Industrial Agriculture and the Humble Strawberry

Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations February 20, 2018 Belmont Media Center

Julie Guthman, Ph.D., Professor of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz; Radcliffe Fellow 2017-2018. Dr. Guthman is also a 2017-2018 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow.

Dr. Guthman discusses the complex relationship between Big Agriculture in the U.S. and one of California’s major crops, the strawberry. Industrialized agriculture produces massive crops, but this process requires plant breeding that sacrifices flavor and nutritional quality. Big Ag also depends on extensive use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that destroy the soil and cause serious environmental pollution –and health concerns. Dr. Guthman’s forthcoming book will examine how efforts to manage a single soil pathogen ( Verticillium dahliae) gave rise to the modern strawberry industry –and the impact in California.

Dr. Guthman will also discuss her other studies of Big Agriculture in America and its impact on both the environment and human health. She is the author of the widely praised Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, a book that is a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between public health and modern food production.

some background:

Dr. Guthman’s book awards include

  • the Frederick H. Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award from the Rural Sociological Society for Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (University of California Press, 2004)

  • the ASFS Book Award for Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism(University of California Press, 2011)