Skip to main content

After Dark: Growing Green

Aerial view of a river winding through fields, with a green area on one side and a golden yellow area on the other.
After Dark: Growing Green

Dig into new ideas about agriculture and food, and discover how we can contribute to a more sustainable future through renewable and natural resources. 

Don’t miss Open Question, our brand-new conversation series, where you’ll learn about eco-friendly food systems from leading experts. And hear from Florencia Pech-Cárdenas, our 2024 Osher Fellow who studies natural resource management in Yucatec Maya communities. 

Open Question: Bioeconomy
7:00 p.m.
Kanbar Forum
With Dan Kurzrock, Dr. Edward Spang, Zane Starkewolfe, and Dr. Ruihong Zhang
Moderated by Dr. Sarah Seiter

Building sustainable food systems is an urgent issue around the world. In 2021, the UN estimated that over one-third of available food goes uneaten through loss or waste worldwide—creating a burden on global economy and environment. Join us to learn about the future of renewable food systems, and how fungi might play a role in all of this.

  • Dan Kurzrock is the founder and CEO of Upcycled Foods, Inc., a pioneer in upcycled food innovation and food system circularity. He holds a BA from UCLA, where underage homebrewing started it all, and an MBA in sustainability from Presidio Graduate School.
  • Dr. Edward “Ned” Spang’s research focuses on how to understand and improve linked food, energy, and water resource systems. He is director of the Robert Mondavi Institute and faculty lead for the Food Loss and Waste Collaborative at UC Davis.
  • Zane Starkewolfe is CEO of Optimized Foods.
  • A professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering at UC Davis, Dr. Ruihong Zhang is a leading expert in the fields of bioprocessing and bioenvironmental engineering. She is a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
  • Dr. Sarah Seiter, Senior Science Writer (it rhymes) makes exhibits about the weird, beautiful, and fraught relationship between humans and their environments. She completed her PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Learn more about Open Question, our collaborative conversation series with UC Davis Grand Challenges.

In Partnership with
UC Davis Grand Challenges logo
Media Partner
SF Magazine logo
Maya Forest Management in the Yucatan Peninsula
8:00 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6, Terrace
With Florencia Pech-Cárdenas

Join Osher Fellow Florencia Pech-Cárdenas to learn about her research on the three main components that are the pillars of Maya Forest management: le k'áaxo', le koolo' yeetel le kaajo'. These three components allow today's Maya people to continue subsistence practices from ancient times while developing new opportunities to resist and drive in today's complex socioeconomic contexts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

  • Florencia Pech-Cárdenas is a Yucatec Maya and PhD candidate in the Natural Resources and Science Management Program at the University of Minnesota. She is a Fulbright scholar and a CONACYT (the National Science Foundation of Mexico) scholar. Her research has been awarded the Julia F. Morton Award (2018) by the Society of Economic Botany, and the Indigenous Ethnobiologist Fellowship (2019) by the Society of Ethnobiology. She has presented her research in the MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social/Active Women in Letters and Social Change) Summer Institute. She facilitates the study abroad program Sustainable Akumal: Turtles, Tourists, Cenotes and Coral Reefs  with Dr. Ray Newman.
The Colors of Maya Corn
9:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Classroom 1606
With Florencia Pech-Cárdenas and Doña María Ávila Vera

Presentation will be in Spanish.

In this hands-on demonstration, Florencia and Doña María will bridge knowledge systems from Western science and Indigenous worldviews, as they share the beauty and scientific genius of native corn practices from the Yucatan. They will share the story of 10,000 years of science in a delicious corn tortilla that you will be able to enjoy!