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A host of horticulture events April 24-28

Kick off the week with Christine Hadekel’s return to the Horticulture Section to talk about the ‘Seed to Supper’ program: Reaching underserved audiences through garden education at Monday’s seminar. Then flesh out your calendar with a host of other events of horticulture interest:

The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds – April 26

Leslie Overstreet, curator of Natural-History Rare Books at the Smithsonian Libraries, will talk about the historical and scientific significance of plant explorer and artist Mark Catesby (1683–1749), and his monumental book, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. April 26, 2017 at 4:00p.m., Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160.

Community Gardens Seminar – April 26

Learn about the importance of community gardening, its impact and how you can get involved on campus and at home. Hosted by Hortus Forum and featuring Fiona Doherty (Cornell Garden-Based Learning), Steve Reiners (Horticulture Section) and Chris Smart (SIPS director).

Speaker: Melissa Madden, Finger Lakes Cider House/Good Life Farm – April 26

Part of the Ithaca Food Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. April 26, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 102 Mann Library. Presented by Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Funded by Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Refreshments provided.

Iscol Lecture: Michael Pollan ‘Out of the Garden’ – April 27

The Atkinson Center’s Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture this year features author Michael Pollan, April 27, 5:00 p.m. David L. Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.: “When Michael Pollan faced his suburban lawn in the 1980s, he looked past the Bermuda grass and saw acreage ripe for invention and discovery. ‘The garden suggests there might be a place,’ he concluded, ‘where we can meet nature halfway.’ His books look at nature close to home: the garden, the farm, the table. Today Pollan tells the story of the path his writing has taken since he planted his first vegetable garden. Beginning with that horticultural adventure, his work has evolved into an exploration of human engagement with the natural world. What’s at stake when we garden, cook, and eat is not only our health, Pollan argues, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.”

michael pollan

Horticulture Outreach Day – April 28

Hands on activities to learn about the diverse field of horticulture: Chia pet sculpture, printing from plants, mushroom inoculation. April 28, 1 to 4 p.m. Purple Greenhouses, Plant Sciences Building. (Go to the basement floor and look for the signs.) Sponsored by Society of Horticulture Graduate Students (SoHo).

‘On healthy soil and dirty art’ at Science Cabaret March 21

From the Field to Canvas: On Healthy Soil and Dirty Art

Tuesday, March 21
7 to 9 p.m.
Coltivare Restaurant
235 S. Cayuga St.

Join Kirsten Kurtz and Bob Schindelbeck from the Cornell Soil Health Laboratory to dig into new perspectives on soil. As soil health is gaining recognition as being paramount for human survival these scientists will explore the nature and properties of soil and agriculture while illustrating the beauty of this resource through a live soil painting.

More information.


Register now for Soil Summit March 28-29

CALS News [2017-03-15]:

Soil amendments such as raw manure offer clear benefits to agricultural production, but they can also pose potential environmental and food safety risks if not handled properly. The Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule outlines some requirements for using soil amendments because of the microbial risks associated with their use.  Raw manure has been shown to have a higher potential to contain foodborne pathogens that can cause illness, especially if fruits and vegetables become contaminated, either directly (e.g., improper application or processing of compost) or indirectly (e.g., through contaminated irrigation water from runoff).

To discuss the benefits and challenges of using soil amendments such as raw manure and compost relative to the safety of fresh fruit and vegetable production, Cornell food safety experts are convening a summit March 28-29, 2017. The Soil Summit will provide the opportunity for produce growers, educators, and researchers to discuss and identify barriers to using/producing compost while also identifying management strategies, resources, and additional support necessary to support growers in minimizing food safety risks on the farm, especially when using raw manure.

Held at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, the summit will address the need to support produce growers in identifying management options that preserve the benefits and minimize the risks from using soil amendments such as manure and compost, while also addressing the environmental impacts. The summit will include presentations and break out discussions, and provide participants a better understanding of current research and risk assessment efforts by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Participants will learn details about the final Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and the standards it sets in the use of biological soil amendments of animal origin and human waste.

The summit costs $100. Registrations can be made at:

Ag-Tech Symposium March 10

symposium flyerLand O’Lakes will be visiting campus to host two presentations and a panel discussion Friday morning on a precision tool they have developed, the R7.

Ag-Tech Symposium
Friday, March 10
148 Stocking Hall

  • 8:00-8:45 a.m.: Harnessing Innovation to Feed the World – Mike Macrie ’99, Senior VP and Chief Information Office, Land O’Lakes
  • 8:45-9:30 a.m.: Winfield’s Innovative Ag-Tech Journey – Teddy Bekele, Vice President, IT at Winfield
  • 9:30-10:15 a.m.: Panel Interview and Q&A – Mike Macrie ’99, Teddy Bekele, and Joel Wipperfurth, facilitated by Jan Nyrop

No RSVP necessary.

More About the R7 Tool:

Winfield Solutions, the seed and crop protection products arm of Land O’Lakes, has introduced a web-based precision planning tool that allows farmers to get a start in variable-rate seeding and fertility programs. The R7 tool uses satellite imagery as a stand-in for actual yield and soil test data. Working with retailer agronomists, farmers used the tool to develop crop plans on millions of acres scheduled for planting. It is a tool for farmers without extensive yield and grid soil sampling records to use to get started in precision ag. It also improves Winfield’s ability to convey information about crop genetics it gathers from its 200 locations across the U.S.

Horticulture honor society inducts 29 new members

pax key

Phi Alpha Xi key

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted 29 new members at a March 6, 2017 ceremony held in the H. H. Whetzel Room in the Plant Science Building on the Cornell University campus.

This set a record for the number of inductees in a single year since the chapter was revived at Cornell in 2013.  Only the best students in the plant sciences are invited to join this national honor society.

Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 at Cornell University and Cornell is the Alpha Chapter. Originally, it was the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. In recent years it has changed and now honors excellence in all aspects of horticulture.

Since its founding, PAX has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants. PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. But the chapter went dormant for several years until its revival in 2013.

2017 PAX inductees

2017 PAX inductees

PAX members graduating in May -- Lauren Fessler, Jeremy Pardo, and Karl Kunze -- received their honor cords.

PAX members graduating in May — Lauren Fessler, Jeremy Pardo, and Karl Kunze — received their honor cords.

PAX faculty advisors Mark Bridgen, Neil Mattson, Betsy Lamb and Tom Weiler.

PAX faculty advisors Mark Bridgen, Neil Mattson, Betsy Lamb and Tom Weiler. Lamb was a 2017 inductee.

2017 PAX inductees:

  • Cairo Archer
  • Jessica Barbini
  • Hauk Boyes
  • Nana Britwum
  • Yuqi Chen
  • Myles Collinson
  • Allison Coomber
  • Kellie Damann
  • Aliza Doyle
  • Emily Follett
  • Hannah Fuller
  • Garrett Giles
  • Catherine Hanss
  • Sarah Hetrick
  • Bailee Hopkins-Hensley
  • Elizabeth Lamb
  • Margaret Lovier
  • Sarah Marino
  • Kady Maser
  • Roxana Padilla
  • Jonathan Price
  • Nina Sannes
  • Tommi Schieder
  • Samantha Schultz
  • Cynthia Sias
  • George Stack
  • Amanda Sudilovsky
  • Benjamin Sword
  • James Winans
  • Xuying Zheng

Seminar video: Chilean Plant Biodiversity

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Chilean Plant Biodiversity with Mark Bridgen, professor, Horticulture Section, and students from PLHRT 4950 (Plant Biodiversity), it  is available online.


Learn more about the group’s trip at the Biodiversity in Chile blog.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Hortus Forum giant greenhouse houseplant sale February 25

From Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club:

Greenhouse Sale
Saturday, February 25
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kenneth Post Lab (map)

Selling a huge variety of houseplants from 4″ to fully grown.

More information, email:


Hortus Forum: cultivating a positive community which fosters a passion for plants and teaches the value of horticulture

SoHo art opening February 22, Big Red Barn

From Hannah Swegarden:

The Society of Horticulture Grad Students (SoHo) is proud to present their horticultural research through an artistic lens at the Big Red Barn.

From the flowers above ground to the mycorrhizae systems deep below ground, the beauty of horticulture is everywhere. This collection of pieces showcases the diversity of horticultural research at Cornell University and seeks to highlight SoHo’s deep appreciation for the intricate connection between people and plants. We hope you’re able to join us for the show’s opening at the Big Red Barn, opening February 22, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM!

Free wine and cheese will be served.


Myanmar: Land of Enchantment lunchtime talk January 31

Marvin Pritts traveled to Myanmar with other faculty and students in IARD 6020 – International Agriculture in Developing Nations. He’ll share stories and some fabulous photos January 31 at noon in Plant Science 114. Feel free to bring your lunch, sit back and enjoy.

CALS Celebrates the Tastier Side of Science

Michael Mazourek discusses his plant breeding work with the Honeynut squash during a event Nov. 19 at Stone Barns. Photo by Sirin Samman.

Michael Mazourek discusses his plant breeding work with the Honeynut squash during a event Nov. 19 at Stone Barns. Photo by Sirin Samman.

Via CALS News [2016-11-29]:

Nearly 200 Cornellians were treated to a taste of collaboration between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Blue Hill restaurant on Nov. 19.

The event, held at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, showcased farm-to-table cuisine that incorporates ingredients bred by CALS plant breeding and genetics assistant professor Michael Mazourek.

Mazourek is a leading innovator in the movement to breed better tasting vegetables that encourage people to eat more nutritious food. Since 2009, he has been collaborating with Blue Hill chef Dan Barber to create an array of healthy, innovative, and delectable dishes that are served at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the much-lauded farm-to-table restaurant.

The event, which was a joint effort between CALS and the Northeast Corridor Alumni Affairs and Development office, allowed guests to literally enjoy the fruit—and vegetables—of Barber and Mazourek’s labor.

Read the whole article.

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