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Seeing is Believing
by ASHS President Curt Rom
I have a wanderlust. I presume many of you may as well. Mine probably started when I was a child with annual family camping trips. Many of them revolved around the ASHS meetings. My family would camp there and back, and if there was a campground close to the campus hosting the meeting, there we would be. I remember seeing my father put on his tie and coat in the tent to head to the meetings; he was the best-dressed person in the campground. On those trips, we visited state and national parks, state capitols, historic sites. With a horticulturist for a father, we would occasionally visit a farm and a botanic garden.
That love of travel and seeing new things continued and intensified in college. I was fortunate to receive a fellowship to attend Wilderness Leadership School in Durbin, South Africa—20 days in the bush observing wildlife in the wilderness and talking about conservation ecology. That event had a big impact on me—learning in situ; simultaneously experiencing, learning, and discussing. That was followed by a brief hitchhiking stint in southern African, and then a few months “bumming” around Europe on my way home. In retrospect, that activity helped develop my ideas about conservation and sustainability that I now apply to my thoughts, research, and teaching on farming system sustainability. The intellectual jump from the wilderness to a farming system does not seem that far.
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