Lecture to discuss ag innovations in arid regions

Unleashing the creativity of farmers and agroecologists

The challenges of climate change, water scarcity and land conversion and the social unrest they are generating are restructuring the face of agriculture in many regions of the world.

The “Innovations Happen on the (Arid) Margins” lecture planned at the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Wednesday, November 8, 2016 at 8:30AM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

According to speaker Gary Nabhan, “many innovations are emerging both from farmers themselves and from agroecologists working with them in arid and semi-arid landscapes. These innovations may soon have relevance for fostering resilience in agricultural systems well beyond deserts themselves. Many of these resource-conserving innovations build on the concepts such as biomimicry, which metaphorically explore functional adaptations to desert heat and drought that have emerged among desert plants, habitats and cultures over the millennia. Importantly, they integrate ‘citizen science’ with both appropriate technologies and fruitful means of supporting farmer-scientist collaborations. Crop plant selection by farmers and collaborating breeders is now being done in the context of both traditional and novel agroecosystems that draw upon rainwater harvesting, greywater, and brackish water reuse for greater resilience and less dependence on external inputs.”

Nabhan, with The Southwest Center at the University of Arizona, will discuss examples from the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, with its 4100 year history of drought-adapted agriculture, and from other semi-arid and arid landscapes in Africa and the Middle East. “The social processes of recognizing, fostering and honoring innovations made by farmers and their collaborators may be as important to the success of these innovations as are the agro-technologies themselves. Given the severity and pervasiveness of climate change impacts on agriculture already upon us, isn’t it time to unleash more of the creative and adaptive capacities of farmers themselves through democratic and collaborative processes?”

This lecture is endowed by the Betty Klepper Endowed Lectureship.

For more information about the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance 2016 meeting, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/.

Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 26, 2016 is required. Visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/media for registration information.

For information about the “Innovations Happen on the (Arid) Margins” lecture, visit https://scisoc.confex.com/scisoc/2016am/webprogram/Session16160.html.