A Bittersweet Testimonial from Mrs. Mary Densmore
"I have been working with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension for about the last 10 years. Miranda Duschack, Regional Small Farm Specialist, has been a huge support to me as a grower and has helped our business grow and succeed; it's really hard to count the ways.
Initially, she supported me in my own education about food safety issues and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship and travel to the Great Plains Growers Conference. In those early years as a grower, I had more time and space to try new things, experiment and figure out both what worked and my interests. Miranda supported these endeavors by lending a chicken tractor, and an extractor during the first years of harvesting honey.
I eventually came to focus more on microgreens and in 2015, when I was looking to grow my microgreen business, I called Miranda to tell her I was looking to buy a new larger greenhouse. Within days, she was able to connect me to someone trying to get rid of one. Thereafter, Miranda was with me throughout the process of my success.
This year, 2020, has been a challenging one, especially as a business owner. In the early days of the pandemic, Miranda checked in with me and encouraged me to start selling online and gave me the opportunity to sell at the Urban Buds online store. With so many restaurants being shut down, we were able to pick up new business by selling directly to customers.
This past August, when my husband tested positive for COVID, she was one of the first calls I made for help. I knew that she would have the information I needed regarding the steps we needed to take. We were thankful that she was able to confirm with food safety experts that we didn't need to recall any products.
Recently, Miranda told me about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Specialty Crop Producers. I was unaware of this opportunity, and she walked me through the steps of how to apply to the Farm Service Agency. Once I applied and received a farm number, I received a payment of 10% of my eligible gross sales for 2019. The process was simple, but I wouldn’t have applied without her encouragement. This money will help us get through the winter when farmers’ markets are closed, and when our restaurant customers are not purchasing due to indoor dining restrictions and the public’s decision stay out of restaurants.
Looking to the future, I'm grateful for my continued relationship with Lincoln University. Every day I consider myself blessed to get to do this work and it’s people like her that make it possible!"
Mary Densmore of “Bee Simple City Farm”
Saint Louis, Missouri
A Familiar “Radio Friend” with Paul Pepper
Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall made a recent appearance on the Radio Friends with Paul Pepper radio talk show, highlighting her work with native plants and specialty crops at Lincoln University. In this interview, she discussed two of her specialty crops—persimmons and paw paws.
Back at the LU campus finca, Dr. Navarrete-Tindall tended to her three fruit-producing cultivars (Turkish Gold Figs, Italian Figs and Chicago Hardy Figs). She has noted that the “Chicago Hardy” were more productive and more tolerant to Missouri’s colder weather and the “Turkish Gold” produced much larger fruit.
Before frost set in, the green figs were harvested to evaluate palatability after processing. Figs cooked in a mild syrup are quite tasty on their own or can be used in baked goods. Also, fig leaves can be used to prepare recipes of Mediterranean origin. This means less waste and more potential use as a marketable product.
In the latter part of October, Dr. Navarrete-Tindall offered training to establish a native plant garden to restore land adjacent to a new trail in Columbia, Missouri. Participants enjoyed brunch sponsored by It’s Our Wild Nature group that included recipes prepared with native fruits.
The “Garlic and Relatives Workshop"
The “Garlic and Relatives Workshop” on October 23 sponsored by the Agriculture Economics and Marketing and Specialty Crops Program. It was offered on campus where participants learned to plant garlic in the Teaching Greenhouse. Garlic seeds or garlic cloves were provided to participants to establish in their own gardens. Participation was limited to a few people to allow for social distancing.
The team offered PowerPoint presentations and hands-on demonstrations on how to plant garlic in the LU Teaching Greenhouse.
Saving Our Feathered Friends – All Year Round
Graduate Student Worker, Jeromia Riley rescued a little warbler that had run into one of the windows of the LU Teaching Greenhouse. It had been fooled by the reflection of the sky on the glass panels. Jeromia gently held the little bird until it recovered from the shock.
This is a familiar scenario from which many birds die every year. To avoid these frequent incidences, Dr. Nadia suggests hanging a wreath or another ornament on the glass. Placing a silhouette of a bird on the window may also help. The greenhouse is practicing similar solutions to avoid harm to our feathered friends. This little guy was fortunate to have someone administer care. It was able to recover and take flight again minutes later.
Lincoln University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Presents to BIOTEC Members in Monterrey, Mexico
Dr. Christopher R. Baughman, LU State Extension Specialist on Small Ruminants, delivered a Zoom presentation titled "COVID-19 and Large Animal Medicine" to 198 attendees at the Fifth edition of the BIOTEC Meeting (Encuentro BIOTEC), organized by the Association of Agronomist Engineers of Monterrey Technology (IATEM). The audience included members of the BIOTEC Student Society and Monterrey Technology, Laguna Campus.*
The goal of these meetings is to deepen the communications in the different areas of biotechnology, its advances, and applications. Dr. Homero Salinas-Gonzalez (LU State Extension Specialist on Small Ruminants) is credited for arranging this opportunity and providing images of the actual presentation hosted by Tecnológico de Monterrey* (Monterrey Institute of Technology) in Mexico.
*Campus Laguna is in the main livestock region of Mexico with an estimate of 1,000 students.
**Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey, is a secular and coeducational multi-campus private university based in Monterrey, Mexico.
Students: 91,200 (2019)
Campus: 26 across Mexico
Dr. Jonathan Egilla, Horticulture (Crop Physiology) Soilless & Hydroponic Crop Production Specialist is currently demonstrating to students and staff of St. Joseph Cathedral School in Jefferson City on how edible plants can be grown without the use of soil.
On October 20, Dr. delivered young lettuce plants to the school to be vertically grown using a portable hydroponic system. Everyone at the school is eager to see how the system works and how successful this project will be. There will be further reports closer to the harvest.
There’s Always More Room for Giving
The Halo Farm Expansion Project
Mr. Gerrard Cassese, owner of Halo Farm in Wyatt, Missouri, needed expert advice on his plans to expand his poultry business where he raises home grown chickens. He contacted Dr. Akotsen-Mensah who promptly scheduled a visit to Mr. Cassese’s farm.
Upon arrival on November 24, Dr. Akotsen-Mensah, Director of Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP), received a full tour of the farm by Mr. Cassese and his wife of the farm and made suggestions for the farm’s expansion. Part of the job of an ISFOP director is to find resources for such projects.
With the Casseses goal to double the number of chickens, the farm would require expanded housing and greater amounts of food. Chickens feed constantly in order to thrive daily. He does not plan to sell the eggs, instead he intends to ask for donations, and in turn, make donations to different organizations. Mr. Cassese has already investigated three organizations he would like to consider.
Halo Farm currently raises two breeds: Cornish Cross and Brown Chickens. Cornish Cross Chickens are a cross-breed between a Commercial Cornish Chicken and a White Rock Chicken. They were developed solely for the commercial meat chicken market. This breed of chicken egg has poor egg production. They grow rapidly and can reach 4.5 pounds by 6 weeks of age. The Cornish Cross Chicken grows so fast that their legs may give out from their weight, and it is not recommended that they are kept for breeding.
Brown Chickens originated from Italy, Denmark and England. The main use for this breed of chicken is egg production. They lay white eggs at an average of 280 per year and sometimes reach 300 to 320. Brown chickens only need around 125 grams of feed and are great for free-range chicken farming or organic free-range chicken eggs. This is due to their ability to avoid predators.
Dr. Akotsen-Mensah is currently working on plans to help meet the goals of this ambitious chicken farmer. He has made contact with LU State Specialist for Poultry, Dr. Tatijana Fisher who is also working to assist the Casseses at Halo Farm.
Balance Living with the New Norm of Covid-19
Staying Level During Times of Despair
The St. Louis Urban Impact Center in collaboration with Show Me Hope Missouri hosted a Zoom session. The session was titled, “Balance and Living with the New Norm of Covid-19.”
The fifteen participants were educated on the needs of dealing with the impacts on Covid-19.
The instructor explained best practices to use such as stress management, problem solving and building resilience now and for the future.
Recent Paper Publication
European Journal of Economics and Business Studies
Dr. Wollo is a Lincoln University Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science. He teaches courses in agribusiness and economics, primarily Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Policy, Agricultural Price Analysis, and Principles of Economics.
Dr. Bouras is a Lincoln University Associate Professor of Business Administration and Economics in the School of Business.