Thriving vegetable plants, new experiments in progress, visitors exploring agricultural tools, and an upcoming gardening contest have been keeping the team behind the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center busy recently.
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.
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