The Oxford English Dictionary recently defined citizen science as: “scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.”
For centuries gardeners have been asking their fellow gardeners “What varieties will grow best in my garden?” This web forum provides an avenue for gardeners to share knowledge. The concept is simple: Gardeners visit the VVfG site and report what varieties perform well – and not so well – in their gardens. Other gardeners visit to view the variety ratings and read the reviews to decide which might work well for them. The VVfG citizen science project also provides an opportunity for researchers to involve knowledgeable and motivated citizens. With a multitude of gardener observations at their finger tips, researchers can gain new insight into the performance of vegetable varieties under a wide range of conditions and practices. At the same time, gardeners can get advice from a larger community of gardeners to help decide which varieties to try in their own gardens. VVfG helps us create our Selected List of Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners in New York State (pdf).
Vegetable varieties investigation (Vvi) is a companion program to Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (VVfG). Youth participants interview gardeners about their opinions on vegetable varieties, then submit their findings to the VVfG nation-wide online library of vegetable variety reviews. Findings reported by Vvi youth participants are used by gardeners, plant breeders, and horticulture researchers to support science research and promote garden biodiversity for healthy ecosystems.
Vegetable Variety Trial Gardens (VVTG) is another companion program to Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (VVfG) for our Cornell Cooperative Extension associations and community partners from around New York State who are cultivating vegetable demonstration gardens as outdoor classrooms for their communities.
Seed to Salad – Youth grow salad gardens, with emphasis on decision-making and a multi-disciplinary approach, including nutrition, physical activity, math, and language arts. Seed to Salad – Spanish Version. And gardeners of all ages can visit the VVfG citizen science project site and report what varieties perform well – and not so well – in their gardens.
More Cornell Citizen Science Projects:
The Lost Ladybug Project
Citizen Science Central Try searching this gateway with terms like plant or garden.
Also check out New York Phenology Project and the network of weather watchers at CoCoRaHS .
The VVfG Citizen Science Team:
Lori Brewer, Citizen Science Project Director/Senior Extension Associate, Department of Horticulture
Thomas M. Jahn, Programmer Analyst II, Department of Horticulture
Ari Rockland-Miller, Extension Support Specialist, Department of Horticulture
Angela McGregor Hedstrom, Program Assistant, Department of Horticulture
Additional advisors and previous members:
Steve Gabriel, Program Assistant, Department of Horticulture
Craig Cramer, Communications Specialist, Department of Horticulture
Russell Welser, Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Ontario County
Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Horticulture
Charlie Mazza, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Horticulture
Paul Treadwell, Web Administrator, Cornell Cooperative Extension
This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U. S. Department of Defense under Award No. 2009-48667-05833. Developed in partnership with Purdue University and Cornell University.