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Join Dilmun Hill Student Farm’s Fall CSA

click for flyerFrom the Dilmun Hill Student Farm farm managers: dilmunmanagers@gmail.com:

We are excited to announce our CSA share during the fall semester! Following a successful 12-week summer share, we will have a six-week long fall CSA running from September 8 through October 13. Members will pick up their share on campus at the Farmer’s Market at Cornell on Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Shares will consist of 6 to 8 vegetables per week. We encourage larger families to purchase two shares or supplement the share with vegetables from the Cornell farmer’s market. Due to the nature of fall crops, a lot of the produce will keep and store well, so don’t be worried about needing to finish your share in a week. We hope our onions and winter squash will be able to nourish you into the winter. Additionally, CSA members will receive 20% off Dilmun purchases at the farmer’s market.

Payment for our CSA is a sliding scale. We hope that people who can will pay more for their share so that we are able to make the share more affordable to others. With that in mind, the CSA is valued at $120 for the six weeks, but people can pay anywhere between $100 and $140. As CSAs will be delivered in a reusable wax box, there is also a $5 box deposit that will be returned at the end of the CSA if you return your boxes week to week.

Work for a share will also be offered this fall. Dilmun benefits greatly from the hard work of our volunteers, and help from volunteers will be especially important once classes start back up. For 3 hours of volunteering a week, you will receive a CSA share. Volunteers need to commit to volunteering at one of our weekly work parties. The Sunday work party from 1 to 4 p.m. will in general focus on tasks such as weeding and farm up keep. Our Tuesday work party from 4 to 7 p.m. will focus on harvesting for Thursdays farmer’s market. Everyone’s schedules are busy, so volunteers must be able to come to the same work parties each week.

We are excited to be able to provide yummy vegetables into the fall for the Cornell community and hope you are interested in participating. Email us for an application if you want to join or have any questions!

 

SIPS staff visit Bluegrass Lane

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Research technician Kendra Hutchins explains her mixed container trial featuring combinations of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Administrative staff in CALS School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) took a quick field trip August 11 to learn more about the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility located adjacent to campus near the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

SIPS floriculture research technician Kendra Hutchins explained the trials she manages, including evaluations of the latest annual flower varieties coming onto the market, pollinator-friendly plants, and mixed container plantings that include vegetables, herbs and flowers in a single pot. They also perused perennial flower plantings and rose test plots.

“The trials there are beautiful,” says Tara Reed, SIPS event coordinator. “But it was also great to see how the research we support connects with the plants we see in the garden center every spring.”

100 attend Floriculture Field Day

More than 100 greenhouse growers and retailers, florists, educators and others from around New York and the Northeast attended the annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day August 9.

The morning program at Stocking Hall featured presentations including (click links for video):

Attendees also applauded entomology professor John Sanderson who was awarded an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). In his 25 years at Cornell, Sanderson has enthusiastically helped greenhouse growers identify pest problems, reduce pesticide use and increase profits.

The afternoon program at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility featured tours of annual flower trials, mixed container plantings of vegetables, herbs and flowers, pollinator-friendly plants, alternatives to invasive plants and more. Attendees also applauded winners of the 13th annual Kathy Pufahl Container Competition, which since 2003 has raised more than $10,000 for IBD research at Mt. Sinai Hospital. View 2016 winners.

bed0736x640Attendees view annual flower trials.

pollinator-plants0723x640Betsy Lamb (with clipboard), New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, leads pollinator-friendly plant walkabout.

pollinator-plants0703x640Lamb (right) and attendees observe pollinators swarming on Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root).

pollinator-bed0745x640Sue and Mark Adams, of Mark Adams Greenhouses, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who sponsored this pollinator plant bed, pose with research technician Kendra Hutchins, who manages the annual flower trials.

pollinator0674x640Bee visiting blooms in the pollinator bed.

containers0685x640Cheni Filios (MS ’14), Vegetable Product Line Manager, PanAmerican Seed Company at Ball Horticultural, explains strategies for mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers in containers.

Donald Horowitz ’77 (Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture), Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouses, East Hampton, N.Y. took first place in the new Edibles Division in the 2015 Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Design Competition.Donald Horowitz ’77 (Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture), Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouses, East Hampton, N.Y. took first place in the Edibles Division in the 2016 Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Design Competition. He fashioned the planter from a container used to ship pots to his business. View other winners.

bed0639x640Getting a closer look at the annual trials.

30 students present findings at Undergraduate Research Symposium

Brandon Webster

Brandon Webster speaks on his research on food spoilage molds that can survive high temperatures, and his findings on how different strains vary in their genetics and growth at the Sixth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium for Life Sciences August 8.

Webster, a senior at Humboldt State University, was part of this summer’s Microbial Friends & Foes Research Experience for Undergraduates program that provides training in the concepts and experimental approaches central to understanding microbial interactions with eukaryotic hosts.

Students in the program work with faculty mentors in the Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology Section (Webster worked in the Hodge Lab) and the Department of Microbiology.

Watkins Delivers Morrison Memorial Lecture at ASHS Conference

USDA-ARS news releat [2016-08-08]:

Chris Watkins

Chris Watkins

“New Technologies for Storage of Horticultural Products—There Is More to Adoption Than Availability” is the title of Christopher B. Watkins‘ 2016 ARS B.Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture, which he delivered today at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) annual conference in Atlanta.

Watkins is director of Cornell University Cooperative Extension as well as a professor of postharvest science in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.

Consumers now have access to apples like Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious all year round, thanks in part to new storage technologies and management strategies.

Consumers now have access to apples like Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious all year round, thanks in part to new storage technologies and management strategies.

Watkins has contributed to the success of fruit and floral industries around the world as a leader in postharvest science and outreach. His research about controlled atmosphere biology, edible quality of fruit management, and chilling injury prevention is used across varieties and cultivars, across species, and across production areas.

In particular, Watkins has remained at the forefront of addressing significant apple industry issues by applying new developments in postharvest technologies. His research about the artificial ripening regulator 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) is instrumental in the understanding of apple ethylene biology, both from a scientific standpoint and from industry’s applied perspective and practical need to control ripening.

Within the floral industry, 1-MCP is used to preserve the freshness of ornamental plants and flowers. Growers, packers and shippers use 1-MCP to maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables as diverse as kiwifruit, tomatoes, plums, persimmons, avocados and melons.

By implementing the postharvest practices developed by Dr. Watkins, the apple industry has greatly improved the quality of fruit delivered to consumers while reducing or eliminating the use of synthetic postharvest chemicals. His research with ‘Honeycrisp’ apples identified a postharvest strategy that has largely eliminated postharvest chilling injury, which has allowed this variety to achieve a profitability unprecedented in the apple industry.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established this memorial lectureship in 1968 to honor the memory of Benjamin Y. Morrison (1891-1966) and to recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to horticulture and other environmental sciences, to encourage the use of these sciences, and to stress the urgency of preserving and enhancing natural beauty. Morrison was a pioneer in horticulture and the first director of ARS’s U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC. A scientist, landscape architect, plant explorer, author and lecturer, Morrison advanced the science of botany in the United States and fostered broad international exchange of ornamental plants.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s chief in-house scientific research agency.

Reduce stress, improve health with Nature Rx

Reposted from One Health @ Cornell [2016-07-18]:

Most people sense that spending time in nature makes them feel good – but now there is solid research showing the quantifiable mental and physical health benefits that result from time spent in forests.

As listed on the New York Department of Environmental Conservation website (“Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health”), spending time outside in the woods can result in the following health benefits:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves mood
  • Increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increases energy level
  • Improves sleep

“Even five minutes around trees or in green spaces may improve health,” the DEC says. “Think of it as a prescription with no negative side effects that’s also free.”

Nature as a prescription, eh? What a concept!

Ahead of the game, as usual, Cornell University began a new and innovative campaign in 2015 that does just that: prescribes students to spend time outdoors in nature. Created by Horticulture professor Don Rakow, Nature Rx takes a critical and integrated One Health approach to maintaining the mental health of students: the program encourages students to appreciate and utilize time in their natural environment as a way to reduce stress and improve their own physical and mental health.

As one component of this program, Gannett Health Services has begun issuing “nature prescriptions” directly to students, encouraging them to go outside and engage, interact and cultivate an appreciation for nature. According to the prescription, spending even five minutes outside is a fast and easy no-cost way to reduce stress and regain a sense of balance.

nature rx prescription

“Research has shown that being outdoors and interacting with the environment has many health benefits, including decreasing depression, relieving anxiety, and providing a new perspective,” says Rakow. “These symptoms are more and more common in college students. Cornell University is located in the middle of such a beautiful and diverse area – it simply makes sense to use the environment that is naturally available to us to better our own health.”

With input from the co-chairs of the Student Assembly’s Health and Wellness Committee, Carolina Bieri (Atmospheric Science, ‘16) and Matthew Indimine (Policy Analysis and Management, ‘18), Student Services –IT has created CUinNature, a website app which allows students to locate a selection of nearby nature spots on campus. Viewers can look at photos of the F.R. Newman Arboretum at the Cornell Plantations, the Fall Creek Gorge, Beebe Lake, and the Mundy Wildflower Garden among others – and then take short walks to these locations and enjoy their beauty in person.

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“Students may feel that they have to go a long way to reach nature,” explains Rakow, “But it’s all around them at Cornell.  Gorges, gardens, and greenways beckon us from almost every portal.”

Take it Outside (PLHRT 4940) is a new course developed for freshmen with the purpose of getting students out to explore the many natural wonders – gorges, gardens, green spaces – found on the Cornell campus.  According to Sonja Skelly, director of education for Cornell Plantations and course instructor, “Take it Outside” is specifically offered only to freshmen because she hopes that getting younger students hooked on nature early will keep them coming back outdoors – and keep them mentally healthy – for the length of their college careers and beyond.  Skelly adds that, for those not enrolled in the class, the Cornell Plantations website makes it easy for interested students to find great places to spend time outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape in the Cornell area.

If we assume that it’s easier to teach a young dog new tricks, should we be teaching even younger people to develop a life-long habit of appreciating nature?

According to the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF), over the last 20 years there has been a real decline in the amount of time that young children spend outside. The NWF says that this has had a significant impact on the health of children’s bodies, minds and spirits. “Our kids are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out, because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: connection to the natural world,” the NWF website reads. Teaching kids to enjoy, appreciate and utilize nature for its mental and physical benefits to health early on will allow them to better handle stress and always have a safe place to regroup as they grow up. Rakow and others hope that students involved in Nature Rx at Cornell will be able to teach these good habits early on to their children as well.

Farm-to-Table on a City Roof

Left to right: Yoshi Harada, PhD Candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, Cornell University; Ben Flanner, President & Director of Agriculture, Brooklyn Grange; Thomas Whitlow, Associate Professor, Horticulture Section, Cornell University. (Photo: Diane Bonderaff Photography)

Left to right: Yoshi Harada, PhD Candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, Cornell University; Ben Flanner, President & Director of Agriculture, Brooklyn Grange; Thomas Whitlow, Associate Professor, Horticulture Section, Cornell University. (Photo: Diane Bonderaff Photography)

By Sheri Englund via Atkinson Center Blog [2016-07-21]:

The skyline view from Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop is delectable, but fresh organic produce from the organization’s one-acre rooftop Flagship Farm is even more delicious.

Director David Lodge and ACSF faculty fellows joined with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on June 29 for a farm-to-table dinner showcasing Cornell’s work on local food systems and sustainable agriculture. More than 50 Cornell alumni and friends toured the facility and learned about Brooklyn Grange’s successful model for urban farming and collaborations with Cornell researchers.

Brooklyn Grange grows more than 50,000 pounds of organic produce each year at the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on two roofs in New York City, and distributes the vegetables and herbs to local restaurants, CSA members, and the public. Since its founding in 2010, the organization has become the United States’ leading green roofing business, providing urban farming and green roof consulting and installation to clients worldwide.

Brooklyn Grange operates at the intersection of sustainable agriculture, economic and environmental sustainability, and urban resiliency—all top research concerns for the Atkinson Center. After dinner, plant ecologist Thomas Whitlow gave a presentation about engaging communities in urban horticulture. Sustainable communities expert Katherine McComas closed the evening. She remarked:

“Tonight provided a taste of the innovative and impactful partnerships that are transforming the world around us in profound ways—the partnership that here, tonight, has helped to create new spaces for food, agriculture, sustainability, education, and community development right in the center of our most urban environments.”

View more pictures at CALS Notes.

Dilmun Hill high tunnel nears completion

On August 4, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) staff, Dilmun Hill Student Farm farm managers and farm  steering committee member Alena Hutchinson took advantage of a relatively calm morning to install plastic on Dilmun Hill’s new high tunnel.

Read more about the high tunnel and view time-lapse of framework construction.

CUAES organic farm coordinator Betsy Leonard helps pull plastic over the high tunnel.

CUAES organic farm coordinator Betsy Leonard helps pull plastic over the high tunnel.

CUAES operations director Glen Evans, Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay, and technician Ethan Tilebein secure plastic to the east ...

CUAES operations director Glen Evans, Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay, and technician Ethan Tilebein secure plastic to the east …

... and west endwalls.

… and west endwalls.

The warmer temperatures inside the tunnel will help extend harvest of heat-loving crops like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant later in the fall.

The warmer temperatures inside the tunnel will help extend harvest of heat-loving crops like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant later in the fall.

 

 

Geneva scholars experience a summer of Cornell science

Sofia González Martinez of the University of Puerto Rico researched the viability of using progeny of a native apple species crossed with a Cornell breeding selection for use in hard cider production for a project with Professor Susan Brown. (Photo: Susan Brown)

Sofia González Martinez of the University of Puerto Rico researched the viability of using progeny of a native apple species crossed with a Cornell breeding selection for use in hard cider production for a project with Professor Susan Brown. (Photo: Susan Brown)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-08-03]:

Growing up in Puerto Rico meant Sofia González Martinez never saw apple orchards dotting the landscape. The thought of studying apples as an academic pursuit seemed like a remote possibility for a young student with a love of all plants.

That all changed this summer for the horticulture student from the University of Puerto Rico. For nine weeks she received a world-class education at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), where as a Geneva Summer Research Scholar she had the opportunity to perform research for Susan Brown, one of the top apple breeders on the planet.

Working under the mentorship of Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the NYSAES and the Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences, González Martinez spent her summer in the orchard and the laboratory, collecting and analyzing apple spurs from 138 trees at the Geneva campus. There she learned how to perform sophisticated data analysis using statistical software for a project to determine the viability of using progeny of a native apple species (Malus fusca) crossed with a Cornell breeding selection for use in hard cider production.

Read the whole article.

Björkman, Cheng receive USDA-SCRI grants totaling $6.3 million

Thomas Björkman

Thomas Björkman

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack August 2 announced 19 grants totaling $36.5 million for research and extension to support American farmers growing fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture. The grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Two faculty in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science were among the recipients:

“America’s specialty crop farmers face many challenges ranging from a changing climate to increasing production costs. Investing in cutting edge research helps uncover solutions to keep their operations viable and ensures Americans have access to safe, affordable and diverse food options,” said Vilsack. “The universities, state departments of agriculture and trade associations that partner with USDA address challenges at the national and local levels to help sustain all parts of America’s food and agriculture system, whether the farms are small or large, conventional or organic.”

More information:

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