The Science in Our Food
The Center’s facilities serve as regional, national and international resources
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In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners to take action to tackle the water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.
Fresh water is a critical component of sustainable agriculture and drought is the number one stress crops endure which limits yield. Food and energy crops cannot grow without water, but improving their response to drought will help them yield more crop per drop. At the Danforth Center, we are working to develop crops that are more drought-resistant and require less inputs. Center scientists are conducting basic research to improve crop productivity and soil health to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint.
A native prairie may contain several hundred species of plants have adapted to drought, changing climate and other stresses. By using science to understand the way native plants evolved in their environments, we can adapt our crops for a rapidly changing world. A significant redesign of the Center’s landscape, and reconstruction of a native Missouri tall grass prairie, including many varieties of flowering plants was an important part of the Danforth Center’s expansion. The six-acre prairie will showcase the vital connections between native landscapes, biodiversity and agriculture.
Knowledge gained from basic research will be important to developing applications for improved crop varieties that are able to better withstand low water conditions as well as changes in temperature.