About the Institute of Horticulture
“The most extraordinary people in the world today don't have a career. They have a mission. Our team’s mission at the Institute of Horticulture is to share the knowledge and know-how needed to enable access to fresh, high-quality local fruits and vegetables in Latvia throughout the year.
We are inclusive – our institute is an open space for scientists, believers, dreamers, growers, artists, musicians, poets, students, local community, government and tourists, as well as everyone else. We believe learning and achieving personal excellence is a lifelong adventure. We believe in leadership as a process of self-knowledge and social innovation. We transform ourselves, and we transform gardens. This is a story about love – we love our work, we love sustainable ideas, and we create with love. We believe happiness and passion are the most powerful tools for getting excellent results.”
Inese Ebele, Director, Institute of Horticulture
The beginnings of the Institute of Horticulture can be traced back to 1945, when it was founded at the Laucini nursery. After some years, the plant breeder Pēteris Upītis (1896–1976) started planting new experimental orchards in this place. The goal of this horticulturist was to cultivate winter-hardy fruit crops that would be compatible with the climatic conditions of Latvia, and that would bear high-quality fruit. Over the years, the orchard has changed its name and owners several times (to the Laboratory of Fruit growing, the Dobele Horticultural Plant Breeding Experimental Station, and the Latvia State Institute of Fruit-Growing). The institute was given its present status on 1st January, 2016 – it is now under the jurisdiction of the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies.
“The institute is a fast-growing research institution which makes a significant contribution to the development of horticultural science and to the horticulture sector in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries. The institute’s competent and motivated scientists rationally use their resources by providing to the public new knowledge, varieties, products, technologies and services.
The institute is successful in balancing applied and basic research, and this allows it to publish results in peer-reviewed publications, as well as to develop innovative technologies and products, thus contributing to the competitiveness of the fruit and vegetable industry, and to smart and sustainable rural development.”
Dr. biol. Edīte Kaufmane, Chairman of the Scientific Council, Leading Researcher
Directions of the Institute of Horticulture’s activities:
- Scientific activity in the sectors of horticulture and healthy food.
- Protection of genetic resources and promotion of sustainable use.
- Integrated sectoral, scientific and educational development promotion.
- Promotion of awareness of the institute and the sector.
Research directions of the Institute of Horticulture:
Diversification and breeding of horticultural crop cultivars suitable for the Baltic Sea Region
- Research aim: To develop and select cultivars that are adapted to the Baltic Sea region and that have adequate levels of ecological plasticity, productivity, product quality, and resistance to disease and pests.
Environmentally friendly horticultural production systems
- Research aim – development or adaptation of environmentally friendly horticultural production systems suitable for Latvian agro-climatic conditions and cultivar biological characteristics.
Storage and processing technologies
- Research aim – to develop horticultural crop processing technologies and products suitable for commercial companies by assessing biochemical composition, and to test various storage technologies for extending fruit and vegetable shelf life.
Basic biological research for horticultural science
- Research aim – to acquire new knowledge through scientific methods, thus facilitating the sustainable development of the scientific discipline of horticulture, and of sectors related to it such as biology, chemistry, food science, thus creating an informative base for applied research.
Integrated sectoral, scientific and educational development promotion
Goal: to increase horticulture-sector-related innovation and the competitiveness of SMEs by introducing developed technologies to the institute and by expanding the spectrum and the amount of research.
We collaborate with sectoral associations in Latvia, organising hands-on events and demonstrations, as well as providing consultation. Participation in the development of documents, laws and regulations for the horticulture and food sectors. Collaboration with processing companies in improving technology and developing new products. In 2010, a technology transfer centre was established (http://fruittechcentre.eu), promoting collaboration with other countries in the Baltic Sea region. The centre serves as a base that provides different informative and educational materials for entrepreneurs.
Collaboration with scientific institutions, universities and educational institutions
Goal: to promote national and international collaboration in advancing the development of interdisciplinary and internationally competitive research, coordination of research activities, useful utilisation of scientific potential and infrastructure, and strengthening of international awareness.
The Institute of Horticulture actively collaborates (at different levels) with more than 40 foreign scientific institutions in 23 different countries, of which 6 institutions – in Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Switzerland – are strategically important partners.
- Collaboration activities: joint research projects, publications, scientist exchange programs, exchange of breeding material and research information.
- Collaboration results: participation in FP7/Horizon2020, EUROSTAR, EUREKA, INTERREG projects, as well as participation in COST Action activities; exchange of breeding material with 35 other institutions is carried out on a regular basis; the institute's scientists represent Latvia in several sectoral organisations – EUFRIN, EUVRIN, ECPGR, ISHS, EUCARPIA.
Collaboration with scientific institutions in Latvia
Goal: to introduce and expand interdisciplinary research that will contribute to sustainable agriculture.
The Institute of Horticulture collaborates with 13 scientific institutions and university departments in Latvia. Close collaboration has been developed with the Latvian Plant Protection Research Centre; the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Food Technology); the Latvian State Forest Research Institute, Silava and the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre.
Integrated development of science and education
The Institute of Horticulture has developed collaboration with educational institutions that prepare experts in horticulture and food sectors. We facilitate bachelor's, master's and doctor's thesis drafting for students of the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, University of Latvia, and Riga Stradins University.
LatHort scientists are members of the LUoLSaT doctorate council and the master's examination committee, as well as the state examination committee at LUoLSaT and Bulduri Secondary School of Gardening.
The staff of the institute participates in the development of professional standards and in educational, study and internship programmes. Dobele and Pūre have internship programmes for students from LUoLSaT and the Bulduri Secondary School of Gardening. The institute works with high-school students, leading their research work development.
The logotype of Institute of Horticulture: