"Eating is not only a political act, it is also a cultural act that reaffirms one's identity and worldview," Enrique Salmón writes in Eating the Landscape. Traversing a range of cultures,
including the Tohono O'odham of the Sonoran Desert and the Rarámuri of the Sierra Tarahumara, the book is an illuminating journey through the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Salmón
weaves his historical and cultural knowledge as a renowned Indigenous ethnobotanist with stories American Indian farmers have shared with him to illustrate how traditional Indigenous foodways—from
the cultivation of crops to the preparation of meals—are rooted in a time-honored understanding of environmental stewardship.
Salmón's lineage serves as the touchstone for this episodic volume, each chapter of which introduces the reader to a different mode of traditional land stewardship.
This is very fine work reminiscent of the style and substance of the best by other stalwarts in the field of Indigenous knowledge like Gary Paul Nabhan, Greg Cajete, and Winona LaDuke.
—Devon Peña, author of Mexican Americans and the Environment: Tierra y Vida
In this fascinating personal narrative, Salmón focuses on an
array of Indigenous farmers who uphold traditional agricultural practices in the face of modern changes to food systems such as extensive industrialization and the genetic modification of food crops.
Despite the vast cultural and geographic diversity of the region he explores, Salmón reveals common themes: the importance of participation in a reciprocal relationship with the land, the connection
between each group's cultural identity and their ecosystems, and the indispensible correlation of land consciousness and food consciousness. Salmón shows that these collective philosophies provide
the foundation for indigenous resilience as the farmers contend with global climate change and other disruptions to long-established foodways. This resilience, along with the rich stores of
traditional ecological knowledge maintained by indigenous agriculturalists, Salmón explains, may be the key to sustaining food sources for humans in years to come.
As many of us begin to
question the origins and collateral costs of the food we consume, Salmón's call for a return to more traditional food practices in this wide-ranging and insightful book is especially timely.
Eating the Landscape is an essential resource for ethnobotanists, food sovereignty proponents, and advocates of the local food and slow food movements.