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Title: A transdisciplinary approach to developing an eastern broccoli industry

item BJORKMAN, T - Cornell University
item DAVIS, J - North Carolina State University
item Farnham, Mark
item GOMEZ, G - Cornell University
item GRIFFITHS, P - Cornell University
item HUTTON, M - University Of Maine
item KOPSELL, D - University Of Tennessee
item MYERS, J - Oregon State University
item SAMS, C - University Of Tennessee
item SMITH, J - Bejo Seeds

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2012
Publication Date: 10/15/2012
Citation: Bjorkman, T., Davis, J.M., Farnham, M.W., Gomez, G., Griffiths, P.D., Hutton, M., Kopsell, D.A., Myers, J.R., Sams, C.E., Smith, J. 2012. A transdisciplinary approach to developing an eastern broccoli industry. HortScience. 47(9):S408-S409.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Current economic, social and scientific situations have made it attractive to establish a substantial and profitable broccoli industry in the eastern US, where several obstacles have prevented that from happening previously. Because many barriers must be overcome simultaneously, we assembled a transdisiplinary team of public and private sector participants in to ensure a well-coordinated effort. The project began with SCRI funding in the summer of 2010. The scientific breakthrough that made the effort possible was the development of broccoli breeding lines that continue to make uniform buds despite temperatures that normally arrest that process. The first component of the project is to move that trait into varieties sold by seed companies. In concert with Bejo Seed USA, Seminis Vegetable Seed, Syngenta Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds, new crosses are being made to achieve this goal. Second, regional trials have been established across the east coast to assess wide and specific adaptation of new materials, discover genetic and environmental bases for improved nutritional quality, guide further breeding efforts, and select the best materials for release. Third, the seed companies will identify new varieties for release and develop procedures for seed production and marketing. Fourth, we are building and strengthening grower networks that can market sufficient product for year-round supply regionally, using cost-of-production benchmarking for profitability, the most competitive production and post-harvest practices, and GAPs compliance for food-safety. Finally, we are working with distributors and retailers to build acceptance of the new product source. The integration involves feedback to the breeders from the regional trials and from eastern buyers’ and consumers’ acceptance of any variation from the western norms; to extension on crop budgets and optimal post-harvest technologies; and to distributors and extension on optimal regional distribution channels. The whole project is designed so that each commercial participant sees improved profit, has access to raw materials and has a strong market for their product. That must be true for each step in the chain from the seed companies to the growers, distributors and retailers. Society will benefit from reduced fuel use for transportation, a stronger rural economy in distressed areas, and a stronger regional food system.