We have an obligation to explore previously unrecognized possibilities within our own landscape.

In my introductory essay in Mario Del Curto’s new book of photographs, Seeds of the Earth: The Vavilov Institute (2016), I remind readers that a century ago, plant explorers like Nikolai Vavilov, Liberty Hyde Bailey, David Fairchild and Frank Meyer were well-known public intellectuals, celebrated adventurers and valued ethnographers of farming peoples still active in the far reaches of this world.

The public ...

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