Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

Horticulture, micronutrients and nutrition will play an important role at this year’s World Food Prize events and Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, October 12-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.

This year’s World Food Prize laureates — Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, and Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) and Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus — were selected for their work with bio-fortification and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, which provide a Vitamin A-rich alternative to other sweet potato varieties traditionally eaten in parts of Africa.

Accordingly, the theme of the Borlaug Dialogue will be “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” with an emphasis on the crucial role of nutrition in global food security.

Panel at Borlaug Dialogue Symposium

The Horticulture Innovation Lab’s director, Elizabeth Mitcham, will contribute to that discussion as a speaker at the Borlaug Dialogue. She will be Continue reading Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

Simon gives memorial lecture at University of Minnesota

James Simon, professor at Rutgers University and a partner of the Horticulture Innovation Lab, recently presented a memorial lecture at the University of Minnesota.

Approximately 100 people attended the talk Simon gave April 13 as the invited speaker for the Kermit A. Olson Memorial Lecture to the University of Minnesota’s Department of Horticultural Science. Continue reading Simon gives memorial lecture at University of Minnesota

Chicago Council highlights market-driven horticulture projects in Zambia

With more than 2 million visitors per year, Victoria Falls World Heritage Site and luxury hotels near Livingstone, Zambia, offer an extraordinary market opportunity for local farmers — one that was highlighted recently by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs blog.

This guest commentary written by Ann Steensland and Margaret Zeigler (of Global Harvest Initiative) focuses on the market-driven approach of Horticulture Innovation Lab partners who are supporting small-scale farmers near Livingstone with training and technologies at multiple points along the horticultural value chain.

Women in chitenge gathered around bag hanging from scale with woman in suit IMG_0163eds
Nsongwe women farmers weigh a bag of butternut squash for a buyer from a Livingstone hotel.

The post is about a series of Horticulture Innovation Lab projects that are ongoing in Zambia, with leadership from James Simon of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The current project is focused on “Improving nutrition with African indigenous vegetables” and includes partners from Purdue University, AgriSmart Zambia, the University of Zambia, and the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC).

One of the blog writers, Ann Steensland, visited farmers in Kizuni village who were trained by this team and now grow high-value vegetable seedlings in high tunnels. Among their seedling customers are the nearby Nsongwe Women’s group, also participants in the project, who in turn grow vegetables year-round to sell to Livingstone’s hotels.

Last year the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s advisory board and evaluation team visited the same project sites (see photos of the visits, fields, and farmers) as part of the program’s 2015 annual meeting. Continue reading Chicago Council highlights market-driven horticulture projects in Zambia

Our newest center, here at UC Davis

In a corner of the UC Davis campus, there is a new garden plot with fresh mulch, thriving vegetable plants, young seedlings, and a small shed.

Until this week, there were no signs on this mysterious plot. If you’re at UC Davis, you may have walked by and wondered, “What’s growing on over there?”

This is the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s new center at UC Davis, a work in progress.

Campus map shows new garden plot between Environmental Horticulture buildings and Nelson Hall for the Horticulture Innovation Lab's new Center at UC Davis, in progress.
Wondered what is growing in this corner of campus? This map shows the location of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s Center, demonstrating vegetables and tools from the program’s work in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Though our program is headquartered here in California, the Horticulture Innovation Lab has two Regional Centers at universities in Honduras and in Thailand. These centers demonstrate agricultural technologies that can help smallholder farmers Continue reading Our newest center, here at UC Davis

Videos: Meet Zambian women who grow indigenous vegetables

African indigenous vegetables and women who grow them in Zambia are the subject of two videos made by a team from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

As a student with the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking, Jeanpaul Isaacs visited Livingstone to meet the Nsongwe Women’s Group. These women are growing vegetables with support from the Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP) organization and Rutgers Professor Jim Simon.

The Horticulture Innovation Lab has worked with Simon, ASNAPP, and a team of international partners on improving the value chain for African indigenous vegetables in Zambia and Kenya. We are currently working with this team to develop a project focused on how growing and selling these vegetables can impact farmer nutrition, as related to household consumption and dietary diversity (announcement).

In the first video, Simon narrates the story behind how Continue reading Videos: Meet Zambian women who grow indigenous vegetables