Virtuous Agriculture

With Andrea Illy and Rattan Lal

A special discussion on virtuous agriculture with Andrea Illy, Chairman of Illycaffè, and Rattan Lal, winner of the 2020 World Food Prize, hosted by World Coffee Research.

Featured Presenters

Hanna Neuschwander

Director of Communications and Strategy, World Coffee Research

The intersection of coffee, science, and communication is Hanna's passion. She is the author of over 50 magazine articles on coffee, and of the book Left Coast Roast. In her role as director of strategy and communications with WCR, she works closely with organizations across the coffee value stream to think about how to strategically align and communicate long-term sustainability investments.

Hanna neuschwander

Rattan Lal

World Food Prize Winner 2020

Dr. Lal serves as Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and founding Director of the Carbon Management & Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University (OSU). From his humble beginnings as a refugee growing up on a small subsistence farm in India, his determination to learn and succeed in school propelled him to become one of the world’s foremost soil scientists. His pioneering research on the restoration of soil health in Africa, Asia and Latin America led to revelations that impacted agricultural yields, natural resource conservation and climate change mitigation. The agricultural practices Lal advocated are now at the heart of efforts to improve agriculture systems in the tropics and globally.

Lal’s soil-centric approach is based on the premise that “the health of soil, plants, animals, people and the environment is one and indivisible.” His research shows that growing crops on healthy soils produces more from less: more food from less land area, less use of agrochemicals, less tillage, less water and less energy. As soils also provide essential environmental services such as retaining rainwater, filtering pollutants and providing habitat for all manner of organisms, it is all the more important for societies to manage soils sustainably.

“I believe soil is a living thing. That’s what soil health means, soil is life. Every living thing has rights. Therefore, soil also has rights,” Lal said. “As long as you are consuming the natural resources - food, water, elements - coming from the soil, you owe it to soil to put something back, to give something back, whatever you can.”

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Andrea Illy

Chairman, Illycaffè

Andrea Illy is the Chairman of illycaffè SpA and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer for over 22 years, until 2016. Mr Illy contributed to make the company famous for its innovation in espresso technology. He joined many boards and his writings are recognized in the coffee sector. Mr Illy, who used to define himself as a “humanist chemist”, firmly advocates for corporate responsibility as means to improve society and promotes culture and art. Among his several recognitions, Andrea Illy was named Cavaliere del Lavoro by the President of the
Italian Republic.

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Doug Welsh

VP Coffee & Roastmaster, Peet's Coffee

Doug has been the Vice President and Roastmaster at Peet's Coffee since 2004. He is the chair of the board of directors of World Coffee Research

Doug welsh