Richard Tate is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida and studies the science of Ethnobotany. He's originally from northern California and likes to cycle, play guitar and loves cats.
He does most of his research at Field and Fork on the campus of the University of Florida. Their mission is to provide visitors with the opportunity to participate in a community effort of sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Sometimes we don’t even know when we are influenced and surrounded by plants simply because we all eat food, we all use medicine and some of our houses are made of certain types of wood. Understanding more about how Ethnobotany works is crucial to understanding the world around you and the plants that you normally see as useless or normal. To be able to go out into the environment and know what something is and whether or not you can eat it is a really cool thing to know.
Most of his work is centered around how people use what they are given in the environment. He believes that you can learn a lot about a culture by how they use plants and sustainability methods.
You may be using this type of science and not even know you are. When you describe a plant as grass, you are using Ethnobotany techniques and methods used by scientists! You may see tree bark on a tree and call it bark. These are simple ways that you use Ethnobotany in everyday situations.
Mr. Tate would like to change the way people think about consuming plants and the irrational fear they have about certain healthy plants. Fungi-phobia, or the fear of mushrooms is a fear some people may have. For instance, some people may not order a mushroom pizza because they think mushrooms are gross or poisonous but in actuality, these mushrooms are healthy and nutritious.
If you would like to find out more, visit the Field and Fork website below!
This project was made by Andrew Eveland who is an Agricultural Communication major at the University of Florida. He interviewed Mr. Tate in order to reveal more about what he does with Field and Fork to the public. He hopes that people will use this knowledge to inform themselves and others about this topic. The main goal is to increase the overall interest in this subject as well as Field and Fork.