Increasing productivity of vegetable production by improving soil nutrition and pest management

Worksite Location
CCE Nassau Dorthy P. Flint 4-H Camp, Long Island Horticulture Research and Extension Center
Project Dates
June 1 – Aug 18, 2018
Faculty Sponsor
Dr. Anu Rangarajan and Dr. Mark Bridgen
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Dr. Anu Rangarajan and Dr. Mark Bridgen
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Greg Sandor, CCE Suffolk, Lisa Goldberg, DPF Camp
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The intern will gain hands-on education about all aspects of growing vegetables on a farm by professionals at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC). Soil management, plant nutrition, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the control of insects and pathogens will be part of this training.  The intern will use this training and new knowledge and apply it at the CCE-NC Farm across the street.  The living laboratory at the Dorothy P. Flint 4H Camp is an educational facility that is used  to supply fresh, nutritious food to the campers.  In addition, the intern will assist in the vegetable production at the Camp and work on a “Farm to Table” program which markets fresh produce at the CCE-NC’s urban East Meadow Farm. The intern will be able to use the education that is acquired on a practical level by interacting with consumers at the Farm.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern will work on a daily basis under the supervision of Lisa Goldberg and Jessica Herwick at the 4H Camp, and Dr. Mark Bridgen at the LIHREC.  The intern will learn about soil management and nutrition, participate in research with organic pest management, and assist with vegetable harvest techniques. The preparation and post-harvest management of vegetables will be included in this training, as will be participation in the “farm to table” program. The intern will learn about the cost of farming and pricing to produce vegetables and make recommendations for competitive market pricing.  A detailed plan will be developed for the following year’s vegetable crops based on what is being learned.  The intern will have an opportunity to travel to various vegetable farms, greenhouses and nursery operations on Long Island to observe New York’s green industry.  The intern will also have the experience of working on PowerPoint presentations, managing extension events, collecting data, inputting data into a computer, and collaborating with senior citizen volunteers.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The student should be at least a sophomore in one of the CALS agriculture-related curriculum.  Some practical work experience with plants will be helpful.  The student needs to be willing and able to work outside in hot, summer weather, and able to carry heavy loads (at least 50#). The student should not be worried about conducting field work and should be self-motivated.

Benefits and Skills

The learning outcomes for this internship are to become competent with all aspects of vegetable production from greenhouse to field including soil testing, soil management techniques, organic pest management, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and post-harvest techniques. The intern will also learn about plant propagation and production techniques for various vegetable species, preparing vegetables for market, and how to calculate production cost of vegetables and compare market prices. There will be learning outcomes from conducting field research and understanding basic statistical design.  Another learning outcome is to be able to communicate and interact with stakeholders, volunteers, and senior citizens.