November 10, 2006

Geography chair to give keynote at organic conference

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Leslie A. Duram, chair of the geography and environmental resources department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will deliver the keynote address at the third annual Illinois Organic Production Conference in Bloomington, set for Dec. 6 and 7.

For more than a decade, Duram has investigated the organic farming movement, which is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, with an annual increase of at least 20 percent.

Duram's 2005 book "Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works" explained why organic production and consumption saw such growth. The work made Duram a speaker in high demand.

"I'm happy to be participating in this conference which has such great potential to inform Illinois farmers about the possibilities of organic production," Duram said

Duram will discuss the current status of organic agriculture in the United States, especially with regard to policy, economics and marketing. She will also describe case studies of farmers from California, Colorado New York, Illinois and Florida "who are wonderful examples of independent, gutsy individuals who are succeeding in organic farming," she said.

Duram joined SIUC in 1994. Her teaching specializations are in environmental management, land use and organic agriculture.

"Being at SIUC for over 12 years has given me many unique opportunities to follow my own interests in research," Duram said. "Working in the Department of Geography and Environmental Resources has been a wonderful experience, as we all work in the environmental realm and we encourage one another, discuss various issues and generally seek solutions to environmental problems. Our students, faculty and staff are a great bunch to work with."

Duram earned a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University, a master's degree in geography from Kansas State University and a doctorate in geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Supporting and fostering faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Leslie A. Duram

Leslie A. Duram
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