Society & Culture
Gary Paul Nabhan - Indigenous Fermented Beverages of Mexico & Southwest US
Gary Paul Nabhan is an Agricultural Ecologist, Ethnobotanist, Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, and author of over 30 books. His work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is considered a pioneer in the local food movement and the heirloom seed saving movement.
A first-generation Lebanese American, Nabhan was raised in Gary, Indiana. He worked at the headquarters for the first Earth Day in Washington DC
Gary has achieved several degrees, including a Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary arid lands resource sciences also at the University of Arizona, and he has received numerous awards including a Macarthur Fellowship.
He co-founded Native Seeds/SEARCH a non-profit conservation organization which works to preserve place-based Southwestern agricultural plants as well as knowledge of their uses, and he did the research to help Secretary Bruce Babbitt create Ironwood Forest National Monument.
He now serves as the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwestern Borderlands Food and Water Security. At the University of Arizona, where he founded the Center for Regional Food Studies and catalyzed the initiative to have UNESCO designate Tucson as the first City of Gastronomy in the U.S.
Despite all this, I only came to hear about Gary when Ricky Taylor of Alta Marfa forwarded me an article about Gary’s intra-institutional work to catalog and preserve the rich diversity of Mexico’s traditional fermented beverages. Maybe this shows my need to broaden my scope, or maybe it shows the power of these fermented beverages to capture attention… I’ll let you decide. Regardless, I’m so grateful to have discovered the wealth of wisdom and knowledge that is Gary Paul Nabhan, and I’m thrilled to be able to share him with you.
Colonche, Tepache, Tesguino, Pulque, Mesquite, Mescal
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