Dr. Thomas Graham

Dr. Thomas Graham, a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), spoke to the National Post about why learning to grow food in space will benefit us on Earth.

Graham was recently named co-chair of the Deep Space Food Challenge jury along with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. They will lead a national jury to vet ideas for growing crops in space.

The Canadian Space Agency teamed up with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch the competition earlier this year.

Other U of G members of the 11-member jury include Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, Department of Food Science, and Dr. Cara Wehkamp, special adviser to the president on Indigenous initiatives and an SES doctoral grad.

Graham said innovations discovered during the challenge may improve life on Earth as well.

“Doing it better there, under the really tight requirements of space, allows us to improve things here for the betterment of us all. It will make our food systems more secure.”

Graham holds the PhytoGro Research Chair in Controlled Environment Systems at U of G and has 25 years of experience in space-related research, including a three-year post-doctoral stint at NASA.