Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability

First Advisor

Alex Alvarez

Second Advisor

Richard Walz


As climate change progresses, global food security is likely to become increasingly threatened and crop biodiversity will be a significant source of resiliency and adaptability. However, these adaptations will only be fully realized through cooperative in situ and ex situ conservation and cultivation of domesticated crops, crop wild relatives, and wild foods. This conservation is best realized in places where communities have the cultural resources to invest meaningfully in the cultivation of native crops, and where the cultivation of those crops can reinforce place-specific livelihoods and identities. To this end, the principal objective of this research is to propose a framework for understanding, modeling, and managing zones of agrobiodiversity which are found in centers of crop origin and/or diversification, building upon understandings of biocultural heritage to create a global vision of sustainable, equitable, and innovative Food Neighborhoods. This study takes the Parque de la Papa [Potato Park] in Cusco, Peru as an ideal example of a Food Neighborhood, and uses the site to parameterize a spatial model and recommendations for up-scaling the Food Neighborhood concept. I provide an overview of the current status and trends in agrobiodiversity conservation, as well as an introduction to key concepts for the case study. I propose “Food Neighborhoods”—areas with deep linkages between indigenous ways of being and the cultivation of emblematic food products—as biocultural units to achieve trans-situ agrobiodiversity conservation. These neighborhoods are characterized by strong interactions between food crops or livestock, their wild relatives, and native farmers, and active management can promote the conservation of plant genetic resources, as well as the maintenance of indigenous food sovereignty and territorial rights to land and water.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Food Security | Food Studies | Geographic Information Sciences | Nature and Society Relations | Place and Environment | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social and Cultural Anthropology