Shawnee News-Star Weekender Nov 24th 2018 Becky Emerson Carlberg Over ten years ago, June 25th 2008, the Asian Horticulture Conference was held at the OSU Botanical Garden. The first presentation 'Japanese Garden Construction and Landscape' by Professor Paul Hsu drew my attention as I had become involved with the Shawnee Japanese Peace Garden. My day […]
Shawnee News-Star Weekender Nov 24th 2018
Becky Emerson Carlberg
Over ten years ago, June 25th 2008, the Asian Horticulture Conference was held at the OSU Botanical Garden. The first presentation 'Japanese Garden Construction and Landscape' by Professor Paul Hsu drew my attention as I had become involved with the Shawnee Japanese Peace Garden. My day was spent learning about plants of Japan, challenges in Turkmenistan, Agriculture in Afghanistan, India, Iran, China and other topics. Dr. Barbara Brown, Extension Food Specialist, presented Asian produce for the Oklahoma table.
Four years later, November 7th, 2012, the first Global Horticulture Conference took place at the Wes Watkins Center in OSU. This made sense since the purpose of the Wes Watkins Center is for International Trade and Development. Mike Schnelle, Extension Specialist, coordinated and emceed the day's events. We learned about Egypt, Argentina, Libya, Afghan and Iraqi farmers, the Democratic Republic of Congo, veggies and flowers across the continents. Lunch was foods of Ethiopia and Kenya. Teff wrappers (teff is an ancient Ethiopian gluten-free grain) held spicy beef, lentils and rice with steamed cabbage and pea-meat-potato stew as sides.
Barbara Brown prepared Potato Gnocchi, a potato dish enjoyed in Italy. Barbara has gained first-hand knowledge about food prep in other countries through her role as visiting extension educator. This time she explored Italy and Italian food. Senator Wes Watkins gave a brief talk about International Associations. Senator Ed Long expressed concerned about safety and health issues in developing countries. Door prizes would have filled a few shelves in an Asian grocery store.
Global Horticulture was held again November 6th, 2014 at Wes Watkins Center. Linda Workman and I were dropped off by my husband who continued to the Nature Conservancy's Annual Bison Roundup at the Tallgrass Prairie north of Pawhuska. I might add he got quite lost using his GPS when he lost the signal out there in no-signal land.
Dr. Bill Raun, Regents Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, gave the first talk about the 'OSU Hand Planter', a devise he and his team invented. It allowed one person to hold the pipe and punch chemically treated seeds into the soil without touching the seeds. The singulation design throws one seed into the soil each time. The focus was increase maize (corn) production worldwide. Bill and his team had an outdoor demonstration in the afternoon which gave people a feel for how to use the hand planter. Following the hand planter was an update about the Dem. Rep. of the Congo and progress in agricultural approaches in Uganda, Iran and China. Wes Watkins offered thoughts and comments. Hope through Safe Water was the focus of Senator Ed Long.
Lunch was Persian buffet of tomato and cucumber salad, couscous, stuffed grape leaves, hummus with black olives, lentil soup with mushrooms, pita bread, saffron rice dishes eggplant and marinated chicken. Desserts were baklava, jackfruit pudding with almonds and macaroons.
Edibles and fruits Rhambutan, Soursop, Mangosteen, Longan and Durian from across the continents were present for us to not only discover but taste. Words can't describe Durian. The intact fruit has a strong citrusy scent that precedes the overpowering, lingering stench of death. The brown outside husk is covered in thorns. If you can get past the smell and thorns to take a taste, the Durian is actually very tasty. It is similar to sweet custard with a hint of melon. So many different teas to sample such as Loquat, Guava, Hawthorn, Noni and Ginkgo.
Barbara Brown, Oklahoma Gardening chef, talked about the potato and concocted Ensaladilla Rusa, a Spanish potato dish. I have food memory.
Jim Stewart, Water4 Foundation of OKC, elaborated on his brother's invention of a water pump that could be operated by a 5 year old, had no O rings, employed simple technology, could draw up water from 100 feet deep or less and cost under $50. He mentioned for several months his brother lived in the PVC aisle in Home Depot! His brother succeeded in designing and building the pump. Pumps were then taken into Africa to help villages attain fresh clean water.
November 17th 2016, Wes Watkins Center, was the next Global Horticulture Conference. Apparently, I did not turn in my evaluation as it was still tucked in my yellow folder. Really, the conference was very interesting! Our group was introduced to the importance of a comprehensive campus approach to globalism. Mike Schnelle gave a global view of the role of women in agriculture. Cultural barriers and lack of equality affect the lives of women who produce over 80% of the world's food supply yet own one percent of the land. This sobering presentation was followed by Mission Guatemala, global implications of the OSU GreenSeeder Hand Planter, Cannas and their viruses, water for the impoverished, World Neighbors, agriculture in China, the Dominican Republic, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda and an overview of OSU's Masters of International Agriculture Program.
Barbara Brown was back to make Gallo Pinto, the national dish in Nicaragua. This combination of cooked red beans with garlic is teamed with long-grain rice prepared and eaten that day. It returns the next day gently fried in coconut oil and served as Gallo Pinto. Native Nicaraguans like their leftover beans and rice with a crispy bottom.
The 4th Global Horticulture Conference took place November 8th, 2018 in its usual place on a cold, wet day. Linda Smith and I took a few turns around the parking areas and one stop at Wes Watkins Center to retrieve the parking permit before the proper parking lot was located. She parked her car in approved Lot 10 and the permit put on the dashboard. We were not alone. Another attendee had also been going in circles. The usual place to park was conveniently behind the center. This year it was off-limits and we were directed to park at Boone Pickens Stadium. At least there wasn't a game that day.
Our late arrival caused us to miss the welcome and opening remarks of Mike Schnelle, endowed professor of floriculture at OK State U. Nevertheless, we discovered in the back of the auditorium two stations with familiar and unknown foods and drinks. After tucking into fresh tropical fruits, bacon cookies, pastries, tea and fruit juices we walked down the steps carefully carrying our tidbits and sat on the front row. Some presenters had cancelled, but the schedule had been rearranged and it would be an interesting day. More next week.