Farmers face challenges year-to-year: from radical changes in temperature patterns, causing issues with vegetable growth, to new cosmetic market standards for the crops they grow.
Farmers are forced to continually adapt.
Farmers are also trying to do a better job communicating their care for the environment.
John Purcell, the Global R&D Lead at Bayer, said, "We did a really crappy job; for years, we talked to everybody in the chain."
"Two percent of the American population today are farmers," Purcell said. "And now everybody's talking about food, but we were (only) talking to the chain; we should have been talking to the 98%."
Terry Berke, Ph.D., a pepper breeder for Seminis, holds up a bunch of Cherry Bomb Peppers grown at the Bayer Vegetable Farm in Woodland, California. Berke helped to breed the Chichen Itza habanero pepper grown mostly on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.
The Chichen Itza is resistant to most widespread infectious diseases, along with having a faster growing season. Harvest averages two weeks earlier than other breeds. Chichen Itza is now one of the most sold habanero breeds in Mexico.
Growing peppers like the Chichen Itza helps to reduce food loss due to their hardiness. With less food lost, more is yielded. Less waste is produced and more people are fed.
Sustainable practices do not occur with only the growing and harvesting of vegetables, but also with the feeding of crops. University of California, Davis Ph.D. students Tyler John Barzee and Abdolhossein Edalati show their work with the on-campus biodigester.
(Photography by Olivia Bergmeier)