Growing Food in a Hotter, Dryer Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

Gary Paul Nabhan. Chelsea Green, $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-60358-453-1
Nabhan, an ethnobotanist, cofounder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, and prolific author, draws on his longtime relationships with the land and people of the Southwest U.S., together with wisdom from farmers and gardeners in Egypt, Mexico, and other dry places, to suggest solutions for growing food and developing agricultural resiliency as climate change affects wider swaths of the planet. He discusses using hedge fences (he calls them “fredges”) to minimize flood damage; choosing ancient and traditional methods for water management; soil building using local materials; terracing for fertility and erosion control; creating polycultures with perennials and drought-hardy plants; and attracting and supporting native pollinators. This information, which includes detailed instructions and lists of plants and pollinators, will undoubtedly be useful to farmers and gardeners facing more volatile weather patterns. Their spirits may lift as well with the book’s somber but hopeful poetic tone, exemplified by Moroccan Sufi mystic and farmer Aziz Bousfiha, who is working to transform deserts into living oases: “It’s not just activism I am talking about... I am talking about something larger, deeper: participating in the creation—for that is the... expression of our love.” (June 20)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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