Weekly recap: mid september

Field work is again at a little bit of a standstill. I did have one survey last week (although I am still waiting for follow-up data), and I did get missing data from two other actors. No new interviews this week though. I recontacted all “missing” actors a couple of weeks ago (and some this week again), and have asked people who did take the survey to ask those “missing” people if they would be interested. Alas, nothing new to report. On Friday and Saturday I am going to some local UA events so perhaps I will have a chance for some face-to-face contact with those actors, and face-to-face does seem to be more motivating for participation. I have been working on writing up some of my methods section for the paper I hope to get out of this field work, and working on the Montreal food system P budget because I think I have gotten all the data I am going to get for that part of the paper in the mean time.

Amaranth at the botanical garden. The city had actually banned this plant from community gardens this year but reversed the decision. I have been eating a lot of this delicious cereal (the leaves can also be eaten) since discovering it though the regulation kerfuffle.

Here is a follow-up from last week’s post on science communication. This is one of my new and improved research story lines. It doesn’t get into the specifics of my research but I think the imagery is clearer and people can always ask follow-up questions:

We need phosphorus to grow food and we have a limited about of phosphorus (and to much phosphorus in certain waterways), therefor we need to find ways to better manage phosphorus.

A farmer 200 years ago produced crops and animals and lived on that same land, and would thus recycled everything. But with more people and the industrial revolution, we started to separate crops from animals, and crops and animals from people, who mostly live in cities now, and we can’t recycle waste which is high in essential nutrients like phosphorus. We started to mine phosphorus rocks instead of recycling. Farmers and scientists started realizing this was a problem because the phosphorus applied to fields was getting lost to lakes and the ocean and causing pollution. We then started to put laws and technologies in place to try and reduce over-application and those losses. Then, a few years ago we also saw the price of the phosphorus fertilizers the farmers need increase because only a few countries produce it. We realized that it wasn’t just a problem of pollution, but now a problem of getting enough P to produce food affordably for everyone. We needed to find ways to increase efficiency and increase recycling. We find that by eating less meat, by stopping food waste, and by recycling the waste we do have from food and human and animal manures back to farmers fields we can tackle both problems at once.

cabbages at the botanical garden (I visited again last weekend)

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