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.
“Welcome, pig lovers, and welcome, earthworms!” Woody Tasch bellowed from the stage of the Boulder Theater, where 650 food entrepreneurs and investors had wedged themselves for the opening day of the fourth Slow Money National Gathering.
Mr. Tasch whipped the crowd into a frenzy on Monday morning — shouts of “It’s crazy!” and the random boo and hiss ricocheted through the audience — as he discussed the moral failures of unsustainable corporate farming and financiers struggling to align their urge to buy low and sell high with socially conscious investing.
At the Slow Money National Gathering, there was a lot of talk about sustainable food systems, local food sheds, healthy soil and healthy people.
There was also a lot of talk about how challenging it is to attain these ideal food systems. Small farmers often run into trouble finding financing. The question is, when traditional financing doesn’t offer support, where do small, local farmers go? How can these farmers grow their businesses and support their families when they only receive six to fifteen cents on the dollar for their products? The drive, passion and aspiration are there, but in so many instances, the money is not.
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.