Chelsea Green Publishing

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

Pages:272 pages
Book Art:Full color illustrations throughout
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584531
Pub. Date June 14, 2013
eBook: 9781603584548
Pub. Date June 14, 2013

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

By Gary Paul Nabhan
Foreword by Bill McKibben

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
June 14, 2013

$29.95

Availability: In Stock

eBook

Available Date:
June 14, 2013

$29.95 $23.96

How to harvest water and nutrients, select drought-tolerant plants, and create natural diversity

Because climatic uncertainty has now become "the new normal," many farmers, gardeners and orchard-keepers in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt their food production to become more resilient in the face of such "global weirding." This book draws upon the wisdom and technical knowledge from desert farming traditions all around the world to offer time-tried strategies for:

  • Building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils
  • Protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods
  • Harvesting water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops
  • Delecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates

Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the world's experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands. For this book he has visited indigenous and traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America, to learn firsthand their techniques and designs aimed at reducing heat and drought stress on orchards, fields, and dooryard gardens. This practical book also includes colorful "parables from the field" that exemplify how desert farmers think about increasing the carrying capacity and resilience of the lands and waters they steward. It is replete with detailed descriptions and diagrams of how to implement these desert-adapted practices in your own backyard, orchard, or farm.

This unique book is useful not only for farmers and permaculturists in the arid reaches of the Southwest or other desert regions. Its techniques and prophetic vision for achieving food security in the face of climate change may well need to be implemented across most of North America over the next half-century, and are already applicable in most of the semiarid West, Great Plains, and the U.S. Southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Publishers Weekly-

“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 Reviews-

“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.

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.”

“Gary Nabhan’s books never fail to inspire and inform me. This book is no exception. After just one read through I’ve dog-eared, highlighted, and noted countless gems, facts, and stories to which I will return again and again. The pattern of the book makes this easy. Each section begins with a Warm-Up problem, followed by a Parable of people or natural systems addressing the problem. Principles and Premises distilled from the problem and parable, along with Planning and Practice tips then help me work cooperatively with the life around me to formulate solutions unique to my site’s conditions and changing climate.

Best of all, I feel I’m part of an incredibly diverse, caring community as I do so, thanks to Gary sharing so many engaging examples of different people, cultures, and ecosystems doing likewise. Read this book!”--Brad Lancaster, author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

“If the 20th century strove to insulate us from the harsh realities of nature (whilst exacerbating its extremes), Gary Nabhan’s latest book introduces us to the 21st century's rude reminders that change is here, uncertainty commonplace. With little room for the hand-wringers, Nabhan provides everyone else, from novice gardener to deep ecologist, important food for thought and the practical know-how to address our modern problems with ancient desert wisdom. I couldn't put it down.”--Richard McCarthy, executive director, Slow Food USA

“In a world where climate change is the new normal, Gary Nabhan offers a blueprint for food production. Using desert agriculture as a backdrop, Nabhan is the ideal guide for understanding and addressing the challenges of rising temperatures, depleting water resources, and ever-shifting conditions. It is a cautionary book of hope, full of dry-farming wisdom, to-do lists, and Gary Nabhan’s enjoyable combination of insight and humor.”--Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight, CAFO, and Farming with the Wild

“Drylands are home to 40 percent of the world’s people: a figure sure to rise in the coming decades as our world grows more parched. That is why Gary Nabhan's latest book is indispensable.  Everyone who grows food -- make that, everyone who eats food -- should be grateful he wrote it. An homage to old wisdom and to the latter-day soil magicians who are Nabhan's living muses, it is a rich herbarium of delicious, hardy sustenance and a manual for our future.”--Alan Weisman, author, The World Without Us and Countdown

"All of Gary Nabhan's books carry us on deep, enchanting journeys to the hearts of people, plants, and cultures across the world. Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land offers the rich stories and cultural insights we've come to expect, but now, when we badly need it, Gary also tells us explicitly how to use the dryland wisdom he's assembled over a lifetime. Heaped with practical principles, techniques, plant lists, parables, and more, his new book offers important tools for preserving our food and water security on a warmer, stormier planet. I'm inspired and heartened by this timely and important offering from a true desert sage.”--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

“In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land Gary Paul Nabhan has crafted a cogent treatise blending his own considerable knowledge and experience with the traditional ecological wisdom of indigenous desert farmers, who have been thriving in the face of climate uncertainty for many generations.

The hard-won lessons and innovations described in this book are applicable for farmers cultivating in all changing climates, and inspirational for all people who depend on their survival and success.  A must-have arrow in the quiver for all pragmatic Thrivalists!”--Brock Dolman, director, WATER Institute and Permaculture Design Program, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center

“Gary Paul Nabhan offers a necessary guide to the ways of plants, and to managing water wisely in an increasingly unpredictable climate. Past civilizations could have used a book like this. And if we ourselves don't want to become a distant memory, we would do well to heed the hard-won lessons of desert farmers from around the world, and learn the practical earth skills needed to create a permaculture oasis of our own.”--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower

“We face an unprecedented future. The scale and speed of the changes bearing down on us as a consequence of climate uncertainty has no analog in history. Fortunately, we have guides like Gary Paul Nabhan to lead us through the crazy labyrinth in which we find ourselves. By looking to age-old practices and taking lessons from nature, Dr. Nabhan builds a compelling case for a type of resilience that matters whether you are a food producer or eater – which is everyone!”--Courtney White, founder and creative director, Quivira Coalition

AWARDS

  • Winner - New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, Gardening Category - 2014
  • Winner - Garden Writers Association Media Award, Silver Award for Achievement

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Paul Nabhan

Gary Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona, as well as the permaculture designer and orchard-keeper of Almuniya de los Zopilotes Experimental Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the local-food movement and grassroots seed conservation, Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of twelve people making the world a better place to live. A recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award, his twenty-four books have been translated into six languages.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Chasing Chiles

Chasing Chiles

By Gary Paul Nabhan and Kraig Kraft and Kurt Michael Friese

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper-from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since their relatively recent introduction to Europe (in the early 1500s via Christopher Columbus). Chiles are delicious, dynamic, and very diverse-they have been rapidly adopted, adapted, and assimilated into numerous world cuisines, and while malleable to a degree, certain heirloom varieties are deeply tied to place and culture-but now accelerating climate change may be scrambling their terroir.

Over a year-long journey, three pepper-loving gastronauts-an agroecologist, a chef, and an ethnobotanist-set out to find the real stories of America's rarest heirloom chile varieties, and learn about the changing climate from farmers and other people who live by the pepper, and who, lately, have been adapting to shifting growing conditions and weather patterns. They put a face on an issue that has been made far too abstract for our own good.

Chasing Chiles is not your archetypal book about climate change, with facts and computer models delivered by a distant narrator. On the contrary, these three dedicated chileheads look and listen, sit down to eat, and get stories and recipes from on the ground-in farmers' fields, local cafes, and the desert-scrub hillsides across North America. From the Sonoran Desert to Santa Fe and St. Augustine (the two oldest cities in the U.S.), from the marshes of Avery Island in Cajun Louisiana to the thin limestone soils of the Yucatan, this book looks at how and why climate change will continue to affect our palates and our producers, and how it already has.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Chasing Chiles

Gary Paul Nabhan, Kraig Kraft, Kurt Michael Friese

Paperback $17.95

Climate Solutions

Climate Solutions

By Peter Barnes

Millions of Americans are demanding that all levels of government—local, state, and federal—take immediate and effective action to fight climate change. But there’s a big problem. Hundreds of policy ideas are floating about, and many of them aren’t very good. It’s quite possible that bad climate policy will result, and that many years will then be lost before real emission reductions occur.

We can’t afford to let that happen. That’s why this citizen’s guide is so important. It explains in clear and simple language what different climate policies will do—and what they won’t do. It tells you who’s behind the policies, who’d pay for them, and who’d profit. It strips away the spin and tells you the key facts you need to know.

In a very real sense, this guide ushers in the next stage of the global-warming debate. In the first stage, we discussed the problem. In the next stage, we must choose solutions. Should we adopt a carbon tax? A carbon cap? A trading system that allows companies to “offset” their emissions by paying others to plant trees?

This guide examines these proposals and many others. It’s essential reading for anyone who wants to stop climate change before it’s too late.

Available in: eBook

Read More

Climate Solutions

Peter Barnes, Bill McKibben

eBook $9.95

Natural Beekeeping

Natural Beekeeping

By Ross Conrad

Today's beekeepers face unprecedented challenges, a fact that is now front-page news with the spread of "colony collapse disorder." Newly introduced pests like varroa and tracheal mites have made chemical treatment of hives standard practice, but pest resistance is building, which in turn creates demand for new and even more toxic chemicals. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making matters worse.

It's time for a new approach. Now revised and updated with new resources and including full-color photos throughout, Natural Beekeeping offers all the latest information in a book that has already proven invaluable for organic beekeepers. The new edition offers the same holistic, sensible alternative to conventional chemical practices with a program of natural hive management, but offers new sections on a wide range of subjects, including:

  • The basics of bee biology and anatomy
  • Urban beekeeping
  • Identifying and working with queens
  • Parasitic mite control
  • Hive diseases

Also, a completely new chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products.Ross Conrad brings together the best "do no harm" strategies for keeping honeybees healthy and productive with nontoxic methods of controlling mites; eliminating American foulbrood disease without the use of antibiotics; selective breeding for naturally resistant bees; and many other detailed management techniques, which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.

Whether you are a novice looking to get started with bees, an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an integrated pest-management approach, or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Natural Beekeeping

Ross Conrad, Gary Paul Nabhan

Paperback $34.95

Natural Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

Natural Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Ross Conrad

Today's beekeepers face unprecedented challenges, a fact that is now front-page news with the spread of "colony collapse disorder." Newly introduced pests like varroa and tracheal mites have made chemical treatment of hives standard practice, but pest resistance is building, which in turn creates demand for new and even more toxic chemicals. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making matters worse.

It's time for a new approach. In this set, which includes the new, full-color, Natural Beekeping, Revised and Expanded Edition, and a DVD workshop, Ross Conrad brings together the best "do no harm" strategies for keeping honeybees healthy and productive, all of which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.

About Natural Beekeeping, Revised and Expanded Edition:

Now revised and updated with new resources and including full-color photos throughout, Natural Beekeeping offers all the latest information in a book that has already proven invaluable for organic beekeepers. The new edition offers the same holistic, sensible alternative to conventional chemical practices with a program of natural hive management, but offers new sections on a wide range of subjects, including:

  • The basics of bee biology and anatomy;
  • Urban beekeeping;
  • Identifying and working with queens;
  • Parasitic mite control; and
  • Hive diseases.

Also, a completely new chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products.

Natural Beekeeping covers nontoxic methods of controlling mites; eliminating American foulbrood disease without the use of antibiotics; selective breeding for naturally resistant bees; and many other detailed management techniques, which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.

Whether you are a novice looking to get started with bees, an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an integrated pest-management approach, or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.

About Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad (DVD):

In this filmed workshop, Ross Conrad flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management. The video presents a comprehensive survey of natural beekeeping methods and challenges, including segments filmed in thefield. It offers practical information that every aspiring beekeeper needs to know—everything from basic hive equipment to working with your bees to harvesting and processing honey.

Available in: Mixed media product

Read More

Natural Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

Ross Conrad, Gary Paul Nabhan

Mixed media product $54.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Arizona State University Talk

Arizona State University Talk

"Where Our Food Comes From" with Gary Paul Nabhan

"Where Our Food Comes From" with Gary Paul Nabhan

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Farming the Woods

Farming the Woods

By Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel

In the eyes of many people, the practices of forestry and farming are mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are primarily reserved for timber and firewood harvesting. Farming the Woods invites a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products. While this concept of “forest farming” may seem like an obscure practice, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from tree-based systems in the past; only recently have people traded the forest for the field.  The good news is that this is not an either-or scenario; forest farms can be most productive in places where the plow is not: on steep slopes, and in shallow soils. It is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes more and more important for farmers.

Many already know that daily indulgences we take for granted such as coffee, chocolate, and many tropical fruits, all originate in forest ecosystems. But few know that such abundance is also available in the cool temperate forests of North America. Farming the Woods is the first in-depth guide for farmers and gardeners who have access to an established woodland and are looking for productive ways to manage it. Authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel describe this process as "productive conservation," guided by the processes and relationships found in natural forest ecosystems. 

Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamental ferns, and more. Comprehensive information is also offered on historical perspectives of forest farming; mimicking the forest in a changing climate; cultivation of medicinal crops; creating a forest nursery; harvesting and utilizing wood products; the role of animals in the forest farm; and how to design and manage your forest farm once it's set up. This book is a must-read for farmers and gardeners interested in incorporating aspects of agroforestry, permaculture, forest gardening, and sustainable woodlot management into the concept of a whole-farm organism. 

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Farming the Woods

Ken Mudge, Steve Gabriel, John F. Munsell

Paperback $39.95

Farms with a Future

Farms with a Future

By Rebecca Thistlethwaite

What makes a farm sustainable and successful? And what special qualities and skills are needed for someone to become a successful farmer?

Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this uniquely important book, which is a must-read for anyone who aspires to get into farming, or who wants to make their farm business more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Over an entire year, the author and her husband-experienced farmers themselves-took a sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers. Along the way they learned about best practices, and a whole lot about what doesn't work.

Farms with a Future shares this collective wisdom in an inspirational yet practical manner; it will help beginners avoid many of the common mistakes that first-time farmers make. Just as importantly, it discusses positive ideas that can help make any farm enterprise vibrant and financially profitable. Profiles of more than a dozen representative farms help round out the invaluable information and encourage farmers to embrace their inner entrepreneur. Younger growers, in particular, will benefit by learning about "the right stuff" from both their peers and longtime experts.This book provides a useful reference for beginning and experienced farmers alike. While many other books address agricultural production, there are very few that talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future offers an approachable, colorful take on building a triple-bottom-line farming business.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Farms with a Future

Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Richard Wiswall

Paperback $29.95

Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell (DVD)

Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell (DVD)

By Les Crowder and Heather Harrell

In backyards and on rooftops all over the world, the top-bar hive design is revolutionizing the art and practice of beekeeping. With top-bar hives the bees naturally construct their own wax combs rather than relying on prefabricated frames of plastic cell foundation in a typical box-type hive. And top-bar hives are now being used to raise healthy bees organically, without the use of antibiotics, miticides, or other chemical inputs.

In this instructive video, New Mexico beekeeper Les Crowder shares his thirty years' experience in developing best practices for working with bees in top-bar hives. Les and Heather Harrell, authors of Top-Bar Beekeeping (Chelsea Green, 2012) discuss everything from hive management techniques to how to harvest and process honey and beeswax to the best plants to grow for the foraging bees.

The natural, low-stress methods outlined in this video are perfect for home or hobbyist beekeepers who have the time and interest that's necessary to manage bees intensively and holistically. The material will also be valuable for home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who are interested in bees as pollinators, as well as for their honey and beeswax.

Available in: DVD

Read More

Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell (DVD)

Les Crowder, Heather Harrell

DVD $14.95

The New Bread Basket

The New Bread Basket

By Amy Halloran

For more than 10,000 years, grains have been the staples of Western civilization. The stored energy of grain allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering and build settled communities—even great cities. Though most bread now comes from factory bakeries, the symbolism of wheat and bread—amber waves of grain, the staff of life—still carries great meaning.

Today, bread and beer are once again building community as a new band of farmers, bakers, millers, and maltsters work to reinvent local grain systems. The New Bread Basket tells their stories and reveals the village that stands behind every loaf and every pint.

While eating locally grown crops like heirloom tomatoes has become almost a cliché, grains are late in arriving to local tables, because growing them requires a lot of land and equipment. Milling, malting, and marketing take both tools and cooperation. The New Bread Basket reveals the bones of that cooperation, profiling the seed breeders, agronomists, and grassroots food activists who are collaborating with farmers, millers, bakers, and other local producers. 

Take Andrea and Christian Stanley, a couple who taught themselves the craft of malting and opened the first malthouse in New England in one hundred years. Outside Ithaca, New York, bread from a farmer-miller-baker partnership has become an emblem in the battle against shale gas fracking. And in the Pacific Northwest, people are shifting grain markets from commodity exports to regional feed, food, and alcohol production. Such pioneering grain projects give consumers an alternative to industrial bread and beer, and return their production to a scale that respects people, local communities, and the health of the environment.

Many Americans today avoid gluten and carbohydrates. Yet, our shared history with grains—from the village baker to Wonder Bread—suggests that modern changes in farming and processing could be the real reason that grains have become suspect in popular nutrition. The people profiled in The New Bread Basket are returning to traditional methods like long sourdough fermentations that might address the dietary ills attributed to wheat. Their work and lives make our foundational crops visible, and vital, again.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The New Bread Basket

Amy Halloran

Paperback $17.95