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Great Lakes Bioneers McHenry County Speaker Series

Join us in February as we host our Bioneers Speaker Series! This free educational series is a unique opportunity to connect MCC employees, students, and residents to cutting-edge environmental topics that directly impact our local economy and community. No registration necessary.

The speaker series is free and open to the public.

2018 Great Lakes Bioneers McHenry County Speaker Series

2/13/18 - The Path of Hope: Integral Ecology for Home and Hemisphere

7 to 9 p.m. | Luecht Conference Center

Dr. Michael J. Schuck, Professor, Department of Theology, Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Nancy C. Tuchman, Director, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago

Effective, long-lasting action for Earth health will depend on a critical mass of human beings experiencing a conversion of inner spirit and an alignment of a personal life meaning with our planet. Scientific clarity, ethical guidance, spiritual engagement, and direct action—these are the four connected steps we need to take in order to heal the Earth, both locally and globally. Each step, says Pope Francis in Laudato Sí, invites “a conversation that includes everyone.” So, let’s join the conversation! Learn more about Healing Earth.

Listen live to Dr. Michael J. Schuck and Dr. Nancy C. Tuchman on The Mike Nowak Show, 1590 WCGO, on Sunday, February 11, at 10:15 a.m. as they discuss their February 13 Bioneers presentation!

2/27/18 - Lunch and Learn—Renaissance Art and Vegetables

Noon | B166/67

Dr. James Nienhuis, University of Wisconsin–Madison

We can often trace the evolution of many of our grain crops, because the seeds are dry and can be preserved in archeological sites. Not so with fruits and vegetables. These foods have a very high moisture content and are perishable, so we don’t have an archeological record, but we do have art. During the Renaissance, there was a trend towards Natura Morta, or still life paintings, and those paintings from the 15th and 16th century give us record of what many European vegetables looked like 500+ years ago. And some of them look pretty weird! So next time you go to the Art Institute in Chicago, don’t look for the Rembrandts, look for the vegetables.

2/27/18 - Women Farming Cooperatives in Central America

6 to 8 p.m. | Luecht Conference Center

Dr. James Nienhuis, University of Wisconsin–Madison

On a project funded by USAID through the University of California–Davis, Nienhuis’ lab worked as the lead institution in a truly international project to promote sustainable vegetable production in rural areas of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. Tomato and pepper production can be among the most profitable sources of income and food security for many single mothers and women’s cooperatives in rural areas of tropical Central America. This presentation will share the science and stories behind this international research project that impacted many both in central America and sustainable farming here in the United States.

  • Jim's full bio

    Jim Neinhuis grew up on a vegetable farm in rural Woodstock, IL that eventually became Oney’s Christmas Tree farm. He recalls attending MCC back when it was housed in the Pure Oil Building, but he doesn’t remember if he graduated. He does recall discovering “a world that a shy, confused farm boy had no idea existed. I honestly thought that going to college was only for rich kids from the city—it simply did not occur to me that I too could go to college.” Jim later joined the Peace Corps; he learned Spanish in Puerto Rico prior to being sent as an agriculture extension agent to rural, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. His job quickly evolved into an attempt to control abuse of pesticides by rural farm families. Post Peace Corps, Jim attended the University of Illinois, Urbana where he majored in Agriculture Science. He went on to graduate school in statistics and genetics at North Carolina State University, and later completed his Ph.D. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jim returned to international work and spent several years in Cali Colombia as a bean breeder. He also worked as a tomato breeder in collaboration with HJ Heinz in California. In 1988, Jim joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Madison as an assistant professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics, then an associate professor, then a full Professor. He’ll soon complete 30 years as a professor there. Jim’s lab works on genetics with a focus on molecular markers, and they also do a lot of international work, especially in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. In Central America, they’re currently working on tomato grafting as an applied technology for rural women’s cooperatives. For a list of publications and more on the University of Wisconsin Madison Horticulture program plant genetics program

2017 Bioneers

About Bioneers

"Bioneers" are social and scientific innovators developing solutions for a more sustainable world. Learn all about the National Bioneers, their work and their annual conference at www.bioneers.org.

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 National Bioneers Conference DVDs available for loan at MCC Library. For more information, call the MCC Sustainability Center at (815) 479-7765