Building trust in food systems – here and in Cambodia

A version of this article originally appeared in the UC ANR Food Blog.

What is the role of trust in our food system? In the United States, our trust in food is often implicit. We can generally trust that the fruits and vegetables we buy at a grocery store or farmers market are safe to eat — and we are often free to shop without even thinking about that trust.

Between farmers and agricultural scientists too, trust often plays an important role. If you’re a farmer, you need to be able to trust that investing your time or money in a new technique or in attending a workshop will indeed improve your business.

But it can be easy to forget that trust is a critical first step in many of these agricultural relationships.

In a vegetable field, Thort holds open the net door of a net house, with someone standing inside among the vegetable rows
Thort Chuong (now a Fulbright scholar and UC Davis grad student) welcomes us into a nethouse in Cambodia, owned by a farmer who tried it after joining a savings group and hearing about this new way he could grow vegetables without spraying pesticides. Karen LeGrand of UC Davis stands inside, among the leafy green seedlings in the nethouse. 

Establishing trust between actors in a food system has been critical for a Horticulture Innovation Lab project in Cambodia, focused on Continue reading Building trust in food systems – here and in Cambodia

In memoriam: Norman Looney

Norman E. Looney, a tireless advocate for horticulture in developing countries and founding member of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s International Advisory Board, died March 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was 77.

Norm Looney, portrait
Norman Looney led efforts to recognize horticulture as a means to reduce poverty.

Looney served an unprecedented two terms as president of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), founded the Global Horticulture Initiative, and was instrumental in the Global Horticulture Assessment. He served on the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s International Advisory Board from 2009 to 2013. He received his Ph.D. in horticulture at Washington State University.

Trained first as an agricultural science educator and then as a plant physiologist and pomologist, Looney achieved early recognition for his
pioneering research on the biochemistry and physiology of fruit ripening. Over a 35-year career Continue reading In memoriam: Norman Looney