(UF/IFAS) — Kevin Folta, a University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences horticulture professor with a distinguished career in strawberry genetics, was honored with the Veritas award by American Agri-Women (AAW) at their recent convention in Tigard, Oregon.
The Veritas award is the highest award given by AAW to a non-member. It is presented annually to a person who has given public witness to “the pursuit of truth” in accordance with the principles enunciated in the AAW statement of philosophy, “The Call to Power.” Folta is a respected expert in training scientists, farmers and others in natural resources in how to communicate about agricultural innovations with a curious and concerned public.
He is a regular guest on popular podcasts, including “Skeptics Guide to the Universe,” “Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria” and “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Folta also frequently writes for popular media and runs a weekly podcast, “Talking Biotech.” These communications conduits serve to spread an important message about sustainably feeding a planet — all technologies must be considered, and innovation only moves to application with communication. He is especially known as an effective proponent of genetic engineering.
During a presentation to the convention attendees, Folta encouraged the group to seek common ground in conversations with those who may be cautious or skeptical of genetic engineering or other agricultural tools.
In 2016 he was recognized with the prestigious CAST Borlaug Award in Agricultural Communications. He was recognized in 2007 as an HHMI Distinguished Mentor of Undergraduate Research, 2008 with the NSF CAREER Award, in 2009 with the Northern Illinois University “LA&S Top 50 Graduates,” the 2010 UFRF Research Professor Award, and in 2013 was one of two faculty recognized with the UF Postdoctoral Mentoring Award. In 2017 he was recognized with the American Society of Plant Biologists Excellence in Public Service Award. The Veritas award is the latest award in a distinguished career in science and communication.
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