Contact Us

Trent Hawker
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
tkhawke2@illinois.edu

Sandra Mason
State Master Gardener Coordinator
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
slmason@illinois.edu

Nicole Bridges
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
nbridges@illinois.edu

Melissa Ann Steiner Kuhl
Publicity and Promotion Specialist
University of Illinois Extension
801 North Country Fair Drive
Suite D
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-333-7672
FAX: 217-333-7683
msteine3@illinois.edu

Postharvest Loss Avoidance through Technology and Education (PLATE)

Postharvest Loss Avoidance through Technology and Education (PLATE)

Postharvest Loss Avoidance through Technology and Education (PLATE) is a two-year research and development project that aims to minimize postharvest loss while revitalizing urban land. Experts at two sites in Champaign County will research, implement, and teach best practices for food harvesting. These sites include Prosperity Gardens, a community garden project on reclaimed urban property in a low income food desert, and Chanute Fields, a farm incubator for beginning specialty crop farmers and local high school students.

Project participants at these two locations will develop mobile wash stations and separate cooling units to extend crop availability through proper washing and packing for long term storage and sale. The portable vegetable wash station will be built on a trailer to allow on-site washing and drying, and the portable cooling trailer will allow farmers to remove field heat from their vegetables.

University of Illinois Extension and ADM Institute plan to make the research and development available on a national and international scale. It is hoped that poor communities across the globe will be able to utilize similar structures where they experience their own food deserts, enriching the diets of residents. PLATE will bring safe, fresh, affordable, and nutritious food to families and individuals throughout the local community and worldwide.