Professor Jules Pretty (University of Essex) and I start by discussing a useful concept: “sustainable intensification.” Before long, Dr. Pretty guides us into philosophical issues in food production. “We need to do good, as well as not do harm,” and why redesigning food systems lies in our future. His optimistic nature is on full display when he advises students and others to “listen to each other,” and to “be leaders and change the world."
“Disturbing:” The use of certain antifungal products in plants can promote resistance to some antifungal medicines used in humans. Professor Marin Brewer, University of Georgia, tells us about these scientific findings, which `were called “disturbing” by the president of the American Phytopathological Society.
We discuss highly mechanized and controlled crop production systems (think of it like “greenhouse systems on steroids”) with Dr. Garrett Owen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Kentucky. Will such systems displace field-grown fruits and vegetables? Or complement them?
We discuss soil food webs--the community of organisms in the soil and their interactions--with Dr. Elaine Ingham, President, Soil Foodweb Inc, and President and Director, Soil Foodweb School. These living networks can have a profound influence on soil health which, in turn, has relevance to sustainable agriculture.