Gerald Holmes

Center Director, Strawberry Center
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

​Holmes’ passion for science, plants and his desire to help others brought him to Cal Poly SLO. The Strawberry Center, in partnership with the California Strawberry Commission, was created in 2014 to increase the sustainability of the $3 billion California strawberry industry through research and education. Strawberry farmers are among the most progressive and environmentally conscious growers in the world, and 90% of the nation’s strawberries come from California’s Central Coast. The farmers continue to lead, evolve and implement the most sustainable farming practices and ways to grow strawberries, which include much of the research and innovations coming from the Strawberry Center. “This one-of-a-kind center is rooted in the hands-on learning approach that defines Cal Poly,” Holmes says. “Our focus is on applied research incorporating teaching and learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and California strawberry farmers.” The center recently received $1 million in federal funding to support research in strawberry automation leading to enhanced sustainable farming practices, including workforce development.​

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