John Shuck speaks with professor emeritus Fred Provenza of Utah State University about nutrition, our bodies, the falsness of factory farming and the nutrition industry, and the importance of love on this unique journey to Earth. His book is called Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom.
Fred Provenza is originally from Colorado where he worked on a ranch near Salida while earning a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. Upon receiving a B.S. degree in 1973 he became ranch manager. In total, he and his wife Sue spent 7 years working on the ranch.He and Sue left the ranch in Colorado in 1975 so he could work as a research assistant and technician at Utah State University, where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Range Science. He was a faculty member in the Department of Range Science from 1982 to 2009. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University.
For the past 30 years, his group has produced ground-breaking research that laid the foundations for what is now known as behavior-based management of landscapes. That work inspired researchers in disciplines as diverse as chemical ecology, ruminant nutrition, human nutrition and biopsychology, animal welfare, landscape restoration ecology, wildlife damage management, pasture and rangeland science and management, and rural sociology and eco-development. Along with colleagues and graduate students, he has been author or co-author of 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, and he has been an invited speaker at over 325 international meetings.
Their efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents. That consortium, known as BEHAVE (Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation and Ecosystem Management http://www.behave.net), is committed to integrating behavioral principles and processes with local knowledge to enhance ecological, economic and social values of rural and urban communities and landscapes.They seek to inspire and enable people to understand behavior, ours and other creatures, to fashion environmentally friendly solutions that reconcile differences of opinion about how to manage landscapes. In this process, everyone involved is a student attempting to better understand behavior at all levels from genes to landscapes and to use understanding of behavior to help people learn to appreciate that our differences are our collective strength in sustaining communities and landscapes that integrate diverse ecological, economic and social values and services.