.

Do you wonder how other farmers breed pigs, process chickens and transplant seedlings? The new site features a growing selection of videos capturing experienced farmers and their successful production techniques in action. You’ll also find our popular library of video interviews with farmers sharing advice on profitability, choosing an enterprise, evaluating land, and much more.

Looking for upcoming classes, events and trainings? You can browse our events calendar, subscribe to our monthly e-news, visit our blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, all from the homepage of the new site.

Enter the New Farmer Hub to start drafting your business plan with the help of tutorials and interactive worksheets. Find answers to common questions, browse the Guide to Farming, and check out the latest beginning farmer online courses which can help you turn your dreams into action right from your home computer.

Need some face-to-face guidance in your neck of the woods? Visit the Who Can Help Me? map to locate organizations that serve new farmers near you.

The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is part of the Cornell Small Farms Program and is funded by a Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. With the help of our team of partners, we are:

  • Developing new online courses and how-to videos for new farmers on production-oriented topics.
  • Working with middle and high schools to develop classroom and on-farm learning opportunities to recruit young people into farming as a career.
  • Analyzing the hurdles that challenge new farmers when trying to grow their operations.
  • Making training opportunities more visible to all new farmers in the Northeast.
  • Assisting organizations serving beginning farmers with publicity, evaluation, training and information to enhance the success of the new farmers they serve.

To learn more about the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, visit

Northeast Beginning Farmer website

Northeast Beginning Farmer website

Marcia Eames-Sheavly on ‘celebrating the ordinary’

Marcia Eames-SheavlySlow down, approach the world with awe and help others do the same.

That’s the message Marcia Eames-Sheavly, senior extension associate in the Department of Horticulture, delivered at the February 3 Soup and Hope gathering sponsored by Cornell United Religious Works.

“‘How do we love in an over-stimulated, tightly wound world, in which none of us often take time to eat our lunch without glancing at the computer?’

“The answer, she believes, lies in slowing down, in being aware of moments of happiness, peace and awe. It comes with ‘taking time to celebrate the ordinary, in reclaiming the uncomplicated satisfaction of the true human bond, and in intentionally pausing to notice the commonplace, in the present moment.'”

Read more in the Cornell Chronicle.

Hortus Forum rose sale

From Mason Newark at Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club:

Hortus Forum will be hosting our annual rose sale:

  • Friday, February 11, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Statler Hall and Duffield Hall, and
  • Monday, February 14. 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Goldwin Smith Hall (near the Temple of Zeus) and Duffield Hall

We’re taking pre-orders until Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Send pre-orders to Heather Lee, at and include quantity, color (red, yellow, pink, white), and pickup time when we’re at the Statler.

Preorder prices:

  • Singlet: N/A
  • Half Dozen: $25
  • Dozen: $35

Day of the sale prices:

  • Singlet: $5
  • Half Dozen: $30
  • Dozen: $40

We will have pink, yellow and white roses in addition to the traditional Red. You can even create your own bouquet

We will also be having a Monday sale at a location to be determined.
Support the Cornell Community while showing someone you care!

Ball Horticultural Co. internship interviews

From Melissa Kitchen:

Mike Williams, Ball Horticultural Company’s HR Director, will be interviewing students Feb. 22 for Ball’s internship program. Interested students should send their resumes to Bill Miller (, who will create a schedule for the day. Ball internships include:

Trial garden

  • New crops
  • Young plant cultural research
  • Production technical support
  • Molecular genetics
  • Genetic research
  • Cultural research
  • Ball innovations
  • Marketing

Read more about Ball’s internship program.

New book: Public Garden Management

pgm_coversx250“The complete-and-ready reference for establishing, managing, and running a successful and sustainable, profitable public garden.” That’s how co-publishers Wiley describe Public Garden Management, new book edited by Donald A. Rakow, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations and Director of the Cornell Graduate Program in Public Garden Leadership and Sharon A. Lee, the principal of Sharon Lee & Associates, the former deputy director of the American Public Gardens Association and the founding editor of the Public Garden, the journal of the American Public Gardens Association.

“Students and professionals will benefit greatly from the management principles outlined in this book, helping them establish and maintain new and existing public gardens that engage, inspire, and connect with their communities.”

Read more about the book.

Update [2/22/2011]: See also Cornell Chronicle article.

Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop March 19 and 26

learn to pruneThe Cornell Cooperative Extension offices of Schuyler and Steuben Counties along with Reisinger’s Apple Country are offering a pruning workshop on Saturday March 19, 2011 and will be repeated Saturday March 26, 2011 from 9 am until noon. Instructor Rick Reisinger will demonstrate pruning techniques on apples, stone fruits, nuts and berries throughout his family orchard at 2750 Apple Lane, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. Other topics that will be covered include grafting an apple tree and renovating an older tree to improve fruit production. This fun, educational workshop is ideal for those that are new to fruit growing as well as the seasoned fruit grower.

This is an outdoor demonstration; participants should dress for the weather. Pre-registration is required by March 4, 2011 for admission to either workshop. The fee is $15 per person or $25 per couple. Cider and donuts will be provided. Call Schuyler County CCE to register at 607-535-7161.

Produce-safety program gets $1.15 million

Visit the GAPs websiteFrom Feb. 3 Cornell Chronicle article by Amanda Garris, New produce-safety program gets $1.15 million to help farmers comply with new regulations.

” … A new National Good Agricultural Practices Program at Cornell’s New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva will help farmers navigate the new regulations with a $1.15 million grant over three years. …

“Senior Extension Associate [in the Department of Food Science] Elizabeth Bihn, the Produce Safety Alliance project director, explains that training in good agricultural practices or ‘GAPs’ can help growers minimize the risk of contamination by identifying potential contamination culprits from water, workers, manure, transportation and packing. ‘We don’t yet know exactly what will be required of growers [by new FDA food safety standards], but the fundamentals of GAPs haven’t changed. Farmers need to understand the risks, implement practices to reduce risks, and develop a farm food safety plan.'”

Read the whole article.

Visit the GAPs website.

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