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Seminar video: Deconstructing broccoli: complex traits are illuminated by an immortal mapping population

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Deconstructing broccoli: complex traits are illuminated by an immortal mapping population, with Zachary Stansell, Horticulture Section, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Bailee Hopkins-Hensley is connecting people to plants

Cornell Chronicle and CALS News [2019-10-22]

Bailee Hopkins-Hensley ’18, MPS ’19, is passionate about exploring the connections that humans have to plants – especially the connections that indigenous communities have to the species that sustain them. Above, Hopkins-Hensley works with local children while interning at the Ithaca Children’s Garden in summer 2017. Photo provided

Bailee Hopkins-Hensley ’18, MPS ’19, is passionate about exploring the connections that humans have to plants – especially the connections that indigenous communities have to the species that sustain them. Above, Hopkins-Hensley works with local children while interning at the Ithaca Children’s Garden in summer 2017. Photo provided

Bailee Hopkins-Hensley ’18, MPS ’19, is passionate about exploring the connections that humans have to plants – especially the connections that indigenous communities have to the species that sustain them. She earned a bachelor’s degree in plant science in 2018 and a Master of Professional Studies in public garden leadership in 2019, but her interest in plants started when she was a child.

Her grandfather loved plants, and Hopkins-Hensley recalls his extensive gardens, both outside and in three rooms that were converted into a conservatory inside their Colorado home. He grew cacti inside and food plants outside. At age 12, she planted her first backyard garden.

“I wanted to explore the types of plants that my ancestors from my mom’s side of my family had planted to sustain themselves,” says Hopkins-Hensley. “I became very interested in the Three Sisters cropping system and tried growing squash, pumpkins and sunflowers.”

Cornell Botanic Gardens, in partnership with Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science, offers a one-year MPS program for individuals interested in leading botanic gardens and similar organizations.

Read the whole article.

How to pick out a great pumpkin

Horticulture chair Steve Reiners explains:

Toward Sustainability Foundation grant deadline is Dec. 6

For two decades, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has bolstered its sustainability research with a steady stream of gifts from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF), a Massachusetts-based organization founded by an anonymous, eco-minded Cornell alumna.

Since 1999, TSF provided more than $1.5 million in funding for more than 100 faculty and student projects administered through the Horticulture Section that examine the technological, social, political, and economic elements of sustainable agriculture.

The deadline for proposals for the 2020 round of funding is December 6, 2019.

Read more about TSF grants, download the full Request for Proposals, and view titles and contacts of recent projects.

Entomologist Scott McArt lead session on pollinator-friendly gardens at Bluegrass Lane.

Entomologist Scott McArt leads a session on pollinator-friendly gardens at the Cornell Floriculture Field Day at Bluegrass Lane. McArt was a co-PI for the TSF-funded project, Assessing methods for and benefits of establishing beneficial insect habitat for growers and gardeners.

Seminar video: Improving Controlled Environment Culinary Herb Production

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Improving Controlled Environment Culinary Herb Production,  with Christopher Currey, Iowa State University, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Eastern Broccoli Project on track to meet $100M goal

Thomas Bjorkman, professor of horticulture poses with an heirloom style broccoli that he is researching to understand the multitude of broccoli genes available for breeding purposes.

Thomas Bjorkman, professor of horticulture poses with an heirloom style broccoli that he is researching to understand the multitude of broccoli genes available for breeding purposes. Photo: Allison Usavage/Cornell University

By Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle [2019-10-17]:

The Eastern Broccoli Project began in 2010 with the goal of growing a $100 million broccoli industry in the Eastern U.S. in 10 years. Currently, the industry is valued at around $90 million and, with two remaining years of funding, Cornell researchers say they are on schedule to meet their goal.

“I think we’re going to hit it,” said Thomas Björkman, Cornell professor of horticulture and the project’s principal investigator.

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of New York state broccoli farms increased from 290 to 535, and the number of Eastern Seaboard broccoli farms doubled. Yet about 85% of the broccoli consumed annually on the East Coast is shipped from California and Mexico, even with widespread enthusiasm for locally grown foods.

One challenge of growing broccoli in the East is that the plant was originally cultivated as a winter vegetable in Mediterranean climates, so trying to grow it in the Eastern U.S. summer – when summer nights exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit – ends up confusing the plant’s developmental cues.

At such temperatures, the flower buds and heads often grow unevenly, and while perfectly edible, do not look the same as West Coast broccoli. “It’s not at all marketable; you would never see it in a store,” Björkman said.

This year, two new papers clarify issues that should further help to grow the Eastern broccoli industry.

The first paper, a marketing study, “Produce Buyer Quality Requirements to Form an Eastern Broccoli Industry,” was published in the Journal of Food Distribution Research in March.

In the study, the authors – including Philip Coles (MS ’15), professor of practice in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University; Miguel Gómez, associate professor at Cornell’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; and Björkman – surveyed a group of influential wholesale buyers (those who buy on behalf of supermarkets and are the gatekeepers of quality standards, as opposed to consumers) to gauge whether a growing appetite for local foods might outweigh the fact that Eastern broccoli looks a little different from Western broccoli, which is the industry standard. Though Eastern-adapted varieties are still of high quality, they can have a lighter color or larger flower buds than West Coast varieties.

At the same time, sales of local foods increased from $5 billion to $12 billion between 2008 and 2014, according to Packaged Facts, a food industry research firm.

Read the whole article.

Video: ‘Plant Drop’ Cornell – 1,000 plants in 20 minutes

If you missed last week’s ‘Plant Drop’ outside Appel Commons (or just want to relive it) view this timelapse video of the event.

Organizers gave away 1,000 plants donated by Peace Tree Farms to get new students to engage with the wealth of opportunities at Cornell to learn about and enjoy plants by including a tag in each pot leading students to a webpage detailing opportunities to get involved.

Plant Drop co-sponsors:

Special thanks to Collegiate Plant Initiative for support.

‘Plant Drop’ preview

Lloyd Travern with van full of plants headed for Cornell 'Plant Drop'

In this Facebook video, Lloyd Traven, co-owner of Peace Tree Farm provides a preview of the 1,000 plants headed to Appel Commons for the ‘Plant Drop’ giveaway this afternoon (October 3) at 4:30 p.m. The goal of the drop is to get new students to engage with the wealth of opportunities at Cornell to learn about and enjoy plants. More ‘Plant Drop’ information.

Seminar video: The Garden Pea Returns to its Place as a Model Plant,

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, The Garden Pea Returns to its Place as a Model Plant,  with Peter Davies, Plant Biology and Horticulture Sections, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

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