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High tunnel rises at Dilmun Hill Student Farm

A production-scale high tunnel is rising at Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Once complete, it will not only extend the growing season for the farm, but also serve as an educational resource for the many classes that visit the farm.  A high tunnel production workshop series is being planned in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension that will draw on the knowledge and experience of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across many different departments.

Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) staff, along with members of the Dilmun Hill Steering Committee, have been laying the groundwork at the high tunnel site since early spring, grading the land, spreading and incorporating compost, and installing the foundation. This past Wednesday afternoon, they made short work of installing the frame. (See time-lapse video.)

The high tunnel was made possible by the Toward Sustainability Foundation grant program. Undergraduate Steering Committee member and former Dilmun Hill Farm Manager Alena Hutchinson (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, ’18) secured funding for the tunnel, and worked with builder Howard Hoover of Penn Yan, N.Y., to design a custom tunnel to meet the specialized needs of small- and medium-sized growers in Upstate New York.

The tunnel will feature a solar-powered, automated sidewall system designed by Hutchinson and fellow undergraduate engineering students to make ventilating the structure easier.

Another innovative feature of the high tunnel:  It is mounted on rails, so that the tunnel can be easily moved between two different growing areas.  Along with increasing production capacity, this design has environmental benefits, such as making crop rotation possible and allowing rain to leach salt from soil, avoiding the salt build up that can be a problem with stationary high tunnels.

Detailed design plans and assembly manuals for all aspects of the tunnel will be available upon the tunnel’s completion. For questions and/or if you want to be involved in the project, contact Alena Hutchinson (amh345@cornell.edu).

Hutchinson and CUAES technician Ethan Tilebein begin rafter intallation.

Hutchinson and CUAES technician Ethan Tilebein begin rafter intallation.

Betsy Leonard, CUAES organic farm coordinator, and Glen Evans, CUAES operations director, install sidewalls.

Betsy Leonard, CUAES organic farm coordinator, and Glen Evans, CUAES operations director, install sidewalls.

Anja Timm, CUAES communications coordinator, Hutchinson and Evans work on sidewall. Note roller and rail that allow the high tunnel to be moved easily.

Anja Timm, CUAES communications coordinator, Hutchinson and Evans work on sidewall. Note roller and rail (lower right) that allow the high tunnel to be moved easily.

Tilebein, Hutchinson and Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay install rafters.

Tilebein, Hutchinson and CUAES Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay install rafters.

McKay secures ridgepole.

McKay secures ridgepoles.


Update [2017-07-29]

On June 28, while still under construction, the tunnel took it’s first trip, traveling from a fallow area to an area newly planted with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Video: Minisymposium tribute to Peter Davies

Peter Davies, now and then. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS Communications)

Peter Davies, now and then. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS Communications)

If you missed Friday’s minisymposium in honor of Peter Davies’ 46 years of research and teaching in the Plant Sciences at Cornell highlighting the changes that have taken place in plant hormone biology over the last 40 years and how Davies contributed to progress in the field, it’s available online.

The symposium featured three talks:

  • Hormones and Plant Development – Jim Reid, Distinguished Professor, University of Tasmania
  • Global Aspects of Plant Biotechnology – Sarah Evanega, Director, Cornell Alliance for Science
  • Plant Politics – Ron Herring, Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University

Read more about the symposium in CALS Notes.

Liberty Hyde Bailey Lecture video: Genomics and the Future of Agriculture

If you missed Friday’s  Liberty Hyde Bailey Lecture, Genomics and the Future of Agriculture, it’s available online.

The lecture and panel discussion, in honor of professor emeritus Steve Tanksley, winner of the 2016 Japan Prize, featured three former lab members — Greg Martin, Jim Giovannoni, and Susan McCouch — introduced and moderated by Kathryn J. Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They celebrated Tanksley’s contributions to plant breeding and genetics and the spirit of genomic discovery in the School of Integrative Plant Science with a panel discussion on genomics and the future of agriculture.

Video: Liberty Hyde Bailey’s The Holy Earth

If you missed last month’s Mann Library ‘Chats in the Stacks’ panel discussion on Liberty Hyde Bailey’s book, The Holy Earth, it’s available online.

The panel features Scott Peters (Department of Development Sociology), Jim Tantillo (Department of Natural Resources), and John Linstrom (Department of Engish, New York University and the former curator and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven, Michigan).

For more audio and video of book talks and special lectures visit the Mann Library event podcast page.

Seminar video: Untermyer Gardens: Restoring Eden in Yonkers, NY

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Untermyer Gardens: Restoring Eden in Yonkers, NY with Stephen Byrns,  Chairman, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, it  is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil paintings hung in Bradfield/Emerson foyer

artists with their work

Undergraduate and graduate students gathered with members of the Cornell Soil Health Team to celebrate the hanging of the paintings they created as part of a community art project commemorating Global Soil Week last December.

Participants mixed finely sifted soil grains with water and the traditional binder known as gesso to turn the varying hues of soil into paintable mixtures. Similar to acrylic, the paint retains the texture and character of the soil from where it originates, with hues of varying colors.

You can view the paintings in the foyer at the east entrance to Bradfield and Emerson Halls.

Seminar video: Faking wine and making millions: Wine counterfeiting through the ages

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, we managed to capture it more or less despite the campus-wide power outage: Faking wine and making millions: Wine counterfeiting through the ages with Justine Vanden Heuvel, Associate Professor, Horticulture Section and Michael Fontaine,  Associate Professor, Department of Classics  is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Seminar video: Creating a Garden for Climate Change Education

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar,  Creating a Garden for Climate Change Education with Sonja Skelly, Director of Education, Cornell Plantations, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Seminar video: When darkness comes: Student mental health, university gardens, and the Nature Rx approach

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar,  When darkness comes: Student mental health, university gardens, and the Nature Rx approach with Erica Anderson
MPS ’16 Public Garden Leadership, Cornell University and Assistant Curator of Education, Department of Horticulture, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and Don Rakow, Associate Professor, Horticulture Section, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Seminar video: A Journey into the Underbelly of the Processed Food Industry

If you missed Wednesday’s Messenger Lecture hosted by Thomas Björkman, A Journey into the Underbelly of the Processed Food Industry  with author and investigative journalist Michael Moss,  it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

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