A World Without Soil

Saturday, March 12, 2022

This talk is part of the Yale University Press-Yale Center Beijing "Find Your Next Great Read" Series.

Event Time

March 11, 2022 | Friday
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Central Standard Time
March 12, 2022 | Saturday
10:00 am - 11:00 am China Standard Time

Participation Format

Registration is required to obtain a ZOOM Conference access link, which will be sent to your registration email or phone shortly. Please enter the ZOOM room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the ZOOM conference.


Please click “HERE” to register.

Please send an email to yalecenterbeijing@yale.edu if there are any problems.



The language of the event will be English.

The Event

Soil is an essential part of the Earth’s ability to feed the world's population and it is key to climate stability. On March 12, Jo Handelsman, Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, will discuss her new book published by Yale University Press, A World Without Soil.

Professor Handelsman will share her motivation for writing the book after serving in the Obama Administration, and discuss the features of this precious and rapidly disappearing resource, what we can do to save it, and the consequences if we don’t. After Professor Handelsman's talk, Yan Shi, a pioneer in organic farming in China, will share her insights from building orgranic farming communities in China and comment on the book's relevance to China's agricultural development.




Jo Handelsman
Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jo Handelsman is Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology. She was previously Frederick Phineas Rose Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale and also previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama. Her research focuses on the role of small molecules on the structure and function of microbial communities. In the course of this work, she has discovered several new antibiotics from soil bacteria by traditional culture-based methods and metagenomics. She is founder of Tiny Earth, a consortium of college instructors and students across the world dedicated to discovering new antibiotics from soil bacteria. Her newest book, A World Without Soil, was recently published by Yale University Press.



Yan Shi
Founder and Executive Director, Shared Harvest Organic Farm
Co-President, International CSA Network (URGENCI)

Yan Shi is the Founder and Executive Director of Shared Harvest Organic Farm, and Co-President of International CSA Network (URGENCI). She received her PhD in Agricultural Economics and Rural Development from Renmin University of China, and completed postdoctoral research at Tsinghua University’s School of Social Sciences. She is a pioneering force and active promoter behind the Chinese organic community supported agriculture (CSA) movement.

Yan Shi has also published three books—My Alternative Farming Experience in America, Revolution from the Land to the Table, and Children of the Earth - Food and Agriculture Education—and translated three books—Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan, Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, and Slow Money.

Energy & Environment

Public Event