Garren writes:


I am writing to hopefully claim the first E-mail to the show prize 🙂 I have have listened to every episode of all 3 podcasts, so this new one also excites me. I have a degree in Anthropology so I know a bit about early culture as well. Currently I am a farmer, well I say farmer, I’m actually starting an orchard. Does that count. I live outside of city limits by just a hair, so can I count this as urban? You mentioned apples and pears, well this just happens to be what I am planting, but not to eat, but instead to ship off to those with more money than I and large steel containers in which we can let things ferment a bit. Speaking of fermentation, how about it as a show topic. I’m not quite sure what other kinds of show topics you would like, but how about a show on Mycorrhiza and Pink pigmented methylotrophs among other organisms used to increase crop size and yield. A final suggestion, as an apple farmer the specific rootstalk breeding programs have allowed a per acres planting density of apples to go from somewhere around 30-60 an acre to 2000-4000 an acre. Personally I am planting 1000 apples per acre. So the use of clones, grafting, tissue culture and the like and their importance to modern crops would also be interesting.

Oh and as a pick I would like to suggest a book series called Gibraltar Earth by Michael McCollum. I know that the Fermi paradox was mentioned recently on one of your other shows and this book is based on that principle and actually has correct and well researched science.


Tim writes:

Hi Dickson and Vincent,

I am a long time listener of your other not-so-secret podcasts. I’ve always enjoyed the conversational nature of your discussions, and Dickson’s ability to make any textbook style material sound like a story. I have a background in microbiology and infectious diseases, so I am very familiar with the organisms, techniques, and issues discussed in the TWiX podcasts. Listening to your discussions on those topics is a good way for me to stay current and to hear your professional insights into various infection related issues. Now that I have found your urbanag podcast I am realizing just how valuable your style is as a teaching tool when starting from scratch. I know virtually NOTHING about the history of agriculture and the current issues surrounding this topic, and I find myself hanging on your every word. I had to pause the first podcast to write you and thank you so much for doing this! Not only am I learning about a topic that I don’t normally spend much time thinking about, but you are inspiring me to consider new techniques to use when teaching my own students. In my opinion, every classroom could benefit from a “Vincent” sitting next to the lecturer to foster more of a conversational discussion of the topics being covered rather than a one-way lecture of the material. Anyways, thanks again!

– Tim

Christophe writes:

Hi guys,
Just a short note to say well done on your latest podcast. I heard about it on TWiV and practically ran to find it on iTunes 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the episodes to come.

I had read Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond a long long time ago and loved it and i find the beginnings of modern humans, art, language and agriculture fascinating.
I look forward to seeing where you take this podcast and what guests you bring in to chat with.

My listener pick of the week would be the Inquiring Minds podcast in general but in particular their latest episode features an interview with Jared Diamond talking about the publication of an adapted version of his book “The Third Chimpanzee” for kids.

Keep up the great work

Peter writes:

Dear Dickson and Vincent,

first of all thank you very much indeed for another exciting podcast series!!

Please find here…

…an interesting, just published analysis (by Greenpeace Austria) of bee-harming pesticides in ornamental plants sold here in Europe, maybe useful to your work in some kind of way…

Many greetings from springlike Wiesbaden, Germany,

fervent TWIx listener + teacher for Biology at a German secondary school

PS: I am not an author nor officially engaged in Greenpeace.

Christophe writes:

Hello again esteemed professors D & R.

I read this article today and it ties in nicely with your first episode and the first green revolution you were talking about.

the two papers the article is about are

Multiple lines of evidence for the origin of domesticated chili pepper, Capsicum annuum, in Mexico

Establishing the validity of domestication genes using DNA from ancient chickens



Alan writes:

I am a community activist who supports myself as a vascular surgeon. I have been a faithful listener off TWIM,TWIP, and TWIV and about 150 other podcasts in all fields but your three are all in my top ten and this one looks like it will be there also. I do international crisis medical missions and nutrition, food and water are always the highest priority. (I have been in El Salvador and Haiti shortly after the earthquakes, the typhoons in the Philippines and the refugee crisis in south Sudan and many others most recently in Guatemala.) I therefore have developed a significant interest in feeding those in the third world. When those in the field talk about the green revolution they almost always it seems refer to Norman Borlaug and the work he did to start the scientific improvement of crops. He won the Nobel prize and used the money to set up the World Food Prize. This is the Nobel prize of improving food production, storage, delivery and quality (hopefully you will win one day for your vertical farming.) The prize is given away each October in Des Moines Iowa art a for day conference where they also give multiple other awards including the CAST award for communication off the problems off food and nutrition (another one you might win one day). The conference is four days with over one thousand of the world leading food scientists, the CEOs of the top food producing companies and the agricultural ministers of over twenty countries. The access to these people are wide open. They also have table that you can set up info for very reasonable rates. They have free media badge that you would qualify for with your blog and podcast. I have access to a studio a block from the conference that I could get you access to for interviewing people. I feel you would love this conference.
Dr Alan Koslow

Brenda writes:

More please.
Thanks for the podcast.

How about discussing soil.

Is it true that earthworms are not native to North America. How would that effect plants.

Jim writes:

Good first show. Thanks.

I went through my list of podcasts and found over 20 related to food that might be of interest as a source of people to contact or to pass on to listeners. One is with Dickson, of course! Tried pasting them below, but it caused too many errors, so they’re attached as a .doc.

Smithfield, VA

Jim writes:

I just saw this link and thought it might fit in with your discussions. Perhaps someone in the Maker organization would be worth including in a discussion?

Jim, Smithfield, VA (Recently when I insert a url a little image also pops up. I use Yahoo email and guess it’s a change in their setup.) Think I like it, so far.

Brian writes:

Hi, I’m really enjoying your urban agriculture podcast. I’m hoping to hear a discussion about the influence of RA Fisher on agriculture and science in general. I don’t know much about him other than he’s credited with founding modern statistical methods and his early work was done at the Rothamsted agricultural research facility. It could be a great story relating agricultural history to general scientific practice.