Book cover for What Your Food Ate: How to Heal Our Land and Reclaim Our Health, by David R Montgomery and Anne Biklé. Shows various vegetables in cross-section.During the pandemic lockdown, many people were dabbling in urban farming or growing houseplants. University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery was exploring a deeper topic: How do practices that rebuild soil health affect the quality of the food that comes from that soil?

His new book, “What Your Food Ate,” released June 21 from W.W. Norton & Company and co-authored by Anne Biklé, explores this question. It ties together many previous threads in Montgomery’s work on how practices that preserve the soil are better in the long run. The book also questions the exclusive focus on organic certification for the use of pesticides, versus farming practices that build healthier crops and livestock from below.

UW News asked Montgomery, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences and a winner of the MacArthur “Genius” Award, about the book and his continuing journey to chart a new way to view humanity’s relationship with the land.

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