Maarten Stapper: Old Thinking and Scientific “Truths”
Research and development in multifunctional agriculture is fragmented and lacks a unified direction to study sustainability of systems. Science is critically lagging behind the new directions of producers and consumers while criticizing them by saying "where is the proof?" Science, institutions and governments keep following the current path of industrial agriculture. Resulting food production systems and associated business models are unlikely to ever stop land degradation, deliver required food quality, or provide food sovereignty. Unintended outcomes for the environment, animals and people, however, are becoming becoming increasingly visible. This experienced researcher/consultant will illustrate critical comments with real-world practices and examples.
Maarten Stapper, AgEng, Ph.D., FAIAST, Stapper began a career in agricultural science 40 years ago, has international experiences on four continents (Netherlands, North America, the Mideast, and Australia) and is a former senior scientist with CSIRO. Dr. Stapper found low-input agriculture to be most sustainable for producers, consumers and landscape. His focus is on biological farming systems that help farmers improve the profitability of their operations by harnessing the power of natural soil processes with practices creating healthy soils while reducing heavy reliance on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. He finds these practices not only create healthy soils but also improve qualities of food and landscape, making plants, animals and land more resilient in a variable climate, utilize natural resources for increased productivity. These ecosystem-based practices generate biodiverse landscapes. He was featured in ABC television's Australian Story "Back to Earth" in 2009 about his road into biological farming systems and disconnect with official science world. He questioned GMOs and wanted to continue research towards low-input sustainable farming. More information on his works is at www.drmaartenstapper.com.au.
Recorded Friday, December 12, 2013