Julie Dawson

Julie Dawson

Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture

Tell us a little bit about your program (research/teaching):

My research interests include the use of genetic resources in plant breeding for organic systems and methods for participatory selection and variety development. My extension program includes the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, which works with plant breeders to test varieties with local farmers and chefs, focused on flavor for local food systems. I teach Organic Vegetable Production and co-teach Principles of Plant Breeding with Natalia deLeon.

How does your research impact the world outside academia?

I hope that my program will result in high quality, well adapted varieties available to farmers and everyone eating locally in Wisconsin.

Why is it important for you, as a researcher and as a person, to focus on organic agriculture? 

I find organic systems very interesting in terms of plant breeding because we need to work to optimize plant adaptation to the environment and understand how varieties interact with environmental conditions. I find the organic community to be very welcoming and interested in improving not only production but also the environmental and social impacts of agriculture. I started working with organic systems as an undergraduate student and never stopped.

What do you love most about living in Wisconsin? 

The strong commitment of farmers to cooperative research and sharing knowledge with each other.

What was the last thing you read for pleasure? 

I’ve been reading the Amaranthe series by G.S. Jennison.