Wilted: Verticillium dahliae in the Making and Unmaking of California’s Strawberry Industry


The project will trace the California strawberry industry’s socio-natural history to show how a suite of advantages turned into interlocking threats. Specific chapters will focus on the role of soil-borne plant pathogens, plant breeding, fumigant qualities and regulation, land quality and values, and labor. For the purposes of this research partnership, I am particularly interested in receiving scientific research support in order to burnish my explanations regarding soil and water quality, plant genetics, plant pathogenicity, and agro-chemical effects.

I am looking for a research partner with training in agricultural sciences or agroecology. Specialized knowledge in plant pathology, soil science, plant breeding/genetics, and/or environmental toxicology would be ideal. As scientific questions arise, the research partner will locate and read relevant resources, discuss key points with me, and, as needed, produce usable (accessible) text explaining the answers.

The project will benefit by having richer explanations of the biophysical mechanisms that partially comprise the challenges of intensive strawberry production than I am able to produce with my limited knowledge. The student will benefit by learning about the social and political economic factors that shape agricultural production, as well as learning about California agriculture more generally. Should the student wish to publish, a jointly-written article is also possible.