American Agri-Women named Dr. Kevin Folta their 2019 Veritas Award recently at their AAW National Convention. Folta is known as an effective proponent of genetic engineering. He is a professor of horticulture at the University of Florida, where he has a distinguished career in aiding to sequence the strawberry genome and researches compounds that affect strawberry flavoring.
Known as a respected expert, he trains scientists, farmers, and those in natural resources how to communicate about agricultural innovations with a curious and concerned public. During his 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.
Folta is a frequent writer here at AGDAILY and at other popular media outlets, as well as a regular guest on podcasts including Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria, the Joe Rogan Experience. He also runs his own 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.
Folta’s prestigious recognitions include the 2016 CAST Borlaug Award in Agricultural Communications, a 2007 HHMI Distinguished Mentor of Undergraduate Research, the 2008 NSF CAREER Award, a 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. His latest achievements were the 2017 American Society of Plant Biologists Excellence in Public Service Award, and with the addition of the 2019 Veritas award it truly rounds out his distinguished career in science and communication.
The AAW Veritas award is the highest award given by AAW annually to a nonmember. It is presented to someone 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.”