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UTTC Land Grant Programs aid American Horticulture Society
1 February 2006
By Wanda Agnew, UTTC-USDA Extension/Land Grant Programs Director

      USDA's National Program Leader for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Ann Marie Thro, contacted UTTC Land Grant Programs to partner in developing a USDA Program Enhancement Project. Wanda Agnew, UTTC Land Grant Program Director, served as the Project Investigator (PI) for the grant. The objective of the grant was to connect nutritionists and food scientists at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) - Tribal Colleges, Hispanic Serving Institution of Higher Learning and Traditional Black Universities - with horticultural researchers and plant breeders at 1862 State Land Grant Universities.

From left, Sheena Cain, Martina McKinney and Wanda Agnew.

      The grant supported nine panel participants from MSI's to attend the American Society for Horticultural Science in Las Vegas, July 2005. The meetings were sponsored by the working group on fruit and vegetable produce quality, safety, and health properties.

      UTTC had three representatives at the national meeting. Wanda facilitated the national panel. Martina McKinney shared information about the UTTC Extension Research projects relating to traditional plants and their uses and the ND 5+5 Community herb garden at UTTC. Nutrition and Foodservice student, Sheena Cain, also presented as a panel member. She shared why she has a strong interest in Native plants and their potential for improving health disparities among Native people. Sheena presented the same information as her research project at AIHEC in April 2005.

      Proposal funds supported development of a permanent plant display in the UTTC Skill Center Exhibit Hall.

      Many partnerships have developed because of the grant. Martina and Wanda, assisted by Dakota Goodhouse, developed a walking trail proposal which includes interpretive site plantings of edible Native plants. They were also invited to participate at the S.D. Governors Conference on Native Plants and Economic Development in October 2005.

      Further partnerships are expected with USDA-ARS involving internships for UTTC students as well as SDSU, including UTTC in learning exchange programs and plant tours.


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