Alaska: A home not only to enormous glaciers and wild salmon, but to a wide and unique variety of plant life. This was the destination for Horticultural Science professor Neil O. Anderson in fall of 2017 and again this spring, with the goal of expanding the germplasm collection for his chrysanthemum breeding program. Anderson’s focus species was Chrysanthemum arcticum and its two subspecies, commonly known as the arctic daisy, all of which grow primarily in coastal areas within the “last frontier” of the United States.
“In other labs you stay inside all day, but in my lab we go to the greenhouse and look at things that are alive.”
Abigail Diering, a Plant Science and Chemistry major from Denver, Colorado, speaks enthusiastically about her experience working in two Horticultural Science research laboratories. Her interest in plant research can be traced back to one of her first classes at the University of Minnesota: Plant Propagation, Horticultural Science’s introductory course covering the fundamentals of plant biology and a wide variety of growing techniques.
Bees need flowers and flowers need bees. This is one of the simplest lessons of the natural world, but as a graduate student in the Department of Horticultural Science, Nathan Hecht wants to know more about what this means specifically for Minnesota food production. How can our understanding of ecology inform the way we design our agricultural systems? That is, how can we create agricultural landscapes that are both more productive and sustainable?
When CFANS alumnus Garrett McCormick (B.S. Food Systems, 2015) was just fourteen, he began taking probiotics and noticed a big change in how he felt: he had more energy and he was ill less frequently. Years later, after meeting Amanda Pederson (B.S. Nutrition, 2016) in a cooking class at the University of Minnesota, they turned this insight into their careers.
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.