As horticulture instructor at FVTC, Jim Beard uses greenhouses to teach students. But he also uses a modest-looking room full of baby food jars - which will be transformed into the school's tissue culture lab. So what's tissue culture?
According to Beard, "That's a process in which we can take very fine parts of plants and we can put them in a gel. We can make thousands of plants, starting them in baby food jars."
The tissue culture can be then examined under a microscope to learn more about the biology of a plant, and possibly diagnose problems with fungal issues or how the plant is growing. FVTC uses a special microscope that displays the image in the classroom for everyone to see and discuss, instead of taking turns looking through the microscope lens. The training prepares students for jobs in horticultural and agricultural companies where tissue culture is widely used to mass produce plants at much less cost.
It's a green industry job that students can prepare for today. The Bureau of Labor statistics forecasts job growth for biological technicians at about 18 percent in the next five years.
You can learn more about the horticultural program at FVTC here: