Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land by Gary Paul Nabhan

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

Published: June 14, 2013

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1603584531

I have long enjoyed reading books by Gary Paul Nabhan. A nature writer, farming activist, and promoter of environmental and cultural diversity, Nabhan has lived on his small farm in Patagonia, Arizona, and worked and studied throughout the Sonora desert for more than 30 years. He has researched the plants and farming techniques of indigenous peoples around the world and is also one of the founders of ‘Native Seed Search’ an organization that saves, shares and sells heirloom and ‘landrace’ seeds adapted to dry climates. His books offer a tour of specific regions through ethnobotanist eyes with a knack for identifying and preserving rare, endangered, or sometimes thought-to-be extinct plants and seeds as well as the agricultural practices of the indigenous culture present there.
Here, he presents a timely “how to” review of farming techniques to cope with hotter, drier climate conditions based on the ancient knowledge of farmers from arid regions around the world.
This book has given me many new insights and challenged some of my long held views. For example, there is a form of gardening I have been practicing and promoting for years: the forest garden, where one tries to establish a self sustaining, permaculture based environment utilizing perennial plants in overlapping layers, a form of gardening that has existed in temperate climes for hundreds if not thousands of years and is doable on a scale of ¼ acre up. Well, the problem is that with where we are now and likely headed in the future because of the climate crisis, this model must be adapted to include many more annual species if we are to adequately feed ourselves. These species are not necessarily drought or heat resistant but are fast enough in their growth cycle to beat the heat altogether. Thus adding another “layer” of diversification to the food/medicine forest garden.It also means that choices for species grown in the forest garden (fruiting trees and shrubs) must increasingly be those that have low chilling hour requirements and are more heat stress tolerant.
As a result I am this year experimenting with seeds such as tepary beans and flour corn that will finish in 60 days! (seeds acquired from Native Seed Search) and have added in to my on-going forest garden project many small “Sun Pocket” and “terrace plots” for the growing of such items.
All of Nabhan’s many books are a pleasure to read whether you garden or not. This one is a must for any who take their food production seriously!

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