Agroecology from A to Z

Adventures in Agroecology and Food Systems


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Native Seeds/SEARCH, Patagonia, AZ

As part of the 2012 Border Food Summit, I had the opportunity to visit the Native Seeds/SEARCH conservation farm in Patagonia, AZ. Fun fact, Native Seeds/SEARCH was co-founded by Prescott College alum and prominent food systems scholar and advocate, Gary Nabhan, now at the Southwest Center  (University of Arizona).

On this tour with NSS staff Chris Schmidt, we learned about Native Seeds/SEARCH’s crop conservation work where they manage and curate a collection of traditional landraces in the Southwest. Corn, panic grass and chia seed are crops covered in the video along with basic seed saving practices. We also enjoyed the music of Aztral Folk and the tasty catering of Muñueca Mexicana.

Later in the fall, I assigned a Robin Kimmerer piece to my Land Stewards students that had a nice profile of Native Seeds/SEARCH and their role in conserving traditional ecological knowledge. The paper is Weaving Traditional Ecological Knowledge into Biological Education: A Call to Action. I had the pleasure of meeting Robin at a talk she gave for the American Indian Program at Cornell a few years back. I highly recommend this paper for all educators who cover traditional ecological knowledge in their courses.

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Chris Schmidt gives a tour of the Native Seeds/SEARCH Patagonia farm

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Panic grass

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Conserving traditional landraces of corn

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Erin Lingo (former Prescott College CSA Coordinator – Prescott Farmers’ Market manager), Gary Nabhan (U of A, Native Seeds/SEARCH) and me. Who wears white pants to a farm tour? Lesson learned.