When APS master’s student Alex Liebman, co-advised by Nick Jordan and Julie Grossman, traveled to Colombia to work at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), he planned to study how soil carbon changes over time and with the introduction of new plants. While there Liebman found himself asking questions about how Colombia’s landscape had changed, how 60 years of civil war affected local farmers, and the relationship between agricultural policy and institutions like CIAT.
Why don’t homeowners buy low-input, more sustainable turfgrass? Do genetic markers really save apple breeders money? Will people spend more money on produce grown with aquaponics? These kinds of questions are vital to the real-world success of applied plant research, but they require an entirely different kind of science: economics. Professor Chengyan Yue’s work in horticultural marketing bridges the gap between economic realities and applied horticultural research.
The Department of Horticultural Science is excited to welcome Laura Shannon as our newest faculty member, studying potato breeding and genetics.
For over a century, the Bailey family has been a philanthropic leader in CFANS. They have created multiple scholarships, established the first endowed faculty chair in CFANS, and supported countless events and endeavors around campus. In August, they showed their commitment to the next generation of horticulturists yet again through a $1 million gift from the Gordon and Margaret Bailey Foundation to support students studying horticulture.
The systems that bring food to our tables are complex, and include everything from farming to consumption to recycling. While traditional horticultural and agronomic degrees study the plants that make up these systems, faculty members at the U of M saw a need for a degree that took a more holistic and interdisciplinary approach to food. In 2013 this led to the creation of the Food Systems major, which examines not just how to grow food, but how agricultural systems interact with the communities they serve and exist within.