Talking soil at Science Pub

Soil science may not be sexy, but if you want great organic produce, that’s where it all begins. Oregon’s bounty of fantastic fruits, vegetables, berries, wine and nuts emanate from those humble origins, and Oregon State University agricultural scientists break new ground daily in their quest to understand more deeply how plants and soil interact to provide good, nutritious food for us all, and to inform best practices in sustainable and organic farming.

Emily Ho, associate professor of Health and Human Science, at the last Science Pub Corvallis.

Emily Ho, associate professor of Health and Human Science, at the last Science Pub Corvallis.

But in this era of marketing buzzwords and hype, how can we ensure that the plants and produce we’re buying really are organic? What requirements must growers meet to earn the organic, sustainable or green labels? What should you, as a consumer, look for in judging what to buy, whether at a farmer’s market or at the local grocery store?

OSU Soil Science Instructor and Organic Growers Club advisor James Cassidy promises to “dish the dirt” on what’s essential for a healthy underground. And as an added bonus, he’ll talk about “Hoo Ha,” the Organic Growers Club’s food and music extravaganza – a wildly popular annual event!

Joining in the presentation will be Professor Anita Azarenko, head of the OSU Department of Horticulture, and a longtime advocate for sustainable and organic growing practices. She teaches and conducts research on integrated and organic tree fruit farming systems, especially orchard floor management systems, and is a small farmer who grows organic fruit and hazelnuts for local markets in the Willamette Valley.

Kathy Gunter, a researcher in OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research and an assistant professor in Health and Human Sciences, speaks at the April 13 Science Pub Corvallis. (photos: Theresa Hogue)

Kathy Gunter, a researcher in OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research and an assistant professor in Health and Human Sciences, speaks at the April 13 Science Pub Corvallis. (photos: Theresa Hogue)

Science Pub is intended to take science out of the laboratory and into the community with informal presentations in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. It is sponsored by OSU, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Downtown Corvallis Association.

“Science Pub Corvallis” takes place beginning at 6 p.m. May 11, at Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St. Information: www.omsi.edu/sciencepubcorvallis or 754-6624.

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