Sejal Lanterman ’05

Title: CELS Cooperative Extension Educator, NBC10 Plant Pro

Expertise: Composting, Food Safety, Gardening, Sustainability

Best known as the Plant Pro on Channel 10’s Sunday morning news program, Sejal Lanterman ‘05 is passionate about growing food, composting, and teaching people about sustainable living, and she lives what she preaches. Spending much of the growing season maintaining her giant vegetable garden, she’s been composting regularly since she was a child.

“Being connected to food and where it comes from is part of what makes us human,” she said. “Growing food just feels natural, and it is becoming increasingly important to so many other people in Rhode Island, too.”

On the show, she shares her own expertise—plus the expertise of numerous URI experts and others—on gardening, horticultural practices, composting and many other topics related to sustainable living. She doesn’t pretend to know everything there is to know on those topics, but says she enjoys interviewing the experts and educating the public about subjects close to her heart.

After graduating from URI, she volunteered as an AmeriCorps environmental educator, and then joined the staff of the URI  Outreach Center, part of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. Here she’s worn many hats, from events manager and compost educator to social media and marketing guru. She recently added food safety educator to the list, working with farmers and farmer’s market managers to reduce the likelihood of transmitting food-borne illnesses. She also teaches courses on food preservation.

“I want to encourage people to slow down and think about what’s really important,” Sejal said. “I enjoy giving people the information they need to make decisions about how to live their life in a sustainable way.”

Next:

From the ground, anyone who’s driven through New England has seen the seemingly randomly placed stone walls running here and there under the forest canopy, and have speculated about what they may have denoted long ago. Geographer Katharine Johnson ‘06 may have the answers. Using high-tech scanners called light detection and ranging (LiDAR), she’s been able to locate abandoned homesteads, hundred-acre farms, stone walls, and other barely perceptible remnants of a largely agrarian New England.