Cary Fowler ′71, "World′s Seed Banker," Featured in The New Yorker


Publication Date: 8/30/2007

Cary Fowler ′71, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, is featured in the August 27 article, "Sowing for the Apocalypse," in The New Yorker magazine. Based in Rome, Italy, the trust′s mission is to fight current and future world hunger through crop diversity.

Fowler was formerly professor and director of research in the Department for International Environment & Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He also was a senior adviser to the director general of Bioversity International.

Fowler′s career in the conservation and use of crop diversity spans 30 years. He was program director for the National Sharecroppers Fund/Rural Advancement Fund, a US-based NGO engaged in plant genetic resources education and advocacy.

In the 1990s, he headed the International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources at FAO, which produced the UN′s first ever global assessment of the state of the world’s plant genetic resources. He drafted and supervised negotiations of FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, adopted by 150 countries in 1996.

That same year he served as special assistant to the secretary general of the World Food Summit. He is a past member of the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the U.S. and the board of trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.

Fowler is the author of several books on the subject of plant genetic resources and more than 75 articles on the topic in agriculture, law and development journals.