Food Security, Sovereignty, and Traditional Knowledge conference to explore germplasm ownership – June 3-7

The joint conference of the Society for Economic Botany and the Society of Ethnobiology will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from June 3-7, 2018. The conference, which will explore the theme “Food Security, Sovereignty, and Traditional Knowledge,” will cover issues related to germplasm ownership.

“How genetic resources are shared is an important topic,” says horticulture professor David Spooner, who helped organize the conference. “In my career, I collected potato and carrot for years, but doors are being shut more and more due to issues surrounding reciprocity. A lot of nations are reluctant to easily share genetic resources because they don’t feel they have an equal benefit. The conference is going to address this issue from various viewpoints.”

The conference kicks off with a Monday morning plenary session by five participants discussing differing perspectives on ownership and distribution of genetic resources, including three Indigenous American speakers and two U.S. government speakers:

  • Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot Tribe, Traditional Foods and Medicines Program Manager
  • Rowen White, Akwesasne Mohawk, Program Coordinator for Indigenous SeedKeepers Network
  • Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, Founder of The Sioux Chef and
  • Katlyn Scholl, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Candice Gardner, Research Leader, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames Iowa

Concurrent sessions are scheduled for the three main days of the conference, Monday through Wednesday (June 4-6). A closing banquet on Wednesday evening will feature a Native foods dinner prepared by plenary participant Sean Sherman, co-author of the book “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.”

Before and after the scientific sessions, five field sessions are scheduled on Sunday (June 3) and Thursday (June 7).

All members of the University community are invited to attend the conference. One-day registrations are available at a special rate of $30 for members of the UW-Madison community. If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Eve Emshwiller, Botany, at; or David Spooner, Horticulture, at (608) 890-0309.

Students can also volunteer to work on the conference to earn a registration fee waiver.

Conference information website  HERE.

Registration and field trip website  HERE.