Hello and welcome to my first venture into the world of blogging. I am planning to use this site to share information on the research work that I do, links to projects I have been involved with, and also my comments and reactions to emerging issues in food security, soil science and agriculture.
The title of my blog reflects my passion for agriculture and addressing the challenge of how we feed ourselves in a world with finite resources and a growing population. My research expertise is based in the world of soil science, and I like nothing better than to get out in the field and get my hands dirty examining soils and their fascinating biology. A common thread throughout my career has been studying how to manage soils to maximize their health and productivity, using what might be called “organic” or “ecological” approaches. This includes using manures and composts for nutrient supply, diversifying crop rotations, and minimizing tillage. More recently I have come to recognize that these approaches are all part of a strategy that is known as “ecological intensification” – managing agricultural systems so that beneficial natural processes are optimized for delivery of ecosystem services, including food and fibre production, biodiversity, nutrient and water cycling and pest management.
I have been around long enough to know that there is no magic bullet that will solve the challenge of providing healthy diets for all, while preserving the natural environment and protecting rural livelihoods and communities. This challenge is complex and will require solutions that emerge from multidisciplinary research with real stakeholder engagement. It’s a tough challenge and I know I don’t have all the answers, but I’m looking forward to engaging in discussions and conversations with many of you, sharing and learning together as we try to address this basic question: what is the best way to feed the world?