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Faculty Research Assistant, Organic Vegetable Research
Since 2005, I have been managing collaborative projects between university researchers, organic farmers, seed growers and plant breeders investigating issues ranging from nutrient management to insect and disease interactions to appropriate variety selection through on-farm cultivar trials and variety tastings.
A few other jobs and projects that keep me busy include:
Education and Outreach Consultant for the Organic Seed Alliance
Steering Committee member for Portland Chefs Collaborative
Department of Horticulture
Culinary Breeding Network
Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) is a collaboration between Oregon State University, Organic Seed Alliance, and many local farmers and chefs dedicated to bridging the gap between breeders and eaters to improve agricultural and culinary quality in the Northwest. The project includes conducting on-farm variety trials of commerically available cultivars and breeding lines of four winter vegetables: purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, chicories, and yellow storage onions. The goal is to find the best varieties suited for overwintering and storage as well as those with the best culinary qualities (i.e. flavor, texture, etc.). The hope is that new connections and a sense of shared purpose will help farmers and chefs work together even more closely to develop varieties well-suited to our growing conditions and culinary scene alike.
Northern Organic Variety Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC)
The NOVIC project brings together researchers and organic farmers in Northern US states to address their seed and plant breeding needs. The collaborative includes researchers and educators from Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin (Madison), Cornell University, Organic Seed Alliance, and the USDA. NOVIC partners with organic farmers to breed new varieties, identify the best performing existing varieties for organic agriculture, and educate farmers on organic seed production and plant variety improvement. NOVIC looks for traits conducive to fresh markets with a focus on season extension. Breeding goals include (1) an OP broccoli with traditional F1 attributes and heat-tolerance; (2) a weed-competitive, cold-tolerant ‘Nantes’ carrot; (3) a disease-resistant, heat-tolerant stringless snap pea; (4) a cold-tolerant, sugary-enhanced sweet corn; (5) a butternut squash with good storability; and (6) the "farmers' choice" crop (the Oregon "farmer choice" crops have included sweet peppers, overwintering kale and chicories, including treviso, castelfrancos and grumolos). PHOTOS and VIDEO
eOrganic is the organic agriculture community of practice with eXtension. The mission is to foster a research and outreach community, engage farmers and ag professionals through trainings and publications, and support research and outreach projects. I developed the "Learn to Make a Video with eOrganic" online course and produce research project videos for eOrganic collaborators.
Organic Broccoli and Onion Trials (OBOT)
Variety trials for spring planted onions and broccoli were conducted using a mother-baby experimental design with the mother trials on organic ground at the OSU Lewis Brown Farm and baby trials on fresh market organic farms in western Oregon. Our objectives are to: 1) Identify onion and broccoli varieties which are available as certified organic seed, 2) Establish selection criteria for organic fresh market broccoli and onions, 3) Compare varietal performance using the criteria established in collaboration with farmers, and 4) Disseminate results to farmers, breeders, seed companies and certifying agencies. PHOTOS
Ospud: Participatory Organic Potato Project
During the Ospud project, eleven organic farmers in Oregon and Washington collaborated with Oregon State University faculty to improve potato quality and profitability through a participatory learning process and on-farm, farmer-directed research. This project, affectionately known as Ospud, encouraged an exchange of existing integrated management knowledge & promoted farmer innovation. It was our aspiration that, in working collectively, we may learn more about the wide variety of management issues facing small organic farmers, including soils, nutrients, insects, diseases, weeds, tuber quality & profitability. The first two years of OSPUD were supported by Western SARE Grant SW05-091. In October 2008, Ospud was awarded the James and Mildred Oldfield - E.R. Jackman Team Award for collaborative research by OSU’s College of Agriculture. PHOTOS
I have a Bachelors degree in Agronomy and a Masters in Entomology, both from the University of Florida.
Awards and Honors
Ospud was awarded the James and Mildred Oldfield - E.R. Jackman Team Award for collaborative research by OSU’s College of Agriculture.