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

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By Gary Paul Nabhan
Trade paperback book
ISBN 9781603584531

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adept how they grow food in the face of climate change. The solutions may be at our back door.

In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Nabhan, one of the world’s experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, draws upon the knowledge of 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.

Nabhan offers readers time-tried strategies to adapt and thrive, including: building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils; protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods; reducing heat stress on crops and livestock; selecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates; and keeping pollinators in pace and in place with arid adapted crop plants.

The books detailed descriptions and diagrams show you how to implement these desert-adapted practices in your own backyard, orchard, or farm. Nabhan 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.

This unique book is useful not only for people living 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 Southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico.

Praise for Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

“If there was ever a moment for this book, now is it.”

-Bill McKibben, from the Foreword

“An homage to old wisdom and to the latter-day soil magicians who are Nabhan’s living muses, [this book] is a rich herbarium of delicious, hardy sustenance and a manual for our future.”

-Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us and Countdown

“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

“Heaped with practical principles, techniques, plant lists, parables, and more, this 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

Additional information

Weight 1.45 lbs
Dimensions 10 × 8 × 1 in


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