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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603584531
Year Added to Catalog: 2012
Book Format: Paperback
Book Art: Full-Color Throughout
Dimensions: 7 x 10
Number of Pages: 272
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: May 29, 2013
Web Product ID: 726

Also By This Author

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

by Gary Paul Nabhan

Foreword by Bill McKibben

Reviews, Interviews, & Articles

  • Publishers Weekly Review: 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.
  • ForeWord Review: When author and desert farmer Gary Paul Nabhan realized several years ago that climate change “would bear down on us for the rest of our lives,” he grew despondent. He was dismayed by the knowledge that our current food-producing system has played a “major role in generating the greenhouse emissions … that have accelerated climate change [over the last century].”

    And he was “convinced that there was little we could do over our lifetimes to stop the planetary hemorrhaging” and safeguard our food security.

    Nabhan then met Aziz Bousfiha, a Moroccan farmer and Sufi visionary who lives in Fez and farms just beyond the city’s edge. The landscape receives an average twenty inches of rainfall per year, yet Bousfiha managed to create a stunningly lush urban oasis of orchards and gardens—including lemon, lime, lavender, rose, scallions, leaks, garlic, tomatoes, olives, squash, beans, and corn. Nabhan was “floored” by Bousfiha’s inventiveness in the face of climatic uncertainty. “It inspired Nabhan to abandon the “fatalism, cynicism, and environmental determinism” that impede us from formulating workable solutions to adapt our food production to the effects of a warming planet and dwindling natural resources.

    Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land is Nabhan’s instructive and focused how-to that advocates collective participation, place-based solutions, and “mimicry” of “time-tried traditional practices from desert farmers around the world.” And it all begins with the understanding that “weather and food go hand in hand,” and that their essential symbiosis is in peril.

    The summer of 2011 was one of the hottest ever recorded in the United States. The severe heat exacerbated an already dry landscape and produced extreme drought—the effects of which had such a damaging impact on US agriculture that five hundred food-producing counties were declared disaster areas because they suffered weather-related crop failures.

    Summer wreaked more devastation in 2012. Nearly three thousand counties were declared disaster areas, while forty thousand new daily records for hot temperatures were reported across the country. By August, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization indicated that droughts across the Americas had caused global food prices to jump six percent in a single month.

    Indeed, climatic disruptions are worldwide, and global food production is suffering “heightened vulnerability.” The droughts of 2012 desiccated crops in Mexico, Canada, Russia, and Kazakhstan. In the high desert plateau of Jabal al-Akhdar in Oman, apricot, walnut, peach, and pomegranate trees are not sufficiently flowering and fruiting because warmer temperatures have reduced the number of chill hours required to keep fruit and nut trees dormant during the winter.

    These scenarios are dreadful, but the practical advice and pragmatic solutions that Nabhan offers engender optimism. He shows how to reduce heat stress on plants and animals by establishing a “boundary layer” of leafy trees to provide a shade canopy. Nabhan encourages constructing a living fencerow from organic matter to sequester carbon, protect fields from floods and winds, and prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff.

    For more than two thousand years, buried pottery pitchers have been used for crop irrigation in dry lands. Because of water scarcity, its practice is being revived, and Nabhan provides step-by-step instructions on how to construct this ancient, yet efficient irrigation system.

    Nabhan’s guide is highly specialized, technical, and insightful. It is doubtful that a general reader would have the patience needed to complete it, but the book is a must-have instruction manual for surviving climate change for desert farmers, orchard growers, crop farmers, ranchers, and backyard gardeners.

  • New York Times Op-ed: Our Coming Food Crisis
  • Worldwatch Institute Interview
  • Nabhan Named an Utne Reader Visionary
  • Boston Globe Article
  • Conservation Magazine Interview
  • Ethicurean Review of Where Our Food Comes From
  • Gary on Science Friday
  • Marketplace Interview
  • Interview
  • NPR Feature
  • Edible Radio
  • Saving Endangered Species One Mouthful at a Time - All Things Considered

Price: $29.95
Format: Paperback
Status: Available to Ship
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