From plant science to food production

As a horticulture student and a nature enthusiast, I am very excited for an opportunity to learn about and work with organic agriculture. The idea of producing something useful like food out of nothing but air, water, and dirt seems like some type of alchemy to me. Most of my horticulture classes focus their attention inward to the nitty gritty details of the chemical and physical processes of plants, so it’s a welcome change to take a look at a larger system that incorporates plants, people, and the natural world into such a productive system.
I’ve only just begun to read the text, but I can already tell that it is going to be immensely useful and informative to me. As I said earlier I know a good bit about plants, but I don’t know much about the business behind organic food production. Market Farming Success seems like exactly the type of book that I should read, as it seems like a very practical guide to managing a small farming operation. In the first chapter alone the text presented loads of information about how the size of a farm affects the type of practices used to operate it, such as when mechanization becomes needed, when you might have to hire outside help, what types of crops to grow, and how much income one might expect to reap from the business.
Before beginning this class, I didn’t know how many opportunities for research were available for students like me. Every time I had looked into undergraduate research I had been told that the only process was to be assigned to a graduate student or faculty member and pretty much do what they tell you to. Though that would be a wonderful opportunity to learn about the processes behind how universities conduct research, it just didn’t seem like something I would really enjoy. Learning that I could make my own research project and get a UROP grant is absolutely great.
These first couple of weeks have been very informative, and I can’t wait to see what I’m going to learn as the spring comes and the growing season begins.
Matt Ronald

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