I was very excited to be participating in the Southern Seed School here in Gainesville, FL. I had talks prepared on three cool topics– the history of the University of Florida plant breeding programs, plant breeding and genetic improvement, and new crops for Florida. I was not being compensated for my time on a Sunday, which is perfect. The group was a a paying audience of plant enthusiasts and gardeners, all excited to learn more about seed saving. Genetics, I feel, is a huge part of that, and non-scientists don’t think of it very much. My job was to fill that gap. The Wednesday before the event I read that I was cancelled. Not the whole event, not other UF speakers, just me. The organizers apparently received complaints, and certainly the bogus Twitter accounts were in high gear complaining about my participation. They succeeded in removing a scientist from a scientific presentation. Sadly, it makes the “seed savers” and organic gardeners look like they are offended by science, a charge frequently levied in social media. I disagree with that stance, but their actions reinforce those negative perceptions, which is a shame. Since I have been eliminated I will present the lectures in a separate venue in the same building. This way students that wanted that information are welcome to have access, and their education will not be interrupted by bad leadership decisions. I also applaud what the leadership does in their other efforts, so I don’t want negative fallout for them. I’m just disappointed that they rolled over when it was time to stand up for science. UPDATE: The organizers moved the Seed School off of the campus, so participants will not have access to the lecture materials. We will present these at a meeting for gardeners in the Fall. I’m very sorry. # COLABRA Talking Biotech is brought to you by Colabra – an R&D platform that brings your lab’s world-changing research together in one shared space. Learn more at https://www.colabra.app/ # TALKING BIOTECH Twitter: https://twitter.com/talkingbiotech Website: https://www.colabra.app/podcasts/talking-biotech/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colabrahq The Talking Biotech podcast is distinct from Dr. Kevin Folta's teaching and research roles at the University of Florida. The views expressed on the show are those of Dr. Folta and his guests, and do not reflect the opinions of the university or Colabra.
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