Medicinal Plant Symposium September 30

The Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is holding a unique Medicinal Plant Symposium on Friday, September 30, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This is a free event and is available to the general public. The symposium will feature an evening filled with a community of professionals, students and the general public for a series of talks about medicinal plants.

The event will include talks by community professionals from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Ebling Auditorium in the Microbial Sciences building on UW campus, followed by a reception at Allen Centennial Garden from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., where attendees can explore the live collections of medicinal plants, mingle and enjoy refreshments.

There will be six speakers including fellow UW-Madison faulty from the Department of Family Medicine, Bruce Barrett and David Kiefer. Other speakers include, Edith Leoso of the Bad River Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Jeff Grignon from Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Yangbum Gyal from the Medicine Buddha Healing Center and Tibetan Medicine & Acupuncture and Chris Tyrrell from the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The talks will cover a range of topics including, a historical overview of the use of herbal medicines; traditional knowledge of plant healing; the intricate relationships of humans and plants in Wisconsin Native American communities; a Tibetan perspective on medicinal plants; using Echinacea to treat the common cold; and the importance of ethnobotanical collections.

To register for this event visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/medicinal-plant-symposium-tickets-26810552083. For more information, contact Claudia Calderón at cicalderon@wisc.edu or (608) 416-9335.

Originally posted in eCALS by Kaitlin McIntosh, Allen Centennial Garden student Intern

Farm to Flavor dinner will feature plant breeding efforts

Farm to Flavor is a signature dinner experience and celebration of Wisconsin food that will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Mendota Room inside Dejope Hall. It brings together the plant breeders, farmers, and chefs responsible for creating a new local cuisine. These co-creators encompass the motto that food is made at the intersection of seed, farm, and kitchen.

Taste the results of collaborative plant breeding in small plates from Madison’s highly acclaimed chefs including, Jonny Hunter of Underground Food Collective, Tory Miller of I’Etoile, Dan Bonnano of Pig in a Fur Coat and Eric Benedict of Café Hollander. Guest speaker Ken Greene of the Hudson Valley Seed Library will kick off a dinner discussion about the intersection of crop varieties, culture and art. Questions about plant breeding, farming and food systems are welcomed throughout the dinner.

Prior to the dinner, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., a free plant-breeding showcase held at Allen Centennial Garden will give attendees the opportunity to meet leading plant breeders responsible for developing fruits and vegetables adapted for Wisconsin’s organic farms. While sampling the results, attendees will learn how collaborative plant breeding can increase productivity and the profitability of regional organic farms.

The cost to attend the dinner is $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Register athttp://bit.ly/2bh7dtv.

For more information, contact Julie Dawson at dawson@hort.wisc.edu or (608) 609-6165.

Boys Scouts earn Plant Sciences merit badges

Reported in eCALS on 8/22/2016 by Caroline Schneider, CALS Office of External Relations

Last Saturday, Aug. 20, Kevin Cope, a graduate student in Jean-Michel Ané’s lab, organized a Plant Science Merit Badge Workshop for Boy Scouts. The workshop was held in conjunction with the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Council (PSGSC) with help from PSGSC president Chris D’Angelo, a graduate student in Irwin Goldman’s lab. Boy Scouts from across Wisconsin and parts of Illinois attended, and 48 scouts earned the badge. More than 15 graduate student volunteers from several different departments and programs helped with the workshop.

Scouts attending the workshop took part in lectures, hands-on experiments, and tours of the D.C. Smith Greenhouse and the Allen Centennial Gardens. Said one parent who attended the workshop, “My son commented on how much they learned and came home in very good spirits after a long day. We’ve been to many different merit badge workshops…[This] was one of the best run and highest-quality workshops we’ve seen.”

This is the second time Kevin, who serves as vice president of PSGSC, has organized this workshop with the student council. They plan to continue offering this merit badge workshop in the future so that young men interested in plant science can learn more and enjoy the facilities that UW–Madison has to offer. They are also interested in expanding the workshop to involve young women and welcome ideas about how to do that. Contact Kevin at kcope@wisc.edu with any questions or suggestions.

CALS Vegetable Breeders Leave Their Mark

Tucked behind campus’ Walnut Street Greenhouses sits a nondescript brick building known colloquially as the “Carrot and Beet Lab.” It doesn’t look like much, but its exterior tells the story of an important campus legacy. Etched into its walls are various names, dates and symbols carved by UW-Madison faculty, staff and students who were—or are—involved in the university’s carrot and beet breeding research efforts.name.

The small building, built in 1910, originally functioned as a barn to house campus animals. In 1949, it was converted into a cooler to store carrot, beet and onion roots by Warren “Buck” Gabelman, who grew into an internationally respected plant breeder over the course of his 42 years with the Department of Horticulture. Ever since, the facility has functioned as a common space for campus’ various vegetable breeding labs.

Irwin Goldman, professor and chair of the horticulture department, recalls students and researchers nicknaming the building “The Clubhouse” which accurately portrays the building as a common ground used for lunch breaks, yard games, and conversation.

“Yes, it’s a campus building. Yes, it’s a place where we house our research materials, but it is also a gathering place, a place for people to play cards at lunch time and park their bikes,” says Goldman, who has been in charge of the Carrot and Beet Lab for the past 24 years.

From early on, as students and researchers moved on from the lab, they began carving their names on the south-facing wall to commemorate their time spent there. Thus, a new tradition was born.

One of the bricks bears the name of Robert Kane, who works as a plant breeder in the horticulture department. According to Kane, who has witnessed the evolution of the wall over time, the names are like a family tree of campus’ vegetable breeders. While each engraving represents a unique individual, the wall gives viewers a sense of the depth of the Lab’s alumni and current membership and the cumulative impact of their efforts.

“I’ve heard UW-Madison referred to as ‘the well’ of horticulture because of its variety and depth of talent,” says Kane. “If researchers needed anything—from someone with decades of professional experience to a fresh pair of eyes—they would go to ‘the well’ to recruit new team members.”

Upon close inspection, the wall contains the names of a number of veggie celebrities such as Warren Gabelman, Rodger Freeman, Fred Bliss and JF “Rick” Watson II. All trained at UW-Madison and carved their names before going on to make influential contributions to the world of agriculture.

“These are people in our field who are now legendary figures, but who all once trained there in the modest little place called the Carrot and Beet Lab,” says Goldman.

The carving tradition still lives on today. With the names of such famous predecessors written just to the left or the right of fresh signatures, one can’t help but wonder what incredible accomplishments these recent graduates might achieve.

Originally posted by:  Gilliane Davison, student employee, CALS Office of External Relations in ecals newsletter Friday, August 5th, 2016

Seed To Kitchen Collaborative Seeks More Flavors For Local Produce

While local food can be viewed as both an eternal and contemporary concept, a basic way-of-life present throughout humanity’s history and a fashionable type of grocery purchase, the science behind what it is and means is still taking shape. The very definition of “local” with respect to food is not universal, nor are the primary types of foods grown for sale in markets geared towards the desires of locally-oriented consumers.

Julie Dawson, an urban agricultural specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and an assistant professor in the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, is working to expand the understanding of local food and how people consume it. Since she arrived in Wisconsin in 2013, Dawson has focused on farms and growers that sell their products in urban areas and through direct exchanges. This means she gets to explore local foods in a broad range of settings, including farmers’ markets, community gardens, community-supported agriculture exchanges, grocery stores that market local goods, and restaurants that serve dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

One specific element of Dawson’s research focuses on identifying new varieties of fruits and vegetables that are particularly suited to local settings. She places an emphasis on characteristics like flavor, which drive smaller-scale purchase decisions. A July 1, 2016 report on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here And Now introduced her work researching varieties of produce that could be suitable for local food markets.

“Local food systems and farms that are growing for the local market can manage for the best flavor, choose the varieties that have the best flavor, and get it to your table within hours or a few days so that flavor is still there,” Dawson said.

“If you’re getting vegetables from a local farmer, often those have the best flavor, and so you want to eat more, and that in itself will improve people’s health,” said Dawson in the Here And Now report.

This niche of agricultural production is called peri-urban, in which the food’s consumers are based in a specific populated area. Peri-urban areas are transitional zones where rural and urban land uses and development characteristics mix — characteristics one often finds at the edges of growing metropolitan areas. In agricultural terms, that means farms “that are primarily marketing to urban areas,” as Dawson explained in the September 15, 2014 edition of the UW Ag Podcast.

Dawson is the first researcher at UW to focus on how peri-urban agriculture fits into local food systems and direct-to-market economies.

“For some of the larger growing regions that ship across the country, the primary traits are yield, shelf life, shipping, things that are going to get the vegetable from the field to somebody’s table, when that’s 4,000 miles apart,” she said on Here And Now.

But the local food consumer particularly values flavor and texture. Dawson’s lab focuses on these traits through its Seed to Kitchen Collaborative. The project brings together plant breeders, farmers and chefs to assess different varieties of plants and vegetables with an eye (or more appropriately, a set of taste buds) for determining which could tempt purchasers of local food.

“Flavor is a very complex trait and it’s obviously subjective because it’s something that every person experiences a little differently,” Dawson said.

For example, in its 2015 tomato trial, the project examined more than three dozen varieties, growing each inside a hoophouse and in the field. Among the characteristics they tracked were the percentage that germinated, the date of the plants’ flowering, the average marketable and unmarketable yields per plant, the average number of fruits per plant, the average fruit weight and percentage unmarketable by weight, and the primary reasons for unmarketability (often diseases like bacterial speck or nutrition issues like blossom end rot).

These tests also tracked feedback from farmers growing some of the varieties, who shared their perspective on flavor, flaws and marketability. Summer growing crews also participated in flavor tests, in which the tasters offered their personal rankings on multiple characteristics, including sweetness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness and umami, along with texture and color. To complete the trial, several chefs tasted the tomato varieties, describing their perceived strengths and flaws, and suggested how they might serve it and whether or not they would purchase the variety for themselves or their restaurants.

Chefs participating in the taste-testing are from some of Madison’s highest-profile restaurant kitchens. Their input is particularly valued, the Wisconsin State Journal reported, due to their palates and accompanying ability to discern seemingly minor differences between produce varieties.

“The goal of this project is really to experiment with interesting vegetables that can be grown for all of the different local food markets in Wisconsin,” said Dawson to Here And Now.

The Seed to Kitchen Collaborative has tested multiple types of produce, including carrots, peppers, melons and squash, among others.

Editor’s note: Here And Now producer Andy Soth contributed to this report.

Seed To Kitchen Collaborative Seeks More Flavors For Local Produce was originally published on WisContext which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

Combined Town Hall Meeting via Twitter

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Extension specialists and Master Gardeners from the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Extension and the University of Wisconsin-Extension will partner with Agriculture is America (AgIsAmerica), a national communications initiative aimed at highlighting the nation’s land-grant institutions, to host a Twitter Town Hall on July 8 at 2 PM ET.

Extension Educators and Master Gardeners will answer questions regarding Master Gardener volunteer programs and additional gardening topics including urban gardening, beginner tips, and more.

A Twitter Town Hall, like a public meeting or webinar, gives the opportunity for a live question and answer period with subject matter experts. To follow the conversation or submit a question, include the hashtag “#agischat” in your tweet. All agriculture-related organizations, industry leaders, friends, and supporters are invited to join the discussion.

WHAT: Twitter Town Hall on Master Gardener Programs and Gardening

WHO:

  • Pamela Bennett, Associate Professor at the Ohio State University, Master Gardener Volunteer Program Director, Horticulture Educator/Director, OSU Extension, Clark County
  • Mike Maddox, Master Gardener Program Director at the University of Wisconsin-Extension

WHEN: Friday, July 8
2:00-3:00 p.m. ET

WHERE: Participating Twitter handles include: @agisamerica, @osuemgv, and @UWEXMG.

About the Ohio State University Extension – Clark County
Ohio State University Extension brings the knowledge of the university directly to you. They fulfill the land-grant mission of TheOhio State University by interpreting knowledge and research developed by Extension and other faculty and staff at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State main campus, and other land-grant universities – so Ohioans can use the scientifically based information to better their lives, businesses and communities.

About the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Horticulture
The University of Wisconsin-Extension works in partnership with 26 UW System campuses, 72 Wisconsin counties, three tribal governments, and other public and private organizations to fulfill its public service mission. This is the “Wisconsin Idea” – extending the university’s boundaries to the corners of the state. Through statewide outreach networks, UW-Extension also connects university research to the specific needs and interests of residents and communities. Educators, working on campuses and in communities, use up-to-date research and careful analysis to help Wisconsin people address economic, social and environmental issues.

The Cooperative Extension works with individuals, families, farms, business and communities, applying university knowledge and research to address issues in rural, suburban and urban settings. Locally-based Cooperative Extension staff collaborates with University of Wisconsin campus specialists to provide educational programming in Wisconsin’s 72 counties and within three tribal nations.

About Agriculture is America (Ag is America)
The agriculture industry – sustained in large part by the American land-grant university system through Colleges of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Stations, and Cooperative Extension – is integral to jobs, national security, and health. Ag is America works to promote research and news from land-grant universities across the United States. To learn more, visithttp://agisamerica.org/.

SOURCE Agriculture is America (AgIsAmerica)

Horticulture Grad Student Wins Writing Contest

This past spring, CALS agroecology graduate student Kitt Healy won second place in the Water Sustainability and Climate Project’s Our Waters, Our Future writing contest, which sought short stories about positive futures for water and people in south-central Wisconsin. As part of Healy’s award, her story, “The Incarnation of Nelmi Jane,” is featured in Madison Magazine’s June online issue.

The contest was an effort to encourage imaginative thinking about desirable and possible futures for the region. It was a collaboration of the UW-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate Project and Center for Limnology, Sustain Dane, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, and Madison Magazine.

Contest submissions came from all over Wisconsin and were judged in part based on their scientific plausibility, a call made by a team of four scientists from UW-Madison.

Wisconsin-based literary leaders Peter Annin, journalist and author of Great Lakes Water Wars, and poet Fabu, Madison’s third poet laureate, along with Madison Magazine, made the final decision on the first- and second-place winners.

“The Incarnation of Nelmi Jane has beautiful poetic lines woven throughout the story. It combines the realities of not taking good care of our water with the hope that new life and better understanding bring,” said Fabu of Healy’s story.

The contest ran from November 2015 through January 2016, and the winners were announced in March.

Read Healy’s story here.

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Greenhouse Wins Rural Development Initiative Award

The Flambeau River Community Growing Center in Park Falls, Wisconsin, which was founded with the help of CALS horticulturalists, (Mike Geiger and Dr. Sara Patterson) has been selected to receive a Top Rural Development Initiative award from Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc.

Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc. (WRP) is a statewide non-profit organization that develops rural networks and leaders, and provides a voice for rural Wisconsin. WRP is the federally-recognized State Rural Development Council for Wisconsin.

This is the sixteenth year that WRP has recognized Wisconsin’s Top Rural Development Initiatives. The program is designed to identify, highlight, and share innovative models, practices and programs that have a positive impact on rural Wisconsin communities.

Here’s the description of the Flambeau River Community Growing Center from the WRP news release:

 

Flambeau River Community Growing Center, Park Falls
It started in 2012 with the idea of using waste heat from the Flambeau Mill to heat a greenhouse which could provide higher educational classes, a food source for the food pantry, and community gardens. Through a collaboration with UW- Madison, the Flambeau Mill, UWEX – Price County, and the Flambeau River Community Growing Center committee, a nonprofit 510(c)3 organization was established. Today, the vision has been realized and the growing center provides educational classes, and community support through the availability of raised beds for community members and through the provision of fresh foods for the local food pantries.

Originally posted at ecals.cals.wisc.edu/2016/05/17

Atucha awarded Baldwin Grant

The Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students. Grants of up to $120,000 and mini-grants of up to $4,000 are awarded.

Ira Baldwin, a longtime UW teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

Building a Comprehensive Network of Fruit Growers to Improve Sustainable Production of Fruit Crops in Wisconsin
Christelle Guédot, assistant professor of entomology, and Amaya Atucha, assistant professor of horticulture

Fruit production in Wisconsin contributes over $400 million to the state economy and encompasses large-scale commercial growers, small-scale growers, as well as homeowners. The goal of the project is to develop new avenues for effectively delivering time-sensitive information on environmentally sound pest management practices and sustainable fruit crop production to all fruit growers, with special attention to underserved communities in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Fruit Program Web Presence

The Wisconsin Fruit Program under the direction of Dr. Amaya Atucha has announced their re-designed website. Of particular information on the site are links to their regularly published newsletter “Wisconsin Fruit News”.  Those who wish can get the newsletter direct by providing an email address.  http://fruit.wisc.edu/