Desmond Layne of Auburn University, head of the horticulture department, was honored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, or APLU, for leading Auburn’s Garden of transformation APLU project and its completion Food Systems Leadership Institute, or FSLI.
Layne, a fellow of the institute, and 25 other fellows from across the country were recognized for their contributions to their organizations, higher education and food systems at the association’s recent annual meeting.
Layne led the creation and planning of Auburn’s 16-acre Garden of transformation which will be located at the south end of the campus, near the intersection of Lem Morrison Drive and Duncan Drive. The project – recently funded for $ 4.1 million by the university – will encompass all aspects of plant-based agriculture, including everything from fruits and vegetables to ornamentals, row crops and more. again.
“The Transformation Garden is an innovative and imaginative project that will transform communities both on the Auburn campus and beyond in many ways,” said College of Agriculture Dean Paul Patterson, who, along with Provost Bill Hardgrave, mentored Layne during the FSLI program. Dr. Layne’s dedication and leadership in this project has been essential. Projects of this scale and impact require clear vision, communication, coordination, partnerships and more. That’s what Dr. Layne brought.
The project will showcase new technology and the history of agriculture as it envelops Auburn’s Old Rotation, a one-acre research plot established in 1896. Since that year, the historic monument has been the site of testing and promoting transformative ideas that are now mainstream ideas like crop rotation, cover crops and no-till and no-till farming.
Already completed in the new Transformation Garden are two vertical farms, which are converted, high-tech Freight farms shipping containers used to grow produce for students through a partnership between the College of Agriculture and Dinner on campus.
Layne used the Garden of Transformation as a leadership project within the Food Systems Leadership Institute, a two-year program designed for experienced leaders in academia, government, and industry.
“Throughout his many roles as faculty member, department chair and academic, Desmond continues to advance Auburn’s mission through his exceptional leadership and service,” said Hardgrave. Whether it’s establishing active learning environments for students to gain hands-on experience, expanding the university’s role in creating vertical gardens, or working with campus restaurants to support our farm-to-table initiatives, Desmond brings together the best of Auburn to improve our communities.
Over 40% of FSLI alumni have experienced promotions, selection to lead large-scale initiatives, university-wide leadership elections and other recognitions.