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Rhodiola growers’ school offered in Palmer

Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host the Rhodiola Growers School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 5 at the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer.

Steve Brown, the agriculture and horticulture agent in Palmer, said the medicinal plant shows great promise as a new agricultural crop. Rhodiola rosea is not native to Alaska, but it grows well in cold regions and in rocky soils, he said.  “This is its natural habitat.”

Growers have been interested in the high-value plant because it can be grown on a small amount of land and requires little care, Brown said. The roots are harvested for use as a medicinal herb, as an ingredient in sports drinks and in skin-care products.

Anchorage physician and Alaska Rhodiola Products co-op founder Dr. Petra Illig will lead the growers’ school. The school will cover the fundamentals of growing Rhodiola and experienced growers from the cooperative will provide hands-on instruction. Topics will include plant and row spacing, weed control and nutrient needs. Illig said 10 growers are growing commercial quantities of Rhodiola and others are experimenting with the crop.

The school is free for co-op members and is $35 for nonmembers. Register online or download the registration form at www.uaf.edu/ces/districts/matsu/aghortland/. For more information, contact Steve Brown at 745-3639 or at scbrown4@alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.uaf.edu/ces/districts/matsu/aghortland

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