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Replay of episode 171: Rodale Institute | Plant Production Specialist | Maggie Saska
15th February 2018 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:53:10

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I thought I’d replay the replay since I talked to Paul Kita from Rodale’s and he mentions the Institute and I am always so excited because I have someone from the Rodale Institute. The plant production specialist. I got an email and asked if someone would come on and talk about the things that are available there.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I can give you the nutshell version.
 
I took the job here just over 2 years. My official title now is Plant production Specialist at the Rodale Institute.
 
I’ve had along career in horticulture and farming both for non-profits… …. work now in gardens, greenhouse, high tunnels and fields. I work with a mix of plant materials- vegetables, medicinals, ornamentals. I have BS in horticulture and MS in plant science and over 20 years of horticultural experience.
 
I worked at a University as a technician
Grad School at a university and worked at other places in greenhouses and high tunnels. Commercial work.
Rodale is a place and with they type of structure I never experienced before!
Because of size and reputation for organics.
Exciting to be here as Plant Production specialist.
what I do now is working in the gardens and greenhouses
helping out the ASC which is like a CSA program to grow produce for farmer’s marktets and their members. I’m working with different plant material and different
people and it’s a great thing!
 
Wow well how exciting!
 

Tell me about your first gardening experience? How did you get excited about going to college and studying horticulture?

 
For me, it was being outdoors. My dad was more the gardener and outdoor person. I’m the daughter of a public school teacher. Someone who taught Earth Science. So I think that had a lot to do with it we were exposed to outdoors.
 
Weeding or something simple in my parents garden… and being around the house… Being outdoors and learning to love outdoors.
 
My first formative experience was working as an 11 year old kid. I was picking blueberries at a local farm. Starting to have that experience of the food production experience. The love of the outdoors.
 
I’m so curious to ask? Where did you grow up?
 
I grew up in Northfeild, Connecticut which is sort of the north west corner of Connecticut. So it’s about a one 6. It’s a little bit colder then where I am now in Pennsylvania. But it had clear summers and clear winters. Definitely had a northern climate.
Î grew up in NY, so I know that well, although now I am in Montana.
 

How did you learn how to garden organically?

 
I probably didn’t think about the word organics in that formal way until after college.
I had the interest in farming and growing. I had that interest in gardening and growing and working on
Following that path to getting a degree in horticulture. A lot of that training was conventional. I think I really didn’t think that much about it until I started to work commercially. My first experience using organics.
 
I had a formal university training. My first jobs were working for conventional growers. For this I’m grateful that it gave me a solid background in understanding growing needs. It wasn’t until I felt that what I was doing professionally was damaging to the environment. Then did I look for ways to substitute conventional practices with organic alternatives. What is quite different about the organic practices is a concern for the health of all biology associated.

Growing- plants, soil, water, and farm ecosystem.

I probably didn’t think about the word organics in that formal gardens in
working on farms at a young age
following that path to University and getting a bachelors in Horticulture
a lot of that training for commercial
how to go about things differently
fist experience is using pesticides
expectation of the job…
seeing it was one
it was dangerous and 2 it is damaging!

Starting to think differently.

And wonder about if different ways would be profitable without one of the way of growing that?
damaging to the...

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