We are pleased to announce that Dr. Fernanda Krupek will be joining HCS in August 2023 as an Assistant Professor and Urban Food Systems Horticulturalist at The Ohio State University!
Department Chair, Dr. Doug Karcher, summed up our collective excitement best: The Urban Food Systems position is new and provides HCS an opportunity to engage with new audiences throughout Ohio. Dr. Krupek brings a lot of positive energy and a collaborative spirit to this position. I have no doubt that she will help create and improve food production systems in many of Ohio’s densely populated areas, whether commercial operations or community and school gardens. Through her work Dr. Krupek will introduce some rewarding careers in specialty crop production to a diverse population of prospective CFAES students.
Dr. Krupek recently completed her Ph.D. in Crop Physiology and Production at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the advisement of Drs. Andrea Basche and Daren Redfearn. Her Dissertation focused on Experimentation on Nebraska Farms for Sustaining Soil Health Management (2023). Prior to completing her Ph.D., Dr. Krupek received her M.S. (Thesis: Vine Defoliation Management for Improved Harvest and Storage Quality of Early-Season Fresh-Market Potato) from the University of Florida (2019) and B.S. (Agronomy) from the University of Sao Paulo (2016).
Throughout her time as a student, Dr. Krupek was highly engaged, finding time to be involved in a multitude of extra-curriculars from providing reviews for scholarly journals to mentoring undergraduate students to serving in leadership roles such as Vice President of the Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association (AHGSA). Additionally, Dr. Krupek is an active member of a variety of professional societies including the Crop Science Society of America and North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture.
Some core areas Dr. Krupek plans to focus on at Ohio State
- Bring research and extension to the educational experience of Ohio State students by leading a core course yearly + advising and mentoring graduate students.
- Establish an integrated program that yields a greater understanding of the capacity to positively influence horticultural food production systems in urban and urbanizing environments and communities in the Midwest-Great Lakes region.
- Engage with farmers, non-profit organizations, stakeholders, schools, and centers to advance the science and practice of urban food systems horticulture.
Wow, that's quite a broad range of high-impact responsibilities & we could not be happier to bring Dr. Krupek on board for this exciting task! Thankfully, she had a minute to sit down with us to give us a brief glimpse into her thoughts...
What are you most looking forward to about this next step in your career?
I’m truly excited to join the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science this August. The Urban Food Systems Horticulturalist position has great potential for accelerating existing and emerging models of urban, indoor, and innovative agricultural practices that serve multiple stakeholders. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues to expand and develop programs in horticultural food production, making long-term meaningful impacts across Ohio and beyond. I am confident this will be a fun and satisfying journey and I am grateful for the opportunity to join the collective college theme: “We sustain life.”
What initially sparked your interest in urban food systems horticulture?
I grew up in Sao Paulo, a metropolitan center benefiting from several urban agricultural projects, while spending vacation on family members’ farming operations in rural areas of Brazil. Experiencing agriculture along the urban-rural gradient sparked my interest in a central question that to date, I continue to ponder on: “what does the future of our food system look like?”. While I attribute to my father – who has always been drawn to gardening – my early memories of experiential learning on growing vegetables, the pursuit of graduate degrees in inter and transdisciplinary programs in horticulture (Florida) and agronomy (Nebraska) solidified my interest in urban food system horticulture.
What would you consider to be a few highlights of your career so far?
I am immensely grateful for the mentors who paved the way for education by actively supporting me to engage in extension, research, and teaching. The following highlights wouldn’t have an impact on the community if it weren’t for the collaborative, action-oriented, and integrated approaches that have allowed me to take part on these endeavors as a leader, mentor, and student.
- State-wide soil health collaboration that has led to on-farm research reports, extension articles, field days, stakeholder network meetings, interviews by state and national media outlets, and a science communication award.
- International outreach initiative connecting US and Central/South American agricultural stakeholders that has led to leadership meetings, extension events, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, and three national awards - one by the American Society of Agronomy Extension Education Community.
- Applied research collaborations addressing best management practices for vegetable production, produce postharvest physiology and handling, agroecology, and human dimensions of agricultural decision-making that has led to refereed articles and one national award on best research paper in plant physiology by the American Journal of Potato Research.
- Teaching efforts that has led to awarded grant to support an after-school program for high school and graduate student partnerships and a published scholarship of teaching paper demonstrating effective teaching strategies, assessment, and collaboration.
Could you briefly touch on some of your initial plans for your 1styear with HCS
My initial first-year plans include but are not limited to:
- Needs assessment: engage in stakeholder meetings to identify program short, medium, and long-term initiatives. This includes identifying available/ongoing efforts and building capacity from those resources.
- Relationship-building: invest in relationships and build strong connections through periodic communication and collaboration with peers, urban farmers, and community food system stakeholders.
- Funding opportunities: identify and secure funds to establish projects that tackle identified needs and opportunities.
- Team building: establish a strong team that applies extension, research, and teaching efforts to build participatory knowledge that can be used to support urban entrepreneurs and mission-driven organizations to grow healthy local food.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Personal and professional fulfillment to me comes from balancing work, community, family, and faith. I enjoy spending time reading books, in particular leadership and history/theology-related ones. Time and resources permitting, my next hobby is traveling to discover and learn new places and food systems. Volunteering in community efforts and going out for bicycle rides have been my favorite pastime since graduate school. By the way, I look forward to exploring bicycle trails in Ohio and the Great Lakes Region. Last but not least, I like learning new skills; recently I have been interested in playing guitar – a childhood gift from my father that I brought to the US from my last trip to Brazil.
These are exciting times, I look forward to joining the Buckeye community!
We’re delighted Dr. Krupek has decided to bring her talents to help grow urban horticulture here in the heart of Ohio and hope you'll join us in welcoming her!
You can keep up with Dr. Krupek on Twitter @FernandaKrupek