On my first day ever at Cornell, my family and I got a bit lost. It was the day before move-in, and we were exploring campus for ourselves, far off the beaten path toward the easternmost part of campus where the teaching barns are. A Minnesotan family of animal lovers, we had seen farms on the campus map and were determined to investigate them ourselves. Finally, after a long walk in the rain, we stumbled upon a collection of several different barns, sheds and greenhouses.
The 37th Annual Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival will be taking place from Sept. 27 to 29. Well-attended each year and beloved by Ithaca residents, the Apple Fest is a fall hit thanks to pomology — the science of fruit production.
The trail features 19 stops, marked by posts with QR codes that lead to a descriptive webpage about the individual project and how it contributes to Cornell’s sustainability goals, Prof. Nina Bassuk explained.
While many Cornell students were off enjoying summer vacation away from Ithaca, Ben Engbers ’20 remained on campus to defend and improve the vitality of New York’s berry industry. As a research assistant and project manager at Elson Shields Laboratory of Entomology, Engbers has dedicated the majority of his undergraduate career to demonstrating the efficacy of nematodes as a sustainable biocontrol for berry farms.
“Nematodes are a native, sustainable, and organic solution to a food security problem that is affecting New York state and the world,” Engbers said. While Shields laboratory has studied the behavior and application of nematodes as pest control for over two decades, this summer, Engbers facilitated a specific project concerning the control of black vine weevil at Rulfs Orchard located five hours away in Peru, NY. “My work this summer resulted in promising data that I am excited to see published and ultimately applied in the real world,” he said. Black vine weevil is a formidable obstacle to crop growers worldwide and has been a significant detriment to the berry industry.
Row 7 Seed Company now features a tiny squash with an intense natural sweetness, a beet without the usual earthiness, a habanero pepper without the heat, a golf-ball sized creamy and nutty potato and more.