Claire Luby named as inaugural Morgridge Fellow

Claire Luby

Congratulations to Claire Luby, Ph.D. for being selected into the first cohort of Morgridge Fellows. This year-long learning community is designed to further institutionalize and support community-engaged scholarship, defined as: teaching, research, and scholarly activities that are performed in equitable, mutually beneficial collaboration with communities to fulfill campus and community objectives.

Claire is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Horticulture. Her community-based research focuses on improving seed sovereignty for a variety of communities, including supporting the work of several Native American tribes in Wisconsin. She is also developing a service-learning component to Hort 120: Survey of Horticulture. In addition to her teaching and research, she has applied her community-engaged scholarship to the development of three organizations: The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), The Student Organic Seed Symposium, and the Society of Organic Seed Professionals.

Read more here.

Claudia Calderón receives Global Health Institute travel award

Claudia Calderón, assistant faculty associate in the Department of Horticulture, was selected to receive a Global Health Institute 2018 Faculty and Staff Travel Award. The award will cover travel costs associated with her project, “Assessing mycotoxin levels in maize in the highlands of Guatemala.”

Maize is a dietary staple in Guatemala and is often consumed to the exclusion of other food commodities. Previous studies have found that people relying on maize often consume high levels of toxic metabolites produced by fungi (mycotoxins). This has significant implications for food safety, food security and international trade. Calderón’s project will focus on 50 small-scale farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala and will support research on the quality of maize and provide recommendations on food safety. The overall goal is to devise effective and sustainable mechanisms to educate, monitor and reduce exposure to mycotoxin contamination.

The Global Health Institute Faculty and Staff Travel Awards are available for UW-Madison faculty and staff to undertake international travel related to educational and research activities. Several grants of up to $2,500.00 are awarded for a duration of one year.

Originally posted here: https://ecals.cals.wisc.edu/

Goldman and Luby awarded Baldwin Grant

The subjects of the eight projects selected for grants from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment are varied but all will help the university contribute knowledge and resources across the state.

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.

Preserving and Advancing Seed Sovereignty and Crop Genetic Diversity for Native American Tribes in Wisconsin

Irwin Goldman, professor and chair, Department of Horticulture, and Claire Luby, research associate, Department of Horticulture

Maintaining and increasing genetic diversity in crop varieties can benefit from knowledge of population genetics. In addition, controlled pollination techniques can provide greater efficiency for managing cross-pollinated heritage seed varieties. Today, there is significant interest among tribal members in assessing, maintaining and utilizing these valuable genetic resources for both food and seed sovereignty, as well as public health and nutrition. Despite the existence of a number of new training resources for those who wish to preserve and maintain seed of heritage crop varieties, we have identified the need for creating culturally appropriate resources that will mesh with the traditions and relationships around food and land resources in native communities for this two-year project.

Originally posted here: https://news.wisc.edu/eight-projects-win-baldwin-grants/

Back to Farming Basics in Guatemala

When Claudia Calderón touched down in the fertile highlands of western Guatemala, she was stepping into a sociological experiment already afoot.

What brought her to the verdant country in Central America in 2016 was a collaborative study conducted alongside her peers from Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala. The group wanted to determine how two different types of small-holder farms (less than about 2.5 acres) perform in two key areas of sustainability — food security and climatic resilience.

The study compares semiconventional farms (those that use agrochemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers and grow a comparatively limited array of crops) and agroecology-adopting farms, which largely eschew modern pesticides for organic alternatives and are characterized by a sense of self-reliance, a concern for community well-being, a deeply rooted land ethic, and a tightly knit “solidarity economy” where food production and exchange occur for reasons beyond capital accumulation.

“They’re really focusing on the well-being of their families, of their communities,” says Calderón, an assistant faculty associate in the Department of Horticulture. “And not just the individual profit, but also the community profit.”

The first thrust of the study — food security — is a prominent issue in Guatemala. Large parts of the country lack the proper infrastructure to transport excess goods to market in time, and most rural households need to buy more food than they can produce. Combine this shortage with high levels of poverty, and malnutrition follows.

The group also investigated the agroecological method’s adoption and resilience to climate change. Agroecological farmers tend to grow a greater diversity of crops, including maize, bean, brassicas, leafy greens, potatoes, carrots, and fruits. This allows them to bounce back even if one crop is devastated by drought or rain. They also utilize terraces, contour planting, and live fences to mitigate the effects that washouts can have on their steep hillside plots.

“The whole world is talking about climate change, but particular regions of the world are especially vulnerable to the effects,” Calderón says.

Both agroecological and semiconventional agricultural methods are not without their challenges. Political will is fragmented. Property rights are murky or altogether absent. Extractive industries take advantage of this, hoping to ply the ground for valuable minerals in the soil.

But Calderón is intrigued by the symbiotic relationship between Guatemalan small-scale farmers and their land. She notes that women have become more involved in decisions about crop management. The takeaway? A set of farming practices aimed at optimizing yields, rather than maximizing them, may hold promise for the future of farming in Guatemala.

“What consequences are coming from particular ways of doing agriculture?” says Calderón. “We need to see the whole picture and recognize the role that small-holder farmers play for food security around the world.”

This article was originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Grow magazine.

Experiential Learning Developing Relationships with Nature

With a heavy emphasis on getting the kids outdoors and having an integral component of the developmental curriculum being learning through inquiry, the University of Wisconsin Preschool Lab found a great partner in the department of Horticulture.  This time, taking advantage of Christy Stewart’s expertise in bee identification, we coordinated an activity with a group of 3 and 4 years old.

With a combination of active listening, group discussion, Q&A, and hands-on explorations, Christy masterfully engaged the preschoolers into an embodied experience that challenged the sight, the touch, and the smell.  Active learning for preschoolers, pure and simple, right there!

  • Where do bees live?
  • Do they all live in hives?  In large groups?
  • Are there solitary bees?
  • What do they feed on?
  • Where are you most likely to find them?
  • How many types of bees are there in the world?  In Wisconsin?

Christy was able to keep her audience captive.  The kids were very good at taking turns to ask her the most interesting questions.  Interspersed in her talk, Christy passed a sample of a leaf cutter bee’s nest, a bumblebee nest, as well as a little box containing specimens of bees, wasps and flies.

And then, the icing on the cake: searching for bees in the green space in front of the School of Human Ecology.  Armed with a lot of energy, curiosity, magnifier lenses, and bug observation boxes, the kids followed Christy with her net to see what they could find.  She centered her swing, and in the blink of the eye, she had caught a small metallic green sweat bee, flipped the net to ensure it wouldn’t escape and transferred efficiently to a small container for the kids to watch.

It is never too late to start talking about the diversity of plants and animals and their roles in our ecosystems.  The activity concluded with the kids receiving a Bee Identification Guide to further their explorations at home.

This activity was organized by Claudia Calderon of the Department of Horticulture.

Calderón Recipient of Increasing Study Abroad Grant

Dr. Claudia Calderón, assistant faculty associate in the Department of Horticulture, received a $25,000 grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund to develop a new study abroad program in Guatemala. The Innovation Fund aims to increase study abroad opportunities between the U.S. and the rest of the western hemisphere. Dr. Calderón’s proposal, developed in partnership with the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, outlines an innovative model of study abroad between the two universities and will include a faculty-led field study, service-learning and international internships. In addition, the Morgridge Center for Public Service awarded Claudia $4,500 to support the community-based learning component of the course proposal.

The three-credit course, Community Based Learning and Sustainable Food Systems, will include service-learning projects involving local community partners to promote participatory approaches to environmental stewardship while international internships will reinforce academic learning through practical applications of world issues pertaining to food systems. An analogous program will be coordinated through Universidad Rafael Landivar. Dr. Calderón is currently the Program Leader/Instructor for UW Tropical Horticulture in Costa Rica and Panama, a two-week program offered during winter break which provides a framework for discussion of issues related to tropical horticulture, such as sustainability, cropping systems, climate change, food security, global health, nutrition and traditional medicine.

Press Release

IPM and NPM Programs Honored for Display

John Shutske, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board chair, presents the 2016 Donald R. Peterson Award to Roger Schmidt and Mimi Broeske.

It’s not often that people can have their picture taken with a ten foot tall goat or be able to pose in a pen with pigs and not get dirty, but it was possible for people who visited the University of Wisconsin Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Nutrient Management Programs (NPM) booth at the 2016 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

Using an iPad and some creativity to run a photo booth where visitors could pose and interact with images of farm animals, IPM/NPM staff demonstrated the computer power that simple mobile devices have and explained how the University of Wisconsin-Extension uses digital technology to be flexible and relevant to the needs of farmers, including developing apps for farmers.

“UW-Extension doesn’t manufacture giant farm machinery,” said Roger Schmidt, UW-Extension computer specialist at UW-Madison, “But we do create research and foster community relationships that help farmers reap bountiful harvests, earn more money and allow people to eat the best food the earth can grow sustainably.”

The IPM and NPM exhibit, which provided information about free smartphone apps developed for agriculture by these two programs, received the 2016 Donald R. Peterson Technology Transfer Award. Individuals recognized for their efforts with this display were Roger Schmidt, UW-Extension computer specialist at UW-Madison and Mimi Broeske, UW-Madison senior editor.

NPM and IPM mobile apps include Wisconsin’s Corn N Rate Calculator, N Price Calculator, Crop Calculators for Corn, NPK Credits – Manure and Legume Nutrient Credit Calculator, Soybean Replant Calculator, and an IPM toolkit. The apps are available for both Apple and Android devices.

The award was presented at the annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board of Directors meeting in April 2017.

The Donald R. Peterson Award recognizes outstanding educational effectiveness and impact via an interactive exhibit and activities at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. To receive this award, groups must successfully engage audiences around topics such as: effectively using new management tools, processes, or concepts; incorporating new technologies into a modern farm operation; or issues that challenge contemporary agriculture and our natural resource base.

The Donald R. Peterson Wisconsin Farm Technology (Progress) Days Technology Transfer Award was established in honor of Don Peterson, UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Professor and Associate Dean. Peterson was Chair of the Board of Directors from 1975-1993 and Executive Director of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days from 1993-1998.

The Award memorializes Peterson’s diligent efforts to encourage CALS faculty and staff to convey the fruits of College research and knowledge to the public through Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

This post originally published on the UW Extension Website

Department Personnel at WPT’s 2017 Garden Expo

Julie Dawson, Vegetable Specialist

Amy Freidig, Master Gardener Program

Elin Meliska, Allen Centennial Garden

Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo, in its 24th year, was held February 10-12.  The warm weather invited 10’s of 1000’s to attend.  Horticulture staff who participated include Julie Dawson, Eileen Nelson, Madeline Wimmer, Amaya Atucha.  Also participating: Ben Futa, Elin Meliska and Abby Granite of the Allen Centennial Garden, Johanna Oosterwyk from The DC Smith Greenhouse, Mike Maddox, Susan Mahr and Amy Freidig of the Master Gardener Program.

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

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)