It’s an AG world after all! – Taylor Wilkinson

Taylor WilkinsonTaylor Wilkinson has a passion for plants.

She enjoys spending time with her parents and helping with their part-time family business – creating floral arrangements for weddings and other special events.

Taylor’s parents combined their knowledge of business and horticulture in the early 1990s and started a floral shop called Stark County Design.

After graduating from Stark County High School in 2011, Taylor enrolled at Black Hawk College East Campus with the intention of pursuing floriculture to one day take over the family business.

“That changed this past summer when Dr. Jeff Hawes hired me to work the organic plots on campus,” she says. Dr. Hawes leads the Black Hawk College Horticulture Program at the East Campus.

“After taking courses in fruit/vegetable science and viticulture, the study of grape production, I had a new perspective. The classes opened a lot of doors so I could see more of what horticulture has to offer,” she says.

“Sustainability and organic agriculture are big. Being gluten intolerant myself and having friends with other food sensitivities, I see the demand for information in our food products. I am also a proponent of ‘locavores’ and organic producers. I believe in the concept of knowing your farmer and knowing your food.”

A proud resident of Stark County, Taylor often thinks of the “mom and pop” shops that dot the landscape of her home. “When I make my millions,” she jokes, “I want to help smaller produce farmers get on their feet to help the local food sector give the public more information about what they are and what they offer.”

After graduating from Black Hawk College, she plans to attend the University of Illinois to major in specialty crop production with a minor in crop science. She also might pursue a master’s degree and would love to work for a produce company as a buyer.

Wherever she may decide to go, Taylor’s experiences at Black Hawk College are helping her gain confidence which feeds her successes. She cites her role as a Horticulture Team member at the NACTA (North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture) Judging Conference in 2012 as a significant journey in her career.

“Preparations were both very challenging and very rewarding. The effort we as a team put in paid off,” she says.

“We studied with the help of Dr. Hawes four days each week for a month straight. We memorized 300 plant genus, species and common names. That was only for the plant identification portion.”

Taylor tutoringTaylor is used to going above and beyond, serving as an Agricultural Ambassador, Student Government Leadership Representative and Phi Theta Kappa honor society vice president.

“I really enjoy supporting and promoting the school, especially to local students, and not just agricultural students either. Black Hawk will take you any place you want in life – this truly is Harvard on the Hill!”

She believes strongly in the faculty and staff – as well as the motivated students – to always catapult the college into the forefront of progress.

“Black Hawk is a great place to start no matter where life wants to take you,” Taylor says.