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Two Seattle Authors on the Benefits of Microbes

Invisible microbes are transforming the way we view nature and our bodies, and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine. Good health — for both plants and people — depends heavily on fostering beneficial microbes in our soils and guts.

These are the major conclusions of an intriguing new book, The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (W. W. Norton, 2016), by University of Washington earth scientist David R. Montgomery and biologist Anne Biklé.

The authors provide “a wonderfully fresh and exquisitely informed approach that could change how we relate to ourselves, our diets, our gardens and the world,” wrote Tim McNulty in The Seattle Times.

In an Orcas Currents lecture on Saturday, May 7, 2016, Montgomery and Biklé discussed these radical insights and their ramifications for our tangled relationship with the natural world — especially on how intelligent use of these microbes could transform agriculture and medicine.

David R. Montgomery is Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, where he founded and directs the Geomorphological Research Group. A MacArthur Fellow, he is the author of King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization and The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood — which all won Washington State Book Awards. Anne Biklé, his wife, is a biologist and author with wide-ranging interests and involvement in public health, watershed restoration, and environmental planning.

After the lecture, the Orcas Food Co-op hosted a public reception for the speakers and coauthors, who were pleased to sign copies of their books.

This event was sponsored by Joe Cohen and Martha Farish. As with all Orcas Currents events, admission was free, but donations are welcome.