Feeding the Future

Will there be enough food in the future? That’s the question Bert Drake hopes to inspire in guests at an upcoming lecture at The Captain Avery Museum in Shady Side.

Drake, a plant physiologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater shares important lessons learned in his 30-year career.

“A plant physiologist studies how plants interact with the natural world,” Drake says. “We study the effects of carbon dioxide on plants.”

Drake says rising carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures are impacting the plants we depend on for food and oxygen.

“Capacity to increase productivity is decreasing due to climate change,” Drake says. “Plants will grow better in high carbon dioxide, but an increase in temperature will wipe out that effect.”

Drake points out that by 2050, food production will need to be 60-100 percent higher to meet the demand of a projected 9.8 billion global population.

“But the outlook says the amount of food we can produce has plateaued and is going down,” Drake notes. “This is a story worth knowing. The amount of land available to grow crops isn’t going to increase.”

Learn more about the future of food and then enjoy a lunch of soup, specialty bread and dessert.

Future winter lecture series topics include the erosion of archaeological sites presented Feb. 19 by Stephanie Sperling, and authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie talk about their new book Ribbons of Scarlet Feb. 26. Presentations begin at 11:30am, Captain Avery Museum, Shady Side, $28 w/discounts, rsvp: captainaverymuseum.org