Available in Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, and other platforms through this link

Roots, tubers and bananas (RTBs) are essential for global food security – and delicious!  RTBs include bananas and plantains, cassava, potato, sweet potato, and yam.

This EP, Cassava No. 7, presents piano sketches celebrating RTBs and the people who work with them: farmers, cooks, crop breeders, seed growers and sellers, and system researchers. It celebrates the completion of one phase of a long-term project to improve RTB health and seed systems, and the beginning of another project phase, and is inspired by projects funded by CGIAR, US NSF, USDA, and USAID.

A share of the proceeds from music sales will support international research workshops in which University of Florida students collaborate with students at universities in Africa, South America, and Asia in research to address crop health and improved crop seed systems.

The piano music in this EP is available 22 April 2022 in SpotifyAmazon and other platforms.

The music was improvised by K.A. Garrett, a preeminent professor in the Plant Pathology Department and Food Systems Institute (FSI) with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at University of Florida.

Recording engineer: Jesse Lavigne at 522 Studio Nashville, TN

Mix engineer: Bill Warner

Mastering engineer: Benny Quinn

Producer: Amanda Colleen Williams

Publisher: Hillbilly Culture LLC

Special thanks to Pete Garfinkel

(p)(c) 2022 K.A. Garrett / Administered by Bluewater Music Services Corp.

Piano sketches

1.Beauregard. Beauregard is a very popular old sweet potato variety, an essential dish in the Southeastern US and other parts of the world. Sweet potato is usually propagated with stem cuttings, so it is important to have a good strategy for protecting sweet potato health against viruses that can spread and reduce productivity (e.g., Ogero et al. 2019). We also address how to prioritize testing for diseases in seed system networks and how to study and enhance the spread of improved and traditional varieties (e.g., Andersen et al. 2019, Garrett 2021).

2.OFSP. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are an important source of Vitamin A and an innovation in many regions. Projects like this one with the International Potato Center make orange-fleshed sweet potatoes available to children who would otherwise be at risk of Vitamin A deficiencies.

3.Banana Flower. Bananas and plantains are important parts of diets around the world and are beautiful plants in tropical landscapes. Banana flowers, both delicate and ponderous, are popular in salads where bananas are produced locally. The health of the popular dessert variety Cavendish is threatened globally by the spread of a new type of Fusarium wilt, caused by Tropical Race 4 (TR4). The health of plantains is also threatened by diseases that can make plantains less reliable as a diet staple if they are not managed well. Our projects address strategies for detecting and managing invasive banana pathogens (e.g., Dantes et al.; Xing et al. 2020, Garrett 2021).

4.Cassava No. 7. Cassava, or yuca, is a tough plant that grows successfully where other crops may fail. It’s used in foods from staple fermented dishes like fufu to tapioca and bubble tea. Cassava health is also vulnerable to pathogens spreading globally and our projects look at how to protect cassava health, including healthy seed systems (e.g., Delaquis et al. 2019).

5.New Potatoes. Potatoes are an important crop from the tropics to cold regions of the world. Threats to potato health have had major impacts, such as the Irish potato famine triggered by a disease, potato late blight in the 1800s. Currently many countries still lack effective seed systems to make healthy potato planting materials available to farmers (Thomas-Sharma et al. 2016). Our projects address how to protect potato health and improve seed systems (e.g., Andersen Onofre et al. 2021, Buddenhagen et al. 2017, Buddenhagen et al. 2022, Navarrete et al. 2022, Garrett 2021).

6.Wild Yam. There are several wild species of yams around the world, with many being robust vines. In the U.S., sweet potatoes are sometimes called yams, but ‘true’ yams are different species. Yam dishes are a key part of meals, from pounded or boiled yam to purple yam (ube) desserts. Our projects address yam health and seed systems (e.g., Xing et al. 2020).

The piano music in this EP is available 22 April 2022 in SpotifyAmazon and other platforms.

Vietnam - banana flowers strapped to motorbike (small)