Edible Radio’s Kate Manchester talks to Gary Nabhan about the decline of apple varieties in America. “Of the 15,000 to 16,000 apples varieties that have been named, grown and eaten on the North American continent, only about 3,000 remain accessible to American orchard-keepers, gardeners, chefs and home cooks.” RAFT (Renenwing America’s Food Traditions) has christened 2010 as the “Year of the Heirloom Apple” to engage food communities in the restoration of apple varieties and culinary traditions specific to their regions.
Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD, is an ecologist, ethnobotanist, writer, food and farming advocate, rural lifeways folklorist, and conservationist whose work has long been rooted in the U.S./Mexico borderlands region. A first generation Lebanese-American, Nabhan was raised in Gary, Indiana. He served as Director of Science at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and co-founded Native Seeds/SEARCH, a nonprofit conservation organization that works to preserve indigenous southwestern agricultural plants as well as knowledge of their uses. Nabhan was the founding director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. In 2008 he joined the University of Arizona faculty as a Research Social Scientist with the Southwest Center.