Eric Pallant

Eric Pallant is the author of Sourdough Culture: The History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers. He is a serious amateur baker, a two-time Fulbright Scholar, double, award-winning professor, and the Christine Scott Nelson Endowed Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability at Allegheny College. He is acknowledged for his skill in weaving research narratives into compelling stories for the Gresham Lecture Series, London, bread symposia, podcasts, and articles for magazines such as Gastronomica, Sierra, and Science.

3 words to describe Nature?

Surprising. Restorative. Necessary

3 things Nature taught you?

Nature is better than engineers at managing ecosystem functions.

Nature is everywhere and needs to be available to everyone, not restricted to wilderness jaunts reserved for privileged, white, and wealthy people.

Appreciating Nature, like appreciating most things in life, takes time. It cannot be rushed.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Wellfleet Harbor, Cape Cod, MA.

My compost pile

My sourdough starters

When you look at the OCEAN, it makes you feel...?


When you see a FOREST, it makes you feel...?


When you see a VOLCANO, it makes you feel...?

Heart thumpingly excited. I’ve actually walked up to the lava in a couple of active volcanoes.

When you see a SUNRISE or SUNSET, it makes you feel...?


When you hear THUNDER, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the WIND HOWLING, it makes you feel...?

Also happy. I love wind!

Are you an OCEAN, MOUNTAIN, FOREST, or DESERT person?

Ocean. No question!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I spent countless childhood hours digging holes with my hands under the porch in my suburban backyard. I was searching for arrowheads and fossils. I found many, probably none of which were real. But I have remained fascinated by soil ever since. I now understand that beyond the tiny invertebrates I encountered, soil contains more living things than anyplace on earth and represents the profound junction of earth’s biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere.