What: Fermentation Fest
When: October 7-8
Where: Witwen Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin
Ethnobotanist, author, and agrarian activist Gary Paul Nabhan will read from his new book Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals (co-authored with David Suro Piñera), followed by a talkback with Savanna Institute Director Keefe Keeley. This event is free and open to the public.
The result of fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews with mezcaleros in eight Mexican states, Agave Spirits shows how traditional methods of mezcal production are inspiring a new generation of individuals, including women, both in and beyond the industry. Reaching back into a rich, centuries-long history, the authors make clear that understanding the story behind a bottle of mezcal, more than any other drink, will reveal what lies ahead for the tradition, including its ability to adapt in the face of the climate crisis. Essential reading for mezcal connoisseurs and amateurs interested in unlocking the past of a delightful distillate, Agave Spirits tells the tale of the most flavorful and memorable spirits humankind has ever sipped and savored.
Gary Paul Nabhan is an Agricultural Ecologist, Ethnobotanist, Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, and author whose work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is considered a pioneer in the local food movement and the heirloom seed saving movement. Gary serves as the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwestern Borderlands Food and Water Security with the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona.
Keefe Keeley is the executive director of Savanna Institute, where he connects agroforestry and food system work with allied efforts in economic development, social justice, and restoration ecology.
The keynote—a reading by ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan from his new book Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals — will explore distilled spirits and their plant origins.