Associate Professor of Nutrition, Health and Human Performance Bill Landis presented the 2012 Faculty Distinguished Lecture on March 13, 2012.
His lecture, titled “FROM ONE SEED: a Journey from Farm, to Plate, to You,” focused on local food, and featured the premiere of his original short film, “Seed.” Using on-location footage and featuring interviews with growers, scientists, Meredith students, and farmer’s market consumers, the film follows the development of a single organically-grown tomato plant from seed to market.
Prior to showing the film, Landis introduced the topic of local food, and how it relates to agricultural diversity issues.
“Cosmonaut Volkov, Red October, Black Truffle, Dr. Carolyn, Aunt Ruby’s green. For many of you in the audience, you might be surprised to learn that these are vegetables, varieties of tomatoes, in fact,” Landis said. “Yet, these many varieties with the funny names are disappearing fast.”
Landis offered many examples of the shrinking diversity of the modern food supply.
“In the US, 90% of our plant and animal varieties that were once part of our food supply have disappeared,” said Landis.
Landis also explained the ways in which the local food movement grew out of the organic food movement. He described the array of emotions an average grocery shopper might feel.
“We may laugh at the fact that organic jelly beans even exist, cry over the price of organic broccoli, and feel satisfaction because the coffee you bought was fair-trade and the grower, in some far-off land, is able to make a living wage for his work,” Landis said.
The presentation closed with a conversation with some of the farmers and other local food experts who appeared in “Seed.”
Landis is the program coordinator for the foods and nutrition program, and is the director of the M.S. program in nutrition. His interests and research background include local and organic foods, sustainable diets and methods of food production, vegetarianism and sports nutrition.
Landis started The Meredith Community Garden (also known as “Three Sisters Garden”) in 2005. The garden provides the Meredith community with an opportunity to explore and grow fresh healthy food. The garden is a demonstration of the concepts and methods used in producing plants and food in an environmentally sound and ecologically sustainable manner.
The first Faculty Distinguished Lecture was presented by Norma Rose in December 1964.
According to “Faculty Distinguished Lectures 1964-1981,” the lecture series was designed to “represent a significant achievement of research by a faculty member.”
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