Gary Nabhan


The Healing in Ferguson Missouri Hidden by Mainstream Media

Ferguson Missouri has stayed in the news for much of the summer and fall of 2014, and not much of what the media has been saying about this community has been pleasant, let alone laudatory.

But when I arrived in St Louis and asked my wife if we could go to Ferguson for a prayer vigil, I found a community unbelievably different from the one represented in the news.


Fasting for monarchs?

I will be on a LIQUIDS-ONLY FAST until December 20th, until Monarch butterflies are ensured enough milkweeds to lay eggs on and eat; THEN I WON’T EAT!

Today begins a season of fasting in remembrance of the fact that after a year of hand-wringing about monarch butterfly and milkweed declines, there is no substantial reorientation in our use of agricultural chemicals impacting them, no fewer acres going out of milkweed habitat and into ethanol production or urban development, and far less than 1000 acres of new milkweed habitat has been planted this year to offset the damage and deferred maintenance of healthy habitat that monarchs have suffered the last 15 years.


Milkweeds are as good for crop-pollinating Native Bees, as they are for Monarchs

Recently, my orchard and garden “decided” that I needed more time in the wild to see how plants and animals really worked together, so they evicted me from cultivated ground of my own making, somehow giving me a concussion and a fractured rib on my way out.

However slow I usually am to get the picture, this time, I got the message loud and clear: if I were truly interested in seeing how to design farmscapes to harbor beneficial insects such as monarch butterflies and native bees, I needed to “apprentice myself” to a wild habitat where such healthy relationships are the norm, not the exception.


How to Create a Plant Pollinator Habitat in the Era of Climate Uncertainty

There is growing evidence that many pollinators and plants are being triggered into earlier but not necessarily synchronous activity by the same temperature shifts associated with global warming. Find out what strategies you can implement in your own garden, orchard, or farm to enhance your plant pollinator habitat.

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change…


Monarchs and Maize in Mexico: New Actions to Protect Threatened Butterflies and Corn Diversity Go Hand in Hand

How is the decline of monarch butterflies and its relation to the management of corn seen from south of the Mexican border with the U.S.? Recently, we went to the cradle of origin of maize in Oaxaca not to do our own research, but to simply listen to Mexican researchers, farmers, artists and chefs.

Because both the monarch and maize have been iconic symbols of life in Mesoamerica for millennia, we wanted to hear how Mexicans perceived issues surrounding their conservation from scientific, cultural and political perspectives.


Monarch butterflies and farmers

Many Americans were startled to learn recently that a butterfly once found in so many people’s backyards and fields is now being petitioned for federal listing as a threatened species. It will take months if not years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether the monarchs require this form of protection.

Rather than advocating for a particular outcome, I wish to focus on how any effective protection will need to positively engage both farmers and the rest of the food supply chain.


Honey, Don’t Forget the Pollinators

Go to the produce section in any Whole Foods, AJ’s, or Sprouts in the Tucson area, and at least 237 of the 453 fruits and vegetables found there were brought to you by a now-imperiled fleet of flying pollinators.

While scientists and farmers in Baja Arizona were among the first in the country to sound the alarm about pollinator declines…


Traveling Mercies for Pollinators

Dearest Creator, please watch over all the pollinators in flight who help to bring us our daily bread from your Creation, and keep them safe from the many perils they face along the way.

I pray that we give special attention to your humble pilgrims the migratory pollinators, from imperiled monarch butterflies, to dozens of hummingbirds and nectar-feeding bats…