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New Model for Arid-Land Farming Based on Wild Food Crops

Scientists from the U.S. Southwest and Mexico published an article in the journal Plants, People, Planet that presents a new model for farming in arid regions. The researchers propose selecting wild food crops already adapted to extreme conditions, in order to reduce climate disruptions to food security, human health, and rural economies. They say in “An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water scarce world” that agriculture in arid regions should shift away from water-consumptive, heat-intolerant, annual plants to utilize no-till cropping of hardy perennials that are heat- and drought-tolerant. In the new model, production of these plants would be co-located with rainwater harvesting and renewable energy production. Furthermore, the researchers say these desert foods could benefit human health as well as land health.