2020-2023 SCBG-UKRF-Salad for All-Seasons: Building Capacity for Year-Round Leafy Green Production in Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

Salad for All-Seasons: Building Capacity for Year-Round Leafy Green Production in Kentucky Project Personnel: Krista Jacobsen (PI, Horticulture), Lilian Brislen (co-PI, The Food Connection) Project Abstract This project seeks to strengthen year-round production of leafy greens and other cool season specialty crops by addressing critical production and post-harvest quality questions. The proposed project is informed by our team’s preliminary work with local producers who have identified knowledge gaps, needed decision tools, and technical assistance needs to build capacity for year-round, wholesale leafy green production in Kentucky. Specifically, during Years 1 and 2 of the project, we will develop year- round crop growth models for a minimum of ten varieties of leafy greens and root vegetables. Models will be calibrated with data from field experiments at the University of Kentucky Horticulture, and validated with data from two participating farms. During Years 2 and 3, models will be developed into excel-based decision guides to inform farmer planting dates to target specific harvest dates based on recent and historical weather data in Kentucky. Models and decision tools will be novel for year-round systems, as they will incorporate both open field systems as well as weather data specific to the microclimates in season extension systems (high tunnels, frost fabrics, etc.). These efforts will also identify critical factors limiting year-round specialty crop production, including the relationship between temperature and light limitation and evaluate the costs and potential benefits of supplemental heat and/or light during critically limiting periods. In addition to addressing technical knowledge and production decision tool gaps, we will conduct a case study of farm-to-institution leafy green value chain focused on the UK Salad Bar Project. The case study, conducted in partnership with farmers, specialty crop distributors, and institutional procurement officers will identify additional critical challenges and opportunities for expanding this growth area in specialty crop production in Kentucky.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date12/1/209/29/23

Funding

  • KY Department of Agriculture: $44,738.00

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