Brad Lancaster cover

photo credits: Amelia Oshay - PD

Brad Lancaster

American water management expert

1967   -  

country of citizenship: United States of America

Brad Stewart Lancaster (born 1967) is an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting and water management. He is also a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant and co-founder of Desert Harvesters, a non-profit organization. Lancaster lives on an eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, where rainfall is less than 12 inches (300 mm) per annum. In such arid conditions, Lancaster consistently models that catching over 100,000 US gallons (380,000 l; 83,000 imp gal) of rainwater to feed food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape is a much more viable option than the municipal system of directing it into storm drains and sewer systems.Lancaster helped legalize the harvest of street runoff in the city of Tucson, Arizona, with then-illegal water-harvesting curb cuts at his and his brother’s home and demonstration site that made openings in the street curb to enable street runoff to freely irrigate street-side and in-street water-harvesting/traffic-calming landscapes of food-bearing native vegetation. After proving the concept, Brad then worked with the City of Tucson to legalize, enhance, and incentivize the process.Lancaster co-created and now co-organizes the Neighborhood Foresters program which since 1996 has coordinated volunteer crews of neighbors to plant and steward over 1,500 native food-bearing trees and hundreds of native food-bearing understory plantings within or beside water-harvesting earthworks in his neighborhood, while helping and training volunteers from other neighborhoods to lead similar efforts in their neighborhoods.Desert Harvesters, a non-profit organization Brad co-founded, teaches the public how to identify, harvest, and process many of the native-plant foods neighbors are planting in their neighborhoods. Desert Harvesters also makes the utilization of native foods easier by organizing community milling events that mill native mesquite pods into nutritious and delicious mesquite flour which is utilized by a growing number of restaurants, breweries, and home kitchens.A 2009 project involved acting as a representative for the U.S. State Department on an educational tour in the Middle East.
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