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Symposium

Timothy WiseAuthor and agriculture policy researcher, Timothy A. Wise, will present the 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Symposium key note: Old Fertilizer in New Bottles: Selling the past as innovation in Africa’s Green Revolution, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, in the Sun Room of the Iowa State Memorial Union.

Wise is the author of the 2019 book, “Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food.”

A growing number of farmers, scientists, and development experts now advocate a shift from high-input, chemical-intensive agriculture to low-input ecological farming. They are supported by an impressive array of new research documenting both the risks of continuing to follow our current practices and the potential benefits of a transition to more sustainable farming informed by collaborations between farmers and scientists. The new initiatives have been met with a chorus of derision from an unsurprising group of commentators, many associated with agribusiness interests. They argue that only Green Revolution seeds and fertilizers can provide the innovation needed to help regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa grow more food. This narrative, however, flips reality on its head. Ecological innovations are on the cutting edge of new farming practices, while the Green Revolution is selling an outdated 50-year-old model as innovation despite its proven failures.


Light refreshments will be served. The event will include a chance to purchase books before the lecture and a short time for book signing after.

Wise is a senior advisor at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, where his work focuses on agribusiness, family farmers and the future of food, and a senior research fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute, where he founded and directed its Globalization and Sustainable Development Program. His previous work includes directing the Small Planet Institute’s Land and Food Rights Program and serving as executive director of the U.S.-based aid agency Grassroots International. He is also author of the book “Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico.” Wise lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.