Newsletter Archive

Department News

Alumni Award Winner Eric Lee-Mader to Present at HortSci Grows: Sustainability

We invite you to join us for HortSci Grows on April 11, 2018. HortSci Grows is a daylong event that celebrates where Horticultural Science has been and where we’re going. This year our theme is sustainability, featuring Eric Lee-Mäder (M.Ag. 2005) as keynote speaker and recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Alex Liebman researches Colombian agricultural policy to inform future legislation

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.

Tell Me What You Want

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.

Introducing Laura Shannon

The Department of Horticultural Science is excited to welcome Laura Shannon as our newest faculty member, studying potato breeding and genetics.

Bailey Foundation Expands the Family Legacy

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.

Food Systems Major Examines the Bigger Picture

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.

If You Build It, Will They Come? Students test pollinator presence at urban garden sites

Students participating in the U of M Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), the Urban Scholars Program, and the Step-Up Program worked with labs in Horticultural Science and Entomology to study floral and pollinator diversity at established urban community gardens and newly-planted pollinator gardens in Minneapolis.

Saving the Eastern Hemlock

For the last three years, Emily Ellingson (Applied Plant Sciences, M.S.) has spent her days studying and growing a single type of tree: the eastern hemlock. Ellingson, who is advised by Stan Hokanson and Jim Bradeen, is utilizing microsatellite markers to determine genetic diversity within Minnesota’s native eastern hemlock population in the hopes of improving conservation efforts for the tree.

Developing the Next Generation of Horticulture Professionals

In 2015 the USDA estimated that only 61% of high-skilled job openings in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States would be filled. To address this problem, the decision was made in 2013 to restructure curriculum from two majors—applied plant sciences and horticulture—into a single major called plant science, and add an additional food systems major.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Nominations are now open for the Department of Horticultural Science Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award will honor an alumnus/alumna who has attained professional distinction in horticultural science as evidenced by outstanding professional achievement on a state, national, or international level. Nominations due June 15, 2017.


Have a Story?

We’re always looking for new stories to include in our alumni newsletter. If you’re a current member of the department or an alumnus and you’re doing something interesting, tell us about it by emailing Echo Martin at