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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
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

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.

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 www.garynabhan.com to track his lecture and photo exhibit schedules.

Table of Contents

Foreword \ Ken Wilson

Chapter 1. The Art Museum and the Seed Bank

Chapter 2. The Hunger Artist and the Horn of Plenty

Chapter 3. Melting Glaciers and Waves of Grain: The Pamirs

Chapter 4. Drought and the Decline of Variety: The Po Valley

Chapter 5. From Breadbasket to Basket Case: The Levant

Chapter 6. Date Palm Oases and Desert Crops: The Maghreb

Chapter 7. Finding Food in Famines Wake: Ethiopia

Chapter 8. Apples and Boomtown Growth: Kazakhstan

Chapter 9. Rediscovering America and Surviving the Dust Bowl: The U.S. Southwest

Chapter10. Logged Forests and Lost Seeds: The Sierra Amazon

Chapter 11. Deep into the Tropical Forests of the Amazon

Chapter 12. The Last Expedition

Epilogue

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

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

ISBN:
9781597263993
Subtitle:
Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine
Publisher:
Island Press
Foreword by:
Wilson, Ken
Foreword:
Wilson, Ken
Author:
Nabhan, Gary Paul
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Food crops
Subject:
Germplasm resources
Subject:
Life Sciences - Horticulture
Subject:
Agriculture - Agronomy - Crop Science
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Botanical specimens
Subject:
Plant collecting
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Botany-General
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20110316
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1-8pg 4c insert after p70
Pages:
264
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Annuals
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Photographers
Biography » Science and Technology
Business » General
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Nutrition
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

Where Our Food Comes from: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine
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Product details 264 pages Shearwater Books - English 9781597263993 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
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.
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