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NMSUCCESS lecture series continues with focus on locally based food culture

Gary Nabhan has spent much of his adult life studying and celebrating the deep relationships between regional cultures and the fruits of the land, between biodiversity and cultural diversity, particularly in the arid Southwest region.


Man sitting in a dark room
University of Arizona ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan will give a presentation titled, “Redesigning Desert Agriculture for Climate Change: Biomimicry, Nurse Plant Ecology and Succulent Plants” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Rio Grande Theatre. The lecture is part of a continuing series of expert discussions about climate change coordinated by New Mexico State University and community organizations. (Photo courtesy Gary Nabhan)

New Mexico State University’s Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) continues Jan. 29, when locals will get a chance to hear from Nabhan, an ethnobotanist and author from the University of Arizona, as he discusses the importance of a diverse, locally based food culture in helping communities meet the growing challenge of climate change.

Nabhan will give a presentation titled, “Redesigning Desert Agriculture for Climate Change: Biomimicry, Nurse Plant Ecology and Succulent Plants” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Rio Grande Theatre.

Nabhan’s talk will explain the process of re-diversifying our desert food systems to increase community resilience in the face of climate change. He will also outline the disruptions the global climate change phenomenon will cause to land health, human health and rural economies.

“Gary Nabhan has worked for decades on creative solutions to agricultural climate adaptation informed by examples from deserts of the world. Testing and refining these solutions will become increasingly important for the Southwestern U.S. in the decades to come,” says Brandon Bestelmeyer, lead scientist at the Jornada Experimental Range and affiliated faculty in NMSU’s Departments of Biology and Plant and Environmental Sciences.

Nabhan co-founded Native Seeds/Search, a non-profit conservation organization aimed at preserving native Southwestern agricultural plants. The winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship in 1990, Nabhan, during a recent episode of the Food and Faith Podcast, said conservation efforts need to be pursued with “heart and head together.”

Nabhan’s talk is the first in the spring semester slate of four NMSUCCESS talks. NMSU and community collaborators began the series in spring 2018 with talks by experts from around the country for the once-a-month seminars, which take place at either the Rio Grande Theatre or a lecture hall at NMSU. Future topics will include carbon sequestration, mass extinction threats, national and global security concerns. The series’ goal is to shine a light on research and issues related to climate change for this region.