My journey into local foods begain when I co-wrote my master's thesis "Community Food Systems: Working towards Sustainability and Satisfying Human Needs" with two foodies in 2007. When I moved back to Iowa in 2013, the intersection of local foods and sustainable ag became front and center in my life. From on-farm research with Practical Farmers of Iowa to major innovations in working to connect producers and consumers through our on-farm (and one of the state's leading) food hubs, Prudent Produce, I have been putting good ideas into practice for positive change for more than a decade.
Data and Artificial Intelligence
The 20th century changed so much faster than any century before it. That pace of change was enabled by the discovery and use of fossil fuels.
Data is powering a similarly-unprecedented pace of change in the 21st century: enabling rapid insights that result in near-instant deployments of solutions that render yesterday's solutions obsolete.
I contribute to this inevitable path to the future with my daily work while also providing perspective, and when necessary, critique, calling for responsibility and a people-centered approach with big data and AI.
Business Model Innovation
Innovation requires two things: identifying new ideas, and getting those new ideas put into practice. Long-life light tubes are one innovation I worked with a while back, with the gist of the project being: how do we modify our value chain in order to sell "illumination" instead of selling physical light tubes.
Imagine applying this concept to modern conventional agriculture, such that input providers are paid to provide optimal crop outcomes instead of being paid by the volume of fertilizer or chemicals they sell to farmers.
Communicating on Climate Change
As part of The Climate Project, I have communciated with thousands of people in Iowa and Sweden about the science of climate change and emerging solutions for this global issue.
(Image here is from the World Meterological Organization 2023, WMO-No. 1338, explaining ocean heat content changes at different depths.)
Building Houses in Partnership
My interest in global affairs was largely instigated by Global Village trips with Habitat for Humanity, and just a couple of trips contributed greatly in shaping my views of the world, including this picture from Capetown, South Africa in 2003.
The opportunity to work side-by-side with people so different and yet so similar to myself; the realization that I was receiving far more than I was giving; and at the most basic, the ability to positively impact the lives of a single family in a significant and life-altering way -- these lessons were hugely valuable.
More Projects Coming Soon
Looking back at all the work that I've done over the years... it's a lot of fun!