A landscape of thorny agaves, cacti, mesquite trees, and rock is not the first place one might imagine searching for the future of food. How could such a hot, dry place contain some of the keys to nourishing the world?
Colin Khoury researches crop diversity at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia. His work centers on enhancing food security, human nutrition, and the sustainability of agricultural production systems through the conservation, exploration, and celebration of crop genetic diversity. Current projects focus on building conservation strategies for crop wild relatives and for farmer varieties (landraces) of globally important crops, developing conservation indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and other international fora, and providing useful data to decision makers to advance transitions toward more sustainable diets.
Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. As the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, he works with students, faculty, and non-profits to build a more just, nutritious, sustainable and climate-resilient foodshed spanning the U.S./Mexico border. He was among the earliest researchers to promote the use of native foods in preventing diabetes, especially in his role as a co-founder and researcher with Native Seeds/SEARCH. Gary works most of the year as a research scientist at Tumamoc Hill and the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona, but he is also engaged with several food justice and farming alliances, including Sabores Sin Fronteras, Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, Wild Farm Alliance, Renewing America’s Food Traditions, and the Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative.