Desert Foods for a Resilient Future

Dr. Erin Riordan

Sheilah Britton, Pinal County Master Gardener

Your SaddleBrooke/SaddleBrooke Ranch Master Gardeners are pleased to invite you to attend a Zoom webinar presentation with Erin Riordan, Ph.D., on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. The topic will be “Desert Foods for a Resilient Future.” Dr. Riordan is a conservation research scientist at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and former University of Arizona postdoctoral scholar at the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research and the Desert Laboratory of Tumamoc Hill.

Our arid land food systems are at a crossroads. Many familiar conventional crops are poorly equipped to survive in desert environments where heat and drought already limit flowering and fruiting. Growing these plants will become increasing difficult as day and nighttime temperatures rise, droughts deepen, and water resources dwindle.

Desert-adapted food plants like cactus and mesquite, however, provide an alternative path forward. With remarkable adaptations to heat, drought, and poor soils, these plants are well-equipped to weather the sorts of stressful growing conditions we expect to see more of in the future—all while using just a fraction of the water and fertilizer needed to grow conventional crops.

Dr. Riordan’s presentation will show how adding desert food plants to our gardens and plates can benefit our health and our environment, helping to create a more resilient future.

Register at, then click on “Events.” For questions about registration, contact [email protected]. For more information, contact Sheilah Britton at [email protected].