The annual Provost’s Lecture Series at Colorado State University will feature a renowned ecologist and one of the American West’s more notable nature authors.
Gary Paul Nabhan, whose work with native people and their plants led to a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award and a Pew Scholarship for conservation research, will discuss "Food and Culture: Stewardship in Working Landscapes – Coming Home to Eat" from 7:30-9 p.m. April 11 in Room 146C of the Plant Sciences Building on the Colorado State campus. The event is free, open to public and will include a reception, booksigning and refreshments following the talk.
On April 12, Nabhan will read from a selection of his works from 7:30-9 p.m. at Jade Creek Book Store in the Opera Galleria, 123 N. College Ave. Nabhan is author of "Coming Home to Eat: The Sensual Pleasures and Global Politics of Local Foods," "The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country," "Gathering the Desert," "Songbirds, Truffles, and Wolves: An American Naturalist in Italy" and "Counting Sheep: 20 Ways of Seeing Desert Bighorn."
In Nabhan’s most current book, "Coming Home to Eat," he chronicles living for a year only on those natural foods that he could hunt, gather or grow within a 250-mile radius of his desert home near Tucson, Ariz.
Nabhan also looks at the lack of research on the environmental effects of genetically altered crops, such as Bt corn, a variety of corn that uses genes from a soil microbe that is toxic to certain insects. He believes the more the crop is planted, the more resistant the pests will become.
Nabhan subscribes to the theory that too much of our food comes from long distances and are not native to where we live, leading to diseases, such as diabetes, and pollution from trucking in much of our food. He believes that we are entangled in using global food and corporate agriculture and that we would be healthier, as would the environment, if individuals would eat native foods.
In addition to his books, Nabhan has published more than 100 technical articles on ethnobotany, nutrition and plant conservation. Nabhan specializes in the desert cultures of the American Southwest and Mexico, focusing on the importance of nature in human well-being.
As an agricultural ecologist and ethnobotanist, Nabhan studies plants and their effect on cultures that use them. In 1982, he cofounded the Native Seeds/SEARCH, a nonprofit organization that works to conserve traditional crops, seeds and farming methods that have sustained native peoples for centuries throughout the American Southwest and Mexico. The group has brought 99 species of beans, squash, corn and other varieties of vegetables back from the brink of extinction.
Nabhan currently serves as director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University.
For more information on the events, call Jeanne Clarke at 970-491-4697.