The charming and witty Paul Wartman presented on his research at the University of Guelph for his Masters. I loved that there was a presentation with annotations and the goal of publishing the results in an academic and peer reviewed journal. This my friends is the kind of plant nerd that makes my heart sing.
What could have been a dry presentation on the quantitative analysis of soil bacteria and fungal communities was instead an animated journey through the research design of testing the impact of polycultures on apple trees. Paul shared anecdotally some of the responses from professors and peers and how that it is a challenge to not be too biased even within a rigorously designed experiment.
I also got a great laugh as he made the nutrient exchange between trees, fungi and bacteria sound more like a dating game than biology. “Hey little fungi, want some of my sugar?” perfect.
LOVED it!!! Once published, Paul’s research will form a great foundation for a greater research body that could be the evidence used to persuade mainstream agriculture to look at polycultures to enhance soil fertility and crop yields. How amazing would that be?
Finally, my favourite part of Paul’s talk was when he acknowledged his own privilege and how he is mindful to gather others’ views and also to leverage his privilege to benefit others. so basically both my sons have to go to the yet to be created Many Rivers Permaculture camp where youth will learn about permaculture from this lovely human.