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Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation

Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation
Gary Paul Nabhan
University of Arizona Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 225 p., $19.95

Gary Nabhan is a leading researcher and advocate of conservation, genetic diversity, ethnobotany and sustainable agriculture. Based in Arizona, he specializes in the Sonora Desert and its traditional Native American farmers.

This collection of essays describes journeys to various ecological sites. Like a good travelogue, this reprint is very readable and entertaining, full of local color while furnishing sound scientific detail. In the course of the book, readers are introduced to scientists preserving wild ancestors that we now know in gardens and laboratories. Passionate descriptions of domesticated animals and plants interacting with their wild neighbors are provided, as we read how human stewards animate the mechanisms of genetic vigor. We learn of losses to industrial agriculture and cultural insensitivity, and of the looming threat of genetically engineered crops.

Because agriculture is so central to human life, these accounts strike a chord with us all. The connection between the wilderness and the dinner table becomes clear, thanks to Gary Paul Nabhan in his bookEnduring Seeds.

— Michael Zubrzycki, Volunteer, Library, Chicago Botanic Garden