The Front Row: Food and Sustainability

Nov 8, 2017

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech is presenting a public talk by Florence Reed, Titled “Food and Sustainability: Farming as if the Future Matters.” To Find out more about the talk and Humanities Center, Dorothy Chansky, Director of the Humanities Center, joins the Front Row.

What is the function of the Humanities Center within the University?

We are not part of any one college, rather we reflect and try to serve and try to promote humanities endeavors in any college that has them. Most of our faculty affiliates are in the college of arts and sciences, but a whole batch of them are from the college of visual and performing arts and we have a handful of people from architecture and others.

Our goal is to support the scholarship that our humanities faculty does and also to make that scholarship maybe more widely known. I don’t think we have problems with appreciation, I think the people who know our work and our faculty recognize the significance of the books they write, the talks they do, the way they help students become better thinkers and writers, but not everyone knows about them. That’s a big part of what we do.

About Florence Reed.

How she got here is, she was in the Peace Corps in Panama the year after she graduated from college and was sort of dismayed by all the charred, burned land that she saw because local farmers, farmers who were just farming for their own sustenance—I shouldn’t say just—would burn down forests or land to put ash into the land that served in a short-term way as a fertilizer but also sort of depleted what was in the soil rather quickly.

So slash-and-burn is good in the short run but pretty bad in the long run and she wanted to assist with that because basically just knowing other techniques is the solution to that. There are other ways you can protect the soil, there are other ways you can farm. And she went back as an employee. And her employer one day announced that he wasn’t going to pay the volunteers and in solidarity with the volunteers she quit but somebody whom she had met on a site-seeing tour was so taken with her story, he was from Switzerland, that he gave her six thousand dollars and she started her non-profit with that. And she works with farmers to learn and maintain sustainability for practices.

But what does this have to do with us in the agriculture business in the U.S.? Let me tell you, she’s got the answers.



Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.