A boatload of ideas for fungi
Fungi and mycelium provide a flexible, earth-friendly material for all kinds of products.
Washington State University student Katy Ayers built a world record-setting canoe out of mycelium, her MyConoe. That’s just the beginning of her ideas about materials made from fungus. Larry Clark, editor of Washington State Magazine, talked with Ayers about products made from fungi and mycelium, along with potential fungi items such as fishing bobbers and hunting blinds.
Listen to the podcast:
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Read more in “It’s fungi to the rescue” (Winter 2022)
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Talkin’ around the Christmas tree
The Pacific Northwest—particularly western Washington and Oregon—has historically been a major Christmas tree production region. Today, it produces about a third of the Christmas trees sold each year in America.
In general, there are two types of growers: large-scale farms producing trees for the wholesale market and smaller, often family-run operations for the choose-and-cut market.
Christmas trees around the United States:
The top Christmas tree-producing states are: Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington.
The average growing time is seven years, but it can take as few as four and as many as 15 to reach the typical height of 6 … » More …
Fair man: Meet Greg Stewart
A friend sent him the quote “probably five years ago,” and it really resonated.
It summed up his feelings for agricultural fairs, declaring they “bring us together, and thereby make us better acquainted, and better friends than we otherwise would be. … the chief use of agricultural fairs is to aid in improving the great calling of agriculture … to make mutual exchange of agricultural discovery, information and knowledge; so that, at the end, all may know everything which may have been known to but one…”
It’s an excerpt from a longer text, and if you talk with Greg Stewart (‘71 Ag.) long enough—and he … » More …
Why make plastic from petroleum and fossil fuels when they can be made from plants and bio-based materials?
Plastic waste remains a huge problem, one that WSU researchers are working on, but other research across the country looks at alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics.
WSU collaborates with Iowa State University on the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) on developing high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks. The WSU Composite Materials and Engineering Center provides expertise in renewable resources to develop those novel bio-based polymers, chemicals, and composites.
The work at WSU has been underway for a … » More …
Cosmic Crisp, WA 2, and what’s next
Cosmic Crisp® isn’t the first Washington State University apple to go to market. That distinction goes to WA 2, or Sunrise Magic®.
Like Cosmic Crisp, Sunrise Magic was bred at WSU for Washington growers. But it wasn’t launched with the same hype. And it still isn’t as well-known as its successor. Proprietary Variety Management, which is handling the commercialization of both Cosmic Crisp and Sunrise Magic, is working to change that—just as WSU’s pome fruit breeding program continues working on creating new varieties.
WSU, small farms, and the pandemic
“This pandemic has exposed every weakness in our food system,” says Nicole Witham, statewide coordinator of the Washington State University Food Systems Program. “It has exposed every supply chain issue”—especially early on.
“Food wasn’t showing up at food banks,” says Witham (’10 Int. Des). “Grocery stores were experiencing shortages. All of a sudden, our team was doing food-system response work,” including involvement with a statewide task force.
When lockdown orders first went into effect, Witham says, Washington state’s small farmers “lost all of their restaurant accounts and many of their wholesale accounts right off the bat. Many had to switch to online farmers market platforms or online sales.”
While traditional … » More …
More faces of small farms
Meet more of Washington state’s small farmers here — from the godmother of the modern small farms movement to the owner and operator of a 100-percent grass-fed dairy and more.
Introducing: Lora Lea Misterly (Quillisascut Farm), Jill Smith (Pure Éire Dairy), Martin and Charlotte Frederickson (One Straw Ranch), and Jason and Margaret Parsley (Omache Farm)
Read about small farmers and WSU support.
Lora Lea Misterly
Quillisascut Farm, Rice
Lora Lea Misterly was a 4-H kid. Growing up on a small farm near Leavenworth, she raised dairy calves and livestock … » More …