Pots, Bananas, and Gourds: Food and Farming in PNG’s Markham Valley

The clay pot (or gur) has long been a central feature of the cultures of Papua New Guinea’s Markham Valley, such as that of the Adzera people. These pots are superior for cooking bananas, a staple of traditional diets in this area and a central element of life in the seasonal savannah environment of the […]

Ob Umed, Bringing Hope—and Water—to the People of Tajikistan

A few weeks ago, I went to New York to see Tajik NGO Ob Umed (“Water is Hope”) awarded the United Nations Development Program’s 2014 Equator Prize for community-based sustainable development solutions. This organization is bringing traditional methods of water management back to the Pamir Mountains, one of the highest, driest, and longest-inhabited mountain ranges […]

Ethiopia: Of Birds, Biodiversity and Development

Although the words biodiversity and development often seem to make a bad pair, people and birds continue to thrive together in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, sharing the benefits of this rich landscape and shaping each other’s fortunes. This co-evolution and cohabitation is central to the biocultural diversity of the region. And wise and respectful stewardship of […]

Important Changes at The Christensen Fund

Dear Grantees, Colleagues and Friends:
Some bittersweet news to share.
Jeff Campbell, our Director of Grantmaking who has played a key role in The Christensen Fund over the last five years has been offered a wonderful opportunity to head up the Forest and Farm Facility at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. This is […]

Landscapes: Peoples and Patches of Variation

Human interactions with the landscape are always biocultural.
What people choose to do within their landscapes is structured through the cultural sensibilities that those people bring to and derive from their encounter with that landscape – their beliefs, their values, their goals, their ethics, their tools, and their experiences and interpretations of them.
And those cultural sensibilities […]