The Hopi farmer championing Indigenous agricultural knowledge

By Jane Palmer
May 15, 2022

Michael Kotutwa Johnson is on a mission to show that millennia of Native American land practices can provide valuable lessons for growing food and sustaining the Earth.

Michael Kotutwa Johnson scans the barren landscape and wonders if he’ll get a crop this year.

It is March and the Hopi reservation, which stretches across high plateaux in northeastern Arizona, appears as a patchwork of varying shades of brown: The mesas – deep bronze in the morning sun – stand stately over beige houses and the light tans of sand-covered fields, shrubs and grasses. Dryness reigns. Within hours of arriving on the reservation, hungry winds suck the moisture from mouths, skin and eyes, leaving only grainy dust in their wake.

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