Sonia Schloemann, fruit specialist, UMass Extension, recently gave an informative talk to the Garden Club of Amherst about growing berries.
News from the Media
Dairy farmers spoke up at public hearing in Springfield about proposed nutrient management regulations, mentioned the statutory connection to UMass Extension Best Management Practices.
As the demand for locally produced food continues to grow, a proposal gaining traction in the Legislature would provide $20 million to help rejuvenate the University of Massachusetts agriculture extension site in Waltham, which has lacked funding for decades. State legislators are in the beginning stages of considering a $1.7 billion environmental bond bill that includes earmarking funds to revitalize the UMass site, which spans 58 acres over two plots along Beaver Street. The project is dubbed the UMass Center for Urban Sustainability.
Eric Decker, UMass Amherst food scientist, comments in a story about why consumers are buying fewer Lean Cuisine frozen dinners. He says people believe the dinners have little nutritional value and they are often put off by a “long and scary” list of ingredients, such as calcium propionate, sodium tripolyphosphate and sorbic acid.
A feature story seed libraries, including one at Hampshire College, includes a mention of Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Extension, who says she planted some kale too close to collard greens and the plants cross pollinated, creating a bitter tasting plant.
John Clark, UMass Amherst veterinary and animal sciences, comments in a story about how head lice are developing a resistance to the over-the-counter chemicals used to kill them. He says recent tests show that almost all head lice are now genetically resistant to the medicine.
Eric Decker, UMass Amherst food scientist, says most foods contain some genetically modified organisms and the only way to completely avoid them is to purchase certified organic foods. He says much livestock food also contains the GMOs. Decker says the risk from eating foods with GMOs is very small and he believes they are going to continue to be part of the food system.
Joseph Elkinton, UMass Amherst environmental conservation, says the recent sub-zero cold may be annoying to humans, but it is also helping to battle the wooly adelgid, a insect that kills hemlock trees. He says when temperatures drop to 15 degrees below zero at night that is cold enough to kill most of the insects.
Flowers are common gathering places where pollinators such as bees and butterflies can pick up fungal, bacterial or viral infections that might be as benign as the sniffles or as debilitating as influenza. But “almost nothing is known regarding how pathogens of pollinators are transmitted at flowers,” postdoctoral researcher Scott McArt and Professor Lynn Adler at UMass Amherst microbiology, write. “As major hubs of plant-animal interactions throughout the world, flowers are ideal venues for the transmission of microbes among plants and animals.” In a recent review in Ecology Letters with colleagues at Yale and the University of Texas at Austin, McArt and Adler survey the literature and identify promising areas for future research on how floral traits influence pathogen transmission.
Thomas Waskiewicz, a 4-H extension educator, says Dennis J. Hukowicz, the police chief in Hadley who died last weekend, was a fellow farmer and had the best interest of the town in mind as he ran the police department. He says Hukowicz was also a strong supporter of 4-H.