Down to Earth

Gary Paul Nabhan, known by many as the “father of the local food movement,” is a prolific author, scientist, and activist for a healthy and truly regenerative food system that respects the land and its plants and animals; the people grow food, process, and serve the food and their communities; and to all the rest of us who eat and want our food to nourish us. He’s an ecumenical Franciscan brother whose service is devoted to food equity and justice.
W.K., Kellogg endowed chair for food and water security at the University of Arizona, he’s the author of many books; his latest is Jesus for Farmers and Fishers: Justice for All Those Marginalized in Our Food System. He’s an agrarian and ethnobotanist and is winner of numerous accolades, including a MacArthur fellowship and many literary, environmental, food, and arts awards.

2’28 long term drought all over the West
3’37 salinzation of soil from two sources
4’55 what kinds of plants should we grow in semi-arid climates
6’10 polycultures, alley cropping
7’06 micro-irrigation, more efficient than drip irrigation, and other water-saving methods
9’22 using shade effectively
10’42 high solar collectors play a role in shading plants as well as creating energy
11’20 farmworkers suffering from many heat-related illnesses—shading would prevent much of this
13’37 the importance of the water-energy cycle, and the cooling potential of a healthy water cycle
14’24 green patches under solar collectors help cool the panels themselves and keep them working optimally for a longer time
15’57 creating pollinator habitat also saves water
21’37 border disputes with Mexico over water
23’35 change comes from crisis—in this case water shortage
25’04 cost of treating diabetes related to cost of food
27’04 promoting the “global local” idea
28’48 farmers willing to try other varieties of wheat if not full-on perennial polycultures
29’45 mesquite trees make a healthy gluten-free flour that’s sold in health clinics
30’43 growing high-value spice crops, which are actually hot-weather adapted
32’30 working with indigenous Mexicans on a solar project
35’12 the importance of demonstration projects
35’59 in Arizona and New Mexico we have farmworkers who used to be farmers from many countries, and they know how to farm dryland crops
38’28 writing a children’s book about earth
39’01 using biochar, giving back to the soil
41’33 sustainable dryland animal agriculture
47’11 political progress and lack thereof