Meet Archie Jarman: Q&A with Horticulture Innovation Lab’s new program officer

Editor’s note: Archie Jarman joined the Horticulture Innovation Lab team as its new program officer, just in time to participate in the program’s annual meeting in March. He brings a wealth of international experience to this position, which includes coordinating the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s Regional Centers around the globe. Here is a brief interview to introduce you to Archie and his background. We hope you have a chance to meet him soon!

Question: Tell us about your background. How did you come to work for the Horticulture Innovation Lab?

portrait: Robert "Archie" Jarman
Archie Jarman, program officer for the Horticulture Innovation Lab

Archie Jarman: By winding road. I worked for the fire service, which is a great career, and made some lifelong friends, but I had the international travel itch. So I studied International Social Welfare at Columbia University and also interned at the Millennium Villages Project with a focus on whether safety net programs improve childhood nutrition domestically and abroad. After graduating, I then worked at Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., as coordinator and then as project manager with excellent teams for their USAID-funded projects. The projects are aimed at improving the abiotic stress tolerance of rice and wheat in Africa and Southeast Asia and incorporated capacity building. The position at the Horticulture Innovation Lab seemed ideal in that I have strengths that could be beneficial for the program, but it also provided a lot of challenges for me to improve my weaknesses and learn. I am thankful it worked out! Very happy to join the team.

Can you tell us more about the projects and crops you were working with at Arcadia Biosciences?

In Bangladesh we were working with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) to evaluate transgenic salt tolerant rice for research and incorporated a capacity building component, Continue reading Meet Archie Jarman: Q&A with Horticulture Innovation Lab’s new program officer

Welcome to Erin McGuire, new associate director

The Horticulture Innovation Lab has selected Erin McGuire to serve as the program’s new associate director.

Erin McGuire
Erin McGuire, associate director for the Horticulture Innovation Lab

McGuire is an alumna of UC Davis, where she earned a master’s degree in international agricultural development and worked on a number of projects for the Horticulture Innovation Lab as a student and a staff analyst.

She has a lifelong interest in farming and nutrition policy, and her father owns a small farm. McGuire was most recently the policy director for the National Farm to School Network based in Washington, D.C., and previously served as the director of outreach for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).

“Farmers can play an important role in improving nutrition for their communities — and increasing economic activity as well, especially in rural areas,” she said. “I’ve always loved being in the field and working with farmers directly, being able to bring their views into policy decisions and helping raise their voices for the greatest impact.”

While at UC Davis, her work focused on Continue reading Welcome to Erin McGuire, new associate director

Meet Angelos Deltsidis, international postharvest specialist

Editor’s note: In 2015, Angelos Deltsidis joined the Horticulture Innovation Lab team at UC Davis as our new international postharvest specialist. Now that he has had six months to begin working on projects, we thought it might be nice to officially introduce him to you and give you an idea of what his role will be at the Horticulture Innovation Lab. 

Question: Tell us about your background and how you ended up at the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

portrait, Angelos Deltsidis
Angelos Deltsidis, international postharvest specialist with the Horticulture Innovation Lab

Angelos Deltsidis: I studied horticulture in Greece at the University of Thessaly as an undergraduate. I’m from an agricultural region in northeastern Greece called Thrace, but my family is not directly related to farming per se. My grandparents had a family farm, but we would just visit for fun and grow some potatoes or tomatoes for us to eat.

In my second year of undergraduate studies, I was an exchange student at the University of Florida and worked with Dr. Jeff Brecht.

Fun fact: Dr. Brecht and my advisor at Thessaly, George Nanos, were both students of Adel Kader at UC Davis. They weren’t here at the same time as each other, but they kind of knew each other just because they were both students of Kader.

In 2009, I moved to Florida and began working toward a doctoral degree in horticulture. I also started taking classes for Continue reading Meet Angelos Deltsidis, international postharvest specialist

Mitcham honored as ASHS Outstanding International Horticulturist

Elizabeth Mitcham, UC Davis scientist, was honored by the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) as its Outstanding International Horticulturist for 2015.

She accepted the award Aug. 4 at the ASHS annual conference in New Orleans. The award recognizes distinguished contributions to horticultural sciences for 10 years or more, with emphasis on international activities and impacts.

portrait: Elizabeth Mitcham
Beth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and Postharvest Technology Center at UC Davis (high-res)

At UC Davis, Mitcham is director of both the Horticulture Innovation Lab and Postharvest Technology Center programs. As director of the internationally recognized Postharvest Technology Center, she has helped train professionals from more than 40 countries in how best to care for fruits and vegetables after harvest, to reduce food waste and improve food quality. She has hosted numerous foreign scientists and students in her lab at the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, where her research focuses on the regulation of fruit ripening, understanding calcium deficiency disorders, and maintaining fruit quality after harvest.

Mitcham also leads the Horticulture Innovation Lab, which targets fruit and vegetable research in developing countries to reduce poverty and improve nutrition. Her leadership helps build international partnerships between scientists and develop technologies that meet the horticultural needs of smallholder farmers. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

“I’ve really become passionate about what horticulture can bring to reducing poverty and improving lives,” she said. “Meeting people who are now able to send their children to school or buy books—those one-on-one interactions are what really stick with me. It is so rewarding to be able to work in this field.” Continue reading Mitcham honored as ASHS Outstanding International Horticulturist

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