By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma State University will hold its first Global Horticulture Conference on Thursday, November 17, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Wes Watkins Center, on the OSU campus in Stillwater.
The conference is designed to allow participants to gain a better understanding and appreciation of horticulture and related disciplines throughout the world, said Mike Schnelle, OSU Cooperative Extension floriculture specialist.
“Horticulture from other countries around the world is so fascinating, and this conference is one way people can have an opportunity to learn more about it,” Schnelle said. “We’ve got many university and industry specialists who will be on hand to share their knowledge, expertise and research-based information on global horticulture.”
Registration, including lunch, costs $80 and must be postmarked by Tuesday, November. 8. The Botanic Garden at OSU members, county Extension educators, Master Gardeners and students may register for $60. No walk-in or late registrations will be accepted.
According to the OSU website, an emphasis will be placed on edible and/or ornamental crops, however related agricultural topics may also be reviewed. Anyone who enjoys horticulture and/or travel would benefit from this event, the site states.
Schnelle said the conference will feature horticultural information from China, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mali, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and more.
“We’ve got a lot of topics on the agenda, including what preparations are being done now in order to be able to feed a population of 9.1 billion by the year 2050. We’ll also talk about sustainable and regenerative agriculture, aesthetics and culture of Chinese landscapes, water, the role of women in horticulture, the Watoto Tribe and the global implications of OSU’s Greenseeder Hand Planter,” he said.
Kate Schecter, president and CEO of World Neighbors in Oklahoma City, will serve as the keynote speaker.
World Neighbors is an international development organization striving to eliminate hunger, poverty and disease in the poorest, most isolated rural villages in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“We’re reaching out to the ends of the earth, to people who nobody ever reaches, and helping them develop, manage and sustain their own programs that solve problems and change lives,” said Schecter.
In 24 villages in Kenya, for example, World Neighbors is teaching farmers about fish, livestock, vegetables and roses so they can be more than subsistence farmers.
“We’re investing in them, through agricultural innovations, health and finance, and they’re investing in themselves,” Schecter said.
“Farmers borrow relatively small sums of money to purchase additional fishponds, greenhouses and irrigation systems. This leads to more income and more investment — the classic development cycle,” she stated on CNBC Africa and in an article for “World Policy.”
In addition to horticulture, Barbara Brown, OSU Cooperative Extension food specialist, will be on hand to talk about Nicaraguan cuisine.
“The goal was to help women in Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua, with the development of alternative jam and jelly products that could be sold to improve family income,” Brown said. “The work was part of the Fruit Preserving Farmer-to-Farmer Program implemented by Partners of the Americans and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.”
Specialists also will provide information about various fruits and vegetables from around the world.
“This conference is chocked full of information and participants will go home with a wealth of knowledge regarding global horticulture,” Schnelle said.
Online registration is available here. Select “Horticulture Landscape”, then, click “Conference Registration”. Next, click “2016 Global Horticulture.”