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Agriculture

Fall 2009

Master Gardeners

"Cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973" is how the Master Gardeners explain themselves. The concept has worked well. Washington, where it all started, now has over 3,000 volunteer Master Gardeners, who in exchange for training in turn give their knowledge and expertise to others in their communities. These communities have now spread across the United States and Canada. » More ...
Fall 2007

Trees return to Ireland

Once upon a time, Ireland was mostly forest. In prehistoric and early historic times, trees covered an estimated 90-95 percent of the landscape. But English invasions, rebellions, and industrial demands moved the landscape toward its modern austere treelessness.

A hundred years ago, barely 1 percent of Ireland was forested. Now forest has reclaimed 10 percent of the landscape, and the Irish government would like to raise that coverage to 17 percent. Toward that goal, it has mounted a reforestation campaign, backed by a program of grants to landowners to plant trees. Trouble is, the Irish haven’t been used to seeing forest as part of their … » More …

Summer 2009

Spring is the season for chèvre

After a winter’s break, the goats at Rhonda Gothberg’s farm have kidded and their milk is rich and sweet. The soft French-style cheese she makes is delicious with just a nuance of that goat tang. Maybe it’s because the animals have added tender green grass to their diet, maybe it’s because it has been a long winter without fresh goat cheese, but “June chèvre is my favorite,” says Gothberg.

With a few acres in Skagit Valley, Gothberg is raising 29 milk goats for her farmstead cheese business. Early each the morning, just as the sun illuminates the shape of Chuckanut Mountain in the near distance … » More …

Summer 2009

1200 Weeds—of the 48 States & Adjacent Canada

 

Richard Old ’77, ’81
XID Services, Inc., 2008

When you don’t know what you’re dealing with, weedy plants may be hard to handle. Richard Old, a longtime Pullman resident and weed identification expert, has put together this comprehensive database of weeds for both public and private use.

The DVD, a sequel to Old’s CD 1,000 Weeds, contains more than 6,000 images of weeds found throughout North America. With details like the color of the plant juice, height, flower traits, … » More …

Summer 2009

Plowed Under: Agriculture and Environment in the Palouse

Andrew P. Duffin PhD ’02
University of Washington Press, 2007

This is an important and disturbing book, both for the environmental degradation it documents and the message of what little progress our agricultural practices on the Palouse have made.

In a sense, the precursor of Plowed Under was a series of lectures by William Spillman in 1924. Spillman, a versatile and prescient scientist, was one of Washington State Agricultural College’s first faculty members, hired by … » More …

Spring 2009

Hunger for justice

On November 5, an overflow crowd in the CUB Senior Ballroom heard some hard truths about the global food crisis. Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of several organizations that promote agricultural diversification in India, described how corporate/government practices that are billed as beneficial to farmers, such as patenting seed and outlawing local varieties of crops, have driven rural people off the land and caused massive food shortages in more than 40 countries.

Shiva laid out her case in warm, often humorous, tones that didn’t entirely mask her anger at what she has witnessed.

“If you want to get me really engaged,” she said, “tell me a … » More …

Spring 2009

The Love Letters

In 1907, Othello had no high school, so Xerpha Mae McCulloch '30 traveled 50 miles to Ritzville to finish school. There she met, and fell in love with, Edward Gaines, a few years her senior. The recent gift to Washington State University of her steamer trunk reveals the life of a woman whose story is not only threaded through the University's, but also through the story of agriculture in Washington State. » More ...
Winter 2008

A Season for seeds

STRANGE THINGS sprout in Skagit Valley’s fields: Monster plants with six-foot stalks covered with yellow flowers, delicate ferny-leaved things with round white heads holding hundreds of tiny blossoms, and unruly tangles of leaves, spears, and spikes.

John Roozen ’74, whose family’s name is synonymous with Skagit Valley tulips, keeps careful watch on these fields. He swings his pickup over to the side of the road and dives into a field, a curly, hairy mess of green. He plucks off the tip of a plant and hands it over. See that, he says, pointing at the dozens of small green nuggets clustered along the stem, those … » More …

Winter 2008

Ferdinand’s turns 60

 

This brief item appeared on the front page of the Daily Evergreen on Monday, October 11, 1948:

Dairy Dept. to Open Counter in Troy Hall

The department of dairy husbandry will start operating a dairy counter serving ice cream, plain and chocolate milk on the first floor of Troy hall near the north entrance.

Assistant professor L. J. Manus will be in charge, assisted by dairy manufacturing students. All products served will be made in the department, and prices will be comparable to those charged downtown.

Later on, when obsolete equipment has been replaced, milkshakes, cheese and … » More …

Winter 2008

L’Américain en Provence

A story about an expatriate—and about his wine. Provence is a world away from Bellevue, where Denis Gayte '97 grew up. And French winemaking is another world away from the public relations career he abandoned. So there he was, with his French heritage and a newly minted "young French winemaker" degree—but still referred to (and always affectionately) as l'Américain. » More ...