Biocultural and ecogastronomic restoration: The Renewing America's food Traditions alliance

Gary Paul Nabhan, Deja Walker, Alberto Mellado Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


One of the emerging motivations for community engagement in ecological restoration is the recovery of plant and animal species, subspecies, and stocks historically utilized as foods. New alliances of conservation biologists, ecological restorationists, native food activists, and chefs are joining forces for these collaborative conservation and restoration initiatives. The Renewing America's Food Traditions (RAFT) Alliance is one such collaboration, and it is engaged in identifying and recovering wild foods that have historically been depleted by a variety of pressures. It has identified at least 267 wild species, subspecies, stocks, or ecotypes of place-based foods at risk in North America. Of these, 43 may be broadly classified as wild game (including 12 birds, 20 mammals, and 10 reptiles), 82 as wild-foraged plants, 40 as shellfish, and 103 as fish. Of 267 place-based heritage foods in the RAFT database, fewer than a dozen have been extirpated as species, subspecies, or populations, but 45 (17%) are the subjects of genetic recovery and habitat restoration as noted in previous articles and abstracts featured in this journal. Taking into account all the restoration efforts for place-based foods at risk that have been reported in this journal and in recent oral communications, a minimum of 38% of North America's wild foods at risk may be on the way to recovery at one or more sites. We also discuss four cases studies of collaborative efforts toward gastroeconomic and biocultural restoration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Restoration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Biocultural restoration
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecogastronomic restoration
  • Ethnobotany
  • North America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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