Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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2022 Land Steward Award Winner Juan Carlos Díaz-Pérez   — The Filth


Whereas Juan Carlos Díaz-Pérez has spectacular credentials—B.S. in Agriculture & Plant Science (College of Guadalajara), Masters and Ph.D. levels in Plant Physiology (College of California, Davis), creator/contributor to quite a few research—to satisfy him, one is struck by his sort, energetic, and engaged countenance.  

Juan Carlos’ work has considerably impacted the proverbial discipline of sustainable agriculture. Georgia Organics’ Director of Advocacy and former Farmer Providers Director Michael Wall shares: “Juan Carlos Díaz-Pérez has been a affected person, persistent power of progress for natural growers for many years. He’s performing natural analysis longer than anybody else in Georgia and has superior cultural and technical approaches from his experimental fields to broad adoption amongst natural diversified vegetable growers throughout the southeast.  

Wall cites an instance of his decades-long pioneering work: experimenting with and proving the validity of plasticulture as a method of weed suppression, individually extolling its virtues to growers. Plasticulture is now acknowledged and applied as an necessary instrument utilized by natural and even some non-organic growers throughout the South.  

Juan Carlos additionally leads analysis into natural fertilization and canopy crops to enhance soil high quality. He additionally makes use of cultural methods to take care of rising pest pressures created or exacerbated by local weather change, together with the dreaded whitefly.  

Put merely, says Wall: “Juan Carlos has the type of tenacity it takes to maneuver the needle from the within of a flawed system.”  

“I’ve Native American, Indigenous heritage and have all the time had lots of respect and appreciation for my ancestry, particularly regarding Native Individuals’ love and respect for Mom Nature and the soil; they’re my masters, and I all the time hold that in thoughts once I do my work in sustainable agriculture.”  

Díaz-Pérez developed a love and understanding of crops early, from the backyard and fruit bushes in his household’s yard in Guadalajara, the place he was born and raised. As a university pupil, he developed an curiosity in greens from a next-door neighbor, a Spanish immigrant escaping World Conflict II, who was a vegetable crops small farmer.

As a pupil, he first famous the dangerous results of standard agriculture practices in his neighborhood, as his farming neighbors shifted away from ancestral, Indigenous farming practices to adapt to the trendy market. This primary-hand statement of the impoverishment of the soil sparked his ardour for researching and understanding how one can develop meals whereas respecting Mom Nature.  

Juan Carlos was a professor, scientist, and horticulture author in Mexico when he first met UGA representatives at an ag convention within the US and realized of the CAES job opening. It wasn’t till he returned to Mexico that the worth of the brand new alternative sunk in. And simply in time, too, the appliance deadline was for the subsequent day.  

He gathered and in a single day shipped his utility to Tifton, and the remaining is historical past.  

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