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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

An Issue Of Balance: Productivity Vs. Diversity In Modern Ag

Cary Fowler is a Senior Advisor to the Global Crop Diversity Trust. On this week's show, he talks about unintended consequences of the rise of big agribusiness.

cary fowler

Think of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as a safety deposit box for seeds. It houses 860,000 samples from almost every country in the world. Cary Fowler was influential in creating the seed vault.

He’s worked to preserve the diversity of the world’s crops and seeds. Though, with apples, for instance, he says we’re too late for many varieties. In the U.S. in the 1800s, there were over 7,000 different varieties of apples. Today, 6,800 of those are extinct.

He says the primary culprit is big agribusiness:

You’ve had the rise of the modern seed industry, and seed companies want to sell their seeds to farmers, but what happens when they adopt those new seeds is they cease growing some of the older varieties. When they cease growing the variety they may have been saving generation after generation in their family, a unique variety and any unique genetic traits it may have had become extinct on that day.

Listen to the complete conversation with Cary Fowler on WFIU’s Profiles.

Also on today’s program, one particular variety of strawberry has sparked the interest of Leah Gauthier — the Marshall Strawberry. Her conservation efforts feature art and growing projects.

Strawberries become shortcake, with Chef Daniel Orr.

Then, we go on a journey to capture a swarm of bees. Indiana beekeepers say this year’s swarm season has been especially active. We talk to honey bee specialist Greg Hunt to find out what’s got the bees buzzing.

Stories On This Episode

Student-Run Organic Farm Thrives At Land-Grant University

Though large-scale production of corn and soybeans can seem to be the primary crop interests at Iowa State University, the organic farm is wholly embraced.

Swarm Of Bees Free To A Good Home (If You Can Catch Them)

This has been an especially active swarm season in southern Indiana, thanks to record high temperatures earlier this spring.

Marshall Strawberry Explores Its Artistic Side

Leah Gauthier is trying to revive the endangered Marshall strawberry in her garden. She has been artistically inspired by the plants as well.

Strawberry Season: Fresh Take On Shortcake

We're celebrating strawberry season today with a fresh take on strawberry shortcake using homemade buttermilk biscuits and yogurt.

Which Ware? Choosing The Best Disposable Utensils

Choosing the best reusable tableware for your summer cookouts comes down to two factors: production and environmental impact.

Study Says Climate Change Increases Food Toxins

A new United Nations report shows that food crops produce more toxins as they adapt to changing weather, a problem that will worsen as global temperatures rise.

Congressman: Restricting School Lunch Would Save Feds Money

Todd Rokita argued the government should cut back on free school lunch programs when he attended Wednesday’s State Board of Education Meeting.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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