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Diary of a Space Zucchini: Future Food on Earth and in Orbit

The first celebrity squash in outer space a was a zucchini grown in "0-Gravity" aeroponically - its roots floating free of soil or pooling water in an open plastic baggie to float through the International Space Station alongside its gardener, scientist-astronaut Don Pettit. Ventriloquized by the astronaut in a "first-plant" blog to earthlings, Zucchini told a story of the glory and perils of coming of age on orbit, inspiring a following on Twitter and a public radio dramatization. It also encouraged college science students to think of their own futures in terms of frontier narratives of discovery and colonization off-Earth. Meanwhile, aeroponic gardening was taking off on Earth - from hobbyists' rooftop gardens to aeroponics exhibits in Epcot's Future World greenhouse, to ambitious plant biology laboratories and commercial industries breaking ground in abandoned inner city factories.

In her presentation Debbora Battaglia, Professor of Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College, will ask: Is aeroponics a solution for nourishing a planet under extreme stress from climate change? Or is it pointing to an off-planet future as if this were, in reality, the only real way forward for earthling life and growth?

Free and open to the public.