Full Extension State Specialist/Professor, Cooperative Extension, COLSA ~ France
I attended the International Symposium on Advanced Technologies and Management for Innovative Greenhouses in Angers, France in June 2019. This symposium is held every two years by the International Society for Horticultural Science. It featured presentations by international experts on controlled environment agriculture, covering topics from environmental impact of greenhouse production to greenhouse systems and design, climate control and modelling, plant protection, covering and lighting technologies, sensors, and various crop production methods. The symposium included three days of scientific presentations followed by a technical tour that visited a greenhouse producer and a greenhouse manufacturer.
I presented two papers at the Symposium, discussing research results relating to low-technology greenhouse production and season extension techniques. This included a poster entitled “Influence of photoselective film and mulch color on air and soil temperatures in a low tunnel strawberry production system”, and a talk entitled “Optimizing potassium application in organically-grown high tunnel tomato in the northeastern United States”.
The northeastern U.S. is unique in its use of in-ground growing systems in greenhouses. The pioneers in developing and researching modern in-ground greenhouse crop production are located in Europe. I was able to meet and connect with several researchers. In particular, I found good synergies and common interests with research groups based in Italy, Sweden and Quebec. I was also able to really build my knowledge in some additional areas relating to controlled environment agriculture. Some of the latest technologies that I explored are unlikely to be directly relevant to my work, but useful in my undergraduate classes (e.g., the latest techniques in robotics and the use of computational fluid dynamics to model crop growth and environmental variables). But several others may have application here and they offer potential areas for future exploration (irrigation based on incident solar radiation in the context of a low-tech high tunnel, a new nutrient management strategy now used in Spain and Italy).
One of my main objectives was to broaden the international reach of my research program by setting the stage for future concerted research efforts and information exchange. One such connection that I made was with partners of the GreenResilient project, whose mission is to demonstrate that agroecological approach to greenhouse production is possible, and to implement more sustainable and resilient greenhouse production systems. I am excited to follow up and build upon this connection, hopefully building a more meaningful long-term collaboration.