Field day planned for UW-Platteville sunflower project
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — To promote crop diversification, enhance biodiversity and keep food sourcing local, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is growing six acres of sunflowers just west of the Platteville Menards store this summer. Hearty plants that produce a high-value cooking oil and dairy feed bi-product, sunflowers do well in Southwest Wisconsin.
Officials from UW-Platteville and UW-Extension are hosting a field day on Monday, Aug. 26, from 4-4:45 p.m. to learn about the crop. Sunflower oil tastings and free appetizers will be offered at Benvenuto’s Italian Grill from 4:45- 6 p.m.
Sunflower oil has a mild flavor and can be used in place of most other cooking oils for sauté, baking or salad dressing. Higher in monounsaturated fats than most oils, sunflower oil is comparable to olive oil in health benefits. When the oil is pressed out of the seed using cold pressing technology, the remaining “meal” makes a high protein feed for dairy that doesn’t require roasting. Sunflowers can be planted, managed and harvested using the same equipment as corn.
UW-Platteville began the exploration of this project through a joint effort of its Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems major and the office of sustainability. The university plans to serve one-third of its oil harvest in campus dining services, and two-thirds in retail. Products should be available to the public this winter. University officials hope to increase production in 2014 and explore production of other oil seeds for biofuel and food.
This project is a community effort: use of the acreage is donated by Platteville Development Group, advising is provided by UW-Extension and planting and harvesting is done by Wilson Family Organic Farms in Cuba City, Wis. Press and mechanical advising is provided by Circle Energy and Solarmass LLC.
More information is available at uwplatt.edu/sunflowers or by contacting Amy Seeboth, UW-Platteville sustainablility coordinator, at (608) 342-7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Amy Seeboth, sustainability coordinator, (608) 342-7244, email@example.com
Formatted by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, firstname.lastname@example.org