|Image: Indiana Grain|
This was no ordinary interview about seeds. This was Terry Gross talking with Cary Fowler. Terry Gross is the best interviewer -- I have heard her interview hundreds of people over a period of more than 30 years. I remember Johnny Cash ending their interview by telling her, "You are really good at what you do." This is why I was happy to listen to the same interview twice in a row. Cary Fowler has the ultimate pursue-your-dreams. He went from thinking there should be a global repository of seeds to figuring out the perfect location for it (geography!) to building and directing it.
His sense of humor about the work comes out in his discussion with Gross, as do some of the ways that he and his spouse promote crop genetic diversity in their daily lives.
Back to those fields I was driving past. Agriculture is more productive than it has ever been, but it is also more vulnerable to perturbation. The very specialization that gives us high yields and disease resistance also cuts us off from the genetic richness from which such specialization is drawn.