Each month we interview a new scientist to bring a spotlight on some of the most interesting, cutting-edge work that is being done in the organic field.
Erin Silva is an Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology and leads the Organic and Sustainable Research and Extension Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Silva’s research focuses broadly on organic agricultural production, including vegetables, row crops and pastures. In this interview she tells us about the importance of developing new crop varieties for organic production and how she is improving the carrot.Read More
Dr. Magnér works for the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He recently conducted a study with his colleagues Petra Wallberg, Jasmin Sandberg, Anna Palm Cousins on whether a switch from a conventional diet to an organic diet would decrease the levels of pesticides found in the body. They found that by choosing organic products, it is possible to avoid dietary exposure to pesticides. In this interview he discusses the study design, findings, and implications of their results.Read More
Dr. Kathleen Delate is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She recently developed a video about organic no-till, which we feature on our website. This interview takes and in-depth dive into the world of organic no-till and why it deserves more attention.Read More
Dr. Cynthia Curl is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health at Boise State University. Her work focuses on environmental health and how exposure to agricultural chemicals affects agricultural communities and the public. In this interview, she tells us about her research examining dietary exposure to organophosphate pesticides in consumers.Read More
Dr. John Quinn is a professor in the Department of Biology at Furman University. His work focuses on how humans can manage anthropogenic landscapes to conserve biodiversity and the benefits that we gain by doing so. In this interview, he tells us about the Healthy Farm Index, and how this tool allows farmers to maximize biodiversity and associated ecosystem services on their farms.Read More
Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at IowaStateUniversity. Her work focuses on human-landscape interactions and improving the science behind decisions that impact natural resources. In this interview, she tells us about an ongoing project called STRIPS, and how the use of native prairie plants in agricultural settings can have big benefits for both organic and conventional farmers.Read More
Dr. Claire Kremen is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work focuses on conserving biodiversity through the use of protected areas and by valuing services that ecosystems provide to humans. In this interview, she tells us about how organic farms contribute to biodiversity conservation as well as her lab’s research investigating yield differences between organic and conventional farms.Read More
Dr. Ellen Cooper is an environmental chemist at Duke University. She manages the Duke Superfund Analytical Chemistry Core, and is also part of the Duke Foam Project. Her work focuses on analyzing environmentally important organic compounds found in substrates such as sediment, water, and polyurethane foam. In this interview, she tells us about her work investigating flame retardants in the foam commonly used in household furniture, and how we can reduce our exposure to these ubiquitous and potentially hazardous chemicals.Read More
Dr. Mark Sorrells is a professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His work focuses on using a variety of plant breeding techniques to develop superior crop varieties for cultivation. In this interview, he tells us about how he uses plant breeding to develop and assess small grains for organic cultivation, and why small grains are becoming popular for farmers and consumers alike.Read More
Dr. William Snyder is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Washington. His work focuses on understanding how biodiversity can improve agricultural systems by providing services such as pest and pathogen control. In this interview, he describes why biodiversity is important for healthy farms, and how poop-eating insects can protect us from crops contaminated with human pathogens.
Citrus greening disease, or Huanglongbing (HLB), threatens the citrus industry on a massive scale. It is spread by the invasive Asian citrus psyllid, and has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Hoddle has been using biological controls to combat this disease. He has headed his laboratory at UC Riverside since 1997, and is the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research. In this interview he discusses his adventures in discovering predatory insects to help control Asian citrus psyllids.
Kim Harley, Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Harley is an adjunct assistant professor of Maternal and Child Health in the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley and the associate director for Health Effects Research at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH). She is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist, and her work focuses on the association between exposure to common endocrine disrupting chemicals (including pesticides, flame retardants, and bisphenol A) and fertility, birth outcome, child development and timing of puberty. In this interview she discusses one of her ongoing projects named the Hermosa Study, which is a youth-led, community-based study looking at chemical exposure to Latina teenage girls from personal care products.Read More
Amy Charkowski is a professor at the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Plant Pathology. Her work focuses on controlling potato diseases and developing potatoes for organic production. Her lab investigates organically-approved control methods for pests and pathogens important in seed potato production on organic farmers. They also work to identify varieties that are robust on organic farms and resistant to or tolerant of pests and pathogens common on organic farms.Read More
Jim Galloway is a professor at the University of Virginia in the Department of Environmental Studies. His work focuses on maximizing the use of nitrogen for food production while minimizing its negative impacts on people and ecosystems. He is currently working on a project with The Organic Center examining the effects farming systems have on nitrogen pollution. We interviewed him about his Nitrogen Footprint model, and why nitrogen pollution is such a big environmental concern.Read More
David Granatstein is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist at Washington State University. We interviewed him to learn more about his history, the studies he is most excited about, and why the fire blight project he is collaborating with The Organic Center is so important.Read More