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Environmental Studies

University of Mississippi

Environmental Author to Speak on Seeds and the Food Supply

Janisse Ray

Environmental author Janisse Ray will discuss seed-saving and how it relates to the food supply in an Earth Day lecture April 22 at the University of Mississippi.

“Growing a Wilder Planet” is set for 7 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. The lecture, part of the university’s fifth annual Green Week, is free and open to the public.

Ray will talk about “the importance of issues that face us concerning our food, concerning the very, very dangerous lack of biodiversity and the threats that are brought to our basic food sources – i.e., seeds – through practices that endanger that,” said Ann Fisher-Wirth, UM director of environmental studies and professor of English. “Her talk offers a great chance for people to learn about something that they might not be conscious of and something that is extremely important for us; namely, our food supply.”

The lecture is based on Ray’s 2012 book “The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food,” which won the 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award and the 2013 American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Arlene Eisenberg Award for “Writing that Makes a Difference.”

“Few people are aware of what’s happening with seeds,” said Ray, who lives on a farm using sustainable methods to produce her family’s own food. “Organic and local are major components, and so is our seed supply, which is, after all, our food supply.”

Ray, a 2003-2004 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at UM, has authored many works concerning the environment and its preservation, including the 1999 memoir “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” a New York Times notable book and winner of several book awards.

The lecture is sponsored by the UM departments of English and biology, Office of Sustainability, College of Liberal Arts, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Media and Documentary Projects Center.