Grown in Western Sydney University’s high-tech greenhouse, the crop used for teaching students in the undergraduate and postgraduate courses is yielding a bountiful harvest.
The crop of snacking capsicums is being grown in the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre’s 450 m2 teaching bay. Three new varieties of snacking capsicum were provided by Syngenta and they have proved to be sweet, high-yielding, and of consistently high quality.
Students in the undergraduate course Greenhouse Technology for Food Sustainability planted the crop and monitored its growth and yield as they studied aspects of greenhouse crop production. Produce from the crop provided the materials for their study of post-harvest produce quality. The crop was also utilized for the on-site workshops for the postgraduate Diploma in Protected Cropping’s unit Greenhouse Crop Production.
The Postgraduate Diploma and associated Postgraduate Certificate programs have been developed to skill the next generation of leaders in the Australian horticultural sector and have been supported by Australian industry experts and grower organizations.
The research programs in the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre include pollination studies utilizing species of native Australian bees, and these were used in this teaching crop as part of that ongoing research.
In addition to providing practical experience to undergraduate and postgraduate students, the highly nutritious produce from the crop is donated to Foodbank. This charitable organization provides food relief to vulnerable Australians by supplying food to charities.