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Where Our Food Comes from: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine


Where Our Food Comes from: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine Cover

ISBN13: 9781597263993
ISBN10: 1597263990
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

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The future of our food depends on tiny seeds in orchards and fields the world over. In 1943, one of the first to recognize this fact, the great botanist Nikolay Vavilov, lay dying of starvation in a Soviet prison. But in the years before Stalin jailed him as a scapegoat for the countrys famines, Vavilov had traveled over five continents, collecting hundreds of thousands of seeds in an effort to outline the ancient centers of agricultural diversity and guard against widespread hunger. Now, another remarkable scientist—and vivid storyteller—has retraced his footsteps.
In Where Our Food Comes From, Gary Paul Nabhan weaves together Vavilovs extraordinary story with his own expeditions to Earths richest agricultural landscapes and the cultures that tend them. Retracing Vavilovs path from Mexico and the Colombian Amazon to the glaciers of the Pamirs in Tajikistan, he draws a vibrant portrait of changes that have occurred since Vavilovs time and why they matter.
In his travels, Nabhan shows how climate change, free trade policies, genetic engineering, and loss of traditional knowledge are threatening our food supply. Through discussions with local farmers, visits to local outdoor markets, and comparison of his own observations in eleven countries to those recorded in Vavilovs journals and photos, Nabhan reveals just how much diversity has

already been lost. But he also shows what resilient farmers and scientists in many regions are doing to save the remaining living riches of our world.

It is a cruel irony that Vavilov, a man who spent his life working to foster nutrition, ultimately died from lack of it. In telling his story, Where Our Food Comes From brings to life the intricate relationships among culture, politics, the land, and the future of the worlds food.

About the Author

Gary Paul Nabhan is a world-renowned ethnobiologist, conservationist, and

essayist. The author of Why Some Like It Hot, Coming Home to Eat, and many other books and articles, he has been honored with a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and The John Burroughs Medal for nature writing. Founder and facilitator of the Renewing Americas Food Traditions collaborative, he is currently a Research Social Scientist at the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona. See to track his lecture and photo exhibit schedules.

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Melwyk, March 28, 2009 (view all comments by Melwyk)
I was interested in this book for two reasons, both for its theme of agricultural biodiversity and for the part that Russian scientist Nikolay Vavilov plays in this story. It was a wide-ranging story of Nabhan's decision to follow in Vavilov's footsteps and travel around the world looking at agricultural biodiversity. It is extremely readable: fascinating locales, heartbreaking biography and political machinations, and some beautiful photos. Reading it provides so much compelling scientific evidence of the ever increasing importance of being aware of just where our food comes from. I enjoyed it, and think that anyone interested in food issues would be equally enthralled.
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Product Details

Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine
Nabhan, Gary Paul
Foreword by:
Wilson, Ken
Wilson, Ken
Environmental Science
Food crops
Germplasm resources
Life Sciences - Horticulture
Agriculture - Agronomy - Crop Science
Scientists - General
Botanical specimens
Plant collecting
Science & Technology
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 page insert
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Annuals
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Photographers
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Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
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Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Crop Science
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Politics and Economics
Science and Mathematics » Botany » General

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