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Daniela Soleri

Associate Research Scientist, UC Davis Agriculture Experiment Station and UC Santa Barbara Geography Department

Daniela Soleri

My formal training was an interdisciplinary mix of anthropology and plant sciences, resulting in a PhD in ethnoecology with a minor in plant sciences from the University of Arizona. My research has focused on small scale agriculture, often in centers of crop origin and diversity, investigating farmers’ knowledge and practices, and the implications of those for food production, crop diversity and technology adoption. In particular, I am interested in developing methods that facilitate substantive public participation—such as the participation of poor farmers—in scientific research and the policies that are formulated as a result of that research. Examples of this include the development of scenario methods for determining similarities and difference between farmers’ and plant breeders’ observations and understandings of the genotype x environment that is fundamental to biology and selection of plant breeding strategies. Similarly, colleagues and I used scenarios to document farmers’ attitudes toward risk in their agriculture systems, including in the form of new technologies such as genetically modified crops. Although applied only in ‘third world’ contexts, I am hoping to explore these same approaches in other situations relevant to local development and conservation. Our overarching hypothesis in this research is that substantive early participation will result in the development of policies and technologies that are more relevant and effective for meeting the needs of those most affected.