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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

Field, Lab, Earth releases on the third Friday of each month in addition to the occasional bonus episode. If you enjoy our show, please be sure to tell your friends and rate and review. If you have a topic, author, or paper you would like featured or have other feedback, please contact us on Twitter @fieldlabearth or use the email icon below. You can join our newsletter to receive notifications about new episodes and related resources here.

Field, Lab, Earth features graduate and undergraduate students at the end of each episode. If you would like to be featured, please let us know by filling out this brief application form. Please note you must be a student member with ASA, CSSA, or SSSA to apply.

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Apr 15, 2022

“Urban food forests in the American Southwest” with Dr. James Allen.

Food forests are multi-level polycultures where fruit and nut trees, vegetables, shade trees, mushrooms, aquatic plants, and more can all exist in the same urban or rural space. They’re known to have many benefits, both environmentally and socially; however, in more arid climates like the American Southwest, there are a few hurdles urban agroforesters must overcome. In this episode, Dr. Jim Allen discusses a recent survey of Southwestern food forests and how these mini-oases are learning to thrive in more arid climates.

Tune in to learn:

  • How food forests, agroforestry, urban agroforestry, and permaculture overlap
  • Success stories for food forests in the American Southwest
  • Ongoing challenges for food forest implementation
  • Future research and partnerships opportunities for food forests and agriculture at large

If you would like more information about this topic, this episode’s paper is available here:

This paper is always freely available.

If you would like more information about Agroforestry at large, the 3rd edition of North American Agroforestry is available here:

Use discount code NAA35 for 35% off through April 30, 2022.

If you would like to find transcripts for this episode or sign up for our newsletter, please visit our website:

Contact us at or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe.

If you would like to reach out to Jim, you can find him here:

If you would like to reach out to Paul Benalcazar from our student spotlight, you can find him here:



CEU Quiz:

Bukowski, C., & Munsell, J. (2018). The Community Food Forest Handbook: How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Crawford, M. (2010). Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops. Devon, UK: Green Books.

Jacke, D., & Toensmeier, E. (2005). Edible Forest Gardens (two volumes). White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Lancaster, B. (2019). Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond (two volumes). Tucson: Rainsource Press.

Toensmeier, E. & Bates, J.. (2013). Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Video: What an unlikely food oasis can teach us as climate change worsens. Interview with Jerome Osentowski, founder of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, which is set in his indoor and outdoor food forest.

Video: A Forest Garden With 500 Edible Plants Could Lead to a Sustainable Future.

Video: Planting the Rain to Grow Abundance. A TED Talk by Brad Lancaster that addresses issues related to water use in drylands. Brad is the main person behind what I call a dispersed urban/neighborhood food forest in Tucson.

Video: How America’s hottest city is trying to cool down.

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