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Season 1: Feeding a Growing Population

Climate change threatens to make sustainably feeding two billion more people by 2050 a seemingly impossible task. We’ll need to grow more food, more efficiently and waste less. In Season 1 of Unfold, hosts Amy Quinton and Alexa Renee talk with UC Davis researchers working to make agriculture more sustainable about potential solutions to the challenges that lie ahead.

Unfold will examine new technologies and innovations to help feed more people while sustaining the planet. And for those who can’t stomach this feast of information on such a serious subject, Unfold will have a few more easily digestible and flavorful bites that pair well with wine and beer.

Unfold Season 1 Episodes

Bonus Bite 4: What Happened to Flavor?

Breeding for pest and disease resistance in plants is common practice in modern agriculture. Scientists typically focus on breeding for traits that result in higher yields and a longer shelf-life to keep up with supply and demand. But in this Bonus Bite episode, we shift into a conversation about breeding for flavor, a mostly neglected trait up until now. Flavor breeding is considered “the last frontier of plant breeding” by some experts and could bring tastier products to our tables. This episode covers the work of UC Davis researchers in search of a tastier fruit.

In this episode:

Steve Knapp, director of the Strawberry Breeding Program. His research focuses on the breeding, genetics and genomics of strawberries.

Florence Zakharov, flavor expert and associate professor of plant sciences. Her research focuses on the development of fruit aroma and the chemical elements and objective assessment of fruit flavor.

Episode Details

Bonus Bite 3: Climate Through the Grapevine

California wine country tempts visitors from across the globe with its famous fruit. But the California produces more than 80 percent of U.S. wine and comes in fourth in world wine production, generating more than $57 billion in state economic impact. With those numbers, it’s easy to see why it’s important for California’s vineyards to stay healthy. This Bonus Bite episode explores the future of California wine under a changing climate. Grape geneticist Andy Walker chats with Unfold about the role Texas could play in helping California vineyards adapt to warmer temperatures.

In this episode:

Andy Walker, grape breeder, geneticist and professor of viticulture and enology. His research focuses on developing disease and pest-resistant rootstocks, as well as breeding table, raisin and wine grapes with resistance to Pierce’s disease and powdery mildew.

Episode Details

Bonus Bite 2: The Father of Wine

California wine country tempts visitors from across the globe with its famous fruit. But the Golden State wouldn’t be able to boast its world-class bounty without UC Davis wine scientist, Maynard Amerine. This Bonus Bite episode centers around the pioneering researcher and his contributions to the California wine industry. The former professor and viticulture chair passed away in 1998 but left behind a legacy of work including his co-development of the Winkler Index, which is still used to determine optimal wine grape growing regions. Amerine is also credited with helping develop an objective way of judging wine quality, elevating the market for wine.

In this episode:

Axel Borg, subject specialist librarian for Researcher Services at the UC Davis Library​.

Episode Details

Bonus Bite 1: Stranger Beers with Charlie Bamforth

After nearly 40 years in the beer business, Charlie Bamforth holds the crown as “The Pope of Foam.” The now-retired UC Davis professor kicks off Unfold’s first Bonus Bite episode in a light-hearted discussion about the hoppy beverage. Bamforth describes some of the strangest beers he’s come across throughout decades in the business and takes some playful jabs at beer’s rival, wine.

In this episode:

Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences Emeritus.

Episode Details

Episode 6: Food Politics

As we discussed the topic of how to sustainably feed two billion more people on the planet by 2050, one thing became perfectly clear to us: food is controversial. Everyone has an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t eat and why. In this episode, we explore why we get into heated debates and arguments when we talk about food.

In this episode:

Charlotte Biltekoff, associate professor of American studies and food science and technology at UC Davis. Author of “Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health.”

Episode Details

Episode 5: Is the Chicken Local?

Imagine you could know exactly where your food comes from, how it was grown, what kind of soil it was grown in and how it was handled and distributed. What if you could find out whether you should eat it based on your dietary needs or how you should cook it based on your own preferences? UC Davis experts are helping build this food information superhighway, known as the Internet of Food. In this episode, we’ll talk to a UC Davis expert working to engineer the new computable infrastructure about how the Internet of Food will help make food more transparent, traceable and personalized.

In this episode:

Matthew Lange, food and health informatician at UC Davis and principal investigator of IC-Foods. He’s assembling, designing and building the Internet of Food.

Episode Details

Episode 4: The Future of Food

Genetic modification may get a lot of consumers’ attention, but plant breeders have newer tools for creating crops. Food that’s been gene-edited using CRISPR is now on store shelves. In this episode, we look at biotechnologies such as gene-editing and CRISPR and how they could potentially help reduce food waste and create higher-yielding or disease-resistant crops. We’ll examine how these new techniques could produce a healthier potato and a longer-lasting tomato. And we’ll look at what  biotechnology could mean for animal agriculture. We’ll talk to UC Davis experts working with these new tools and discuss what their work could mean for the future of food.

In this episode:

Diane Beckles, an associate professor and associate postharvest biochemist. She is researching the molecular factors that lead to postharvest chilling injury in the tomato and other fruit.

Alison Van Eenennaam, extension specialist in animal biotechnology and genomics with the Department of Animal Science. She uses DNA-based biotechnologies in beef cattle production and agriculture systems.

Episode Details

Episode 3: You've Come a Long Way, Baby Carrot

A California carrot farmer invented the baby-cut carrot while trying to reduce food waste. Perhaps he knew that nearly one-third of all the food grown or produced in the world is wasted. In this episode of Unfold, we’ll examine how and why food gets wasted on the farm and in the supply chain. We’ll take you to a landfill to show you what happens to the food that you scrape off your plate. The episode examines the unexpected reasons why we waste so much food and how finding solutions to the problem can help feed a growing population.

In this episode:

Edward Spang, assistant professor of food science and technology. His work focuses on food loss and waste and the efficiency of linked water, energy and food resource systems.

Elizabeth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and a UC Davis postharvest expert.

Eric Oddo, program manager, Western Placer County Waste Management Authority

Episode Details

Episode 2: GMO OMG

How much do you know about GMOs? If you’re like most consumers, you’re probably aware of the non-GMO label that appears on so many organic foods. Organic farming and genetic engineering appear be on opposite ends of the political debate in agriculture. But in this episode of Unfold, we talk to two UC Davis experts who believe that organic farming and genetic engineering don’t have to be so antagonistic. They argue a blend of both types of agriculture is key to helping sustainably feed more people.

In This Episode:

  • Pam Ronald, UC Davis professor of plant pathology in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • Raoul Adamchak, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Coordinator

Episode Details

Episode 1: What's the Beef With Beef?

Cattle have been getting a bad rep as environmentally unfriendly sources of climate-changing greenhouse gases. They belch methane, which is shorter-lived than carbon dioxide but more potent in warming the atmosphere. These facts have advocates urging the public to eat less beef. But animal-sourced food also plays a vital role in global nutrition. In this episode, we look more closely at cattle’s environmental hoofprint and look at how UC Davis scientists are researching ways to make livestock more sustainable.

In This Episode:

  • Pat BrownCEO and founder of Impossible Foods
  • Frank MitloehnerUC Davis Department of Animal Science​ professor and air quality specialist
  • Ermias Kebreab, professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair with the Department of Animal Science
  • Ken Tateprofessor and rangeland watershed management extension specialist

Episode Details

 

Unfold - Season 1 Trailer

Listen to Unfold episodes free, on demand. Unfold, a UC Davis podcast. A podcast that unfolds complicated problems and discusses solutions. Hosted by Amy Quinton and Alexa Renee.

Hosts Alexa Renee and Amy Quinton

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