The Desert We Eat

Explorations on Otomi Diet at Valle del Mezquital

In the landscape imaginary of modern agriculture the farm is a water-intensive operation, which according to the United Nations, currently consumes 70% of the world's freshwater. Today, farmland could easily be considered the opposite or antithetical landscape to the world’s deserts and drylands. This opposition is false however, as deserts and drylands have supported food production for centuries in diverse cultures and geographies. Hidden underneath the statistics of modern agricultural water consumption are a set of assumptions about the necessity of growing water-intensive crops for export to global markets, and in this sense there is a hidden menu behind agricultural water requirements. What if we questioned this menu? What would a dryland diet look like? What kinds of ecologies, photosynthetic pathways, and cultural practices would support this diet? In this seminar we will explore the desert we eat.