Mythical River,

Real Food

Sunday, September 23, 10:30 am - noon; Fee: $50/person. Fundraiser for the Gila Conservation Coalition

The Commons (The Volunteer Center), 501 E. 13th St. 

Local Food Brunch with Melissa Sevigny, author of Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest


While you’re enjoying a delicious, home-cooked meal made with locally-produced and foraged foods made by the Mesquitos, writer Melissa Sevigny will discuss the historic quest for navigable rivers in the American West, early explorers’ obstinate, optimistic belief in nonexistent rivers, and the unending search for “new” waters.

In Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest, Melissa Sevigny writes about a 1776 Spanish expedition that, while exploring a safe trade route to California, named a river “El Río de San Buenaventura.” Subsequent mapmakers depicted the Buenaventura River running west to the Pacific Ocean. No less an explorer than Alexander von Humboldt perpetuated this mythic river in a hand-drawn map.

Sevigny employs the Buenaventura as a metaphor for Americans’ undying frontier mindset in our search for “new” water to exploit. Gradually, though, this paradigm is changing, as increasing numbers of people realize the value of wild rivers and the imperative to protect them from overuse and development, as evidenced by half a century of Wild and Scenic River designations. Sevigny will talk about one such designation in her home state of Arizona: Fossil Creek in the Gila basin.

This brunch, featuring locally-grown and foraged foods, may introduce you to some new foods, but won’t take you out of your food comfort zone. Mesquite pancakes with prickly pear syrup and local sweet-potato crusted quiche are just a couple of the tantalizing treats you’ll savor. At the traditional Gila River Festival brunch, you’ll enjoy camaraderie, a beautiful garden, an excellent meal, a fascinating presentation, and a chance to help the Gila Conservation Coalition protect the free-flowing Gila River.

Photo: Alexis Knapp

Photo: Alexis Knapp