For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Future of Food Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
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Agrobiodiversity and Resilience
Please read the brief "introduction to the reading" below and then the following pages from Gary Nabhan's book "Where Our Food Comes From":
Nabhan, G.P. "Rediscovering America and Surviving the Dust Bowl: The U. S. Southwest ", p. 129-138, part of Chapter 9, Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine. Washington: Island Press.
Introduction to the reading: The reading describes part of a much longer account of travels by Vavilov (for whom the Vavilov centers of agrobiodiversity are named, see the previous page in the book, and module 2.1 in this course) from 1929 to 1934 in North America. During this trip, the Russian crop researcher met with U.S. researchers as well as "keepers" of U.S. native agrobiodiversity. This chapter describes Vavilov's trip to the Hopi Indians in 1930, in which he and the U.S. scientists were able to observe firsthand the seed systems and their resilience to the drought that was currently going on in the United States. The author of the book, Gary Nabhan, relates this account of the visit and then compares it to similar visits he made to the Hopi in the more recent past. This compiled history of seed systems and their relation to both human and natural system changes in the U.S. Southwest is a sort of case study, from which the assessment worksheet will ask you to draw conclusions.
Download Worksheet ( 148kB Jan3 18)
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This exercise requires you to fill in some of the blanks in the worksheet ( 148kB Jan3 18) based on the reading.
- Two of the shocks that the Hopi food system has been exposed to have already been filled in on the worksheet, the main one being periodic drought. Within the human system box, fill in some of the agricultural methods (ways of growing food) described by Nabhan that represent adaptive capacity to drought shocks.
- In the natural system box, fill in how agrobiodiversity and their seed systems also represented adaptive capacity of the Hopi against drought.
- During the more recent drought, Nabhan states that an additional climatic factor related to climate change tended to worsen the effects of drought. What was this? Place it in the additional shock box at the lower edge of the diagram.
- A shock that emerged from the human system was the pumping of groundwater for coal mining and coal slurry transport in the region. What was the vulnerability to drought in the local natural system that this water extraction created? Fill it in in the "vulnerabilities" box in the natural system part of the diagram.
- In the last part of the chapter, Nabhan notes first a social/cultural vulnerability that has emerged in recent times. What is this social vulnerability? Note it in the vulnerability space of the Human System rectangle.
- Nabhan also notes a new social adaptive capacity that has arisen to challenge this vulnerability. What is this newest change that gives Nabhan hope about the fate of Hopi seed and agricultural systems?
- Of the three shocks now documented in the diagram, to which one would the Hopi knowledge system and adaptive capacity been most exposed to over recent centuries? Answer in one sentence.
- Compare the level of success the Hopi food system had in adapting to the older, better-known shock you chose in (7), in comparison to the other two shocks, at least during the last thirty years. (3-4 sentences, this may make the page run over to the next).