A chapter of the richly illustrated course book, co-published with Kew, is authored by foremost forensic botanist, Patricia Wiltshire, who has worked on some of Britain’s highest-profile police inquiries; her pollen-based evidence was crucial in convicting Ian Huntley of the Soham murders. Why People Need Plants also includes chapters on agriculture, bio fuels, nutrition, medicine, climate change, biodiversity and conservation.
Course Chair, Carlton Wood, says: “With such a range of topics covered, this introductory course is ideal for anyone with a general interest in gardening, agriculture and how plants affect our lives.”
The potential use of genetically modified crops for feeding a growing world population is discussed, along with modern ways of cultivating plants on different scales. The possible health benefits of plants and their products are also explored, including a look into the world’s favorite drinks and the botanical aspects of marijuana. Finally, and timely in the International Year of Biodiversity, the importance of conserving the diversity of our natural heritage – in the UK and globally – is set in both a historical context and a vision for the future.