Thursday, September 2nd - Morrison Center

Quad – Social Plaque or the Soul of Farming?

By Mark P. Simmons, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Qat (or khat, Catha edulis) is considered to be a “social plague,” “reflect[ing] only the negative aspect of life,” or a “custom [that] gives positive results in the daily gatherings for cultural, historical and literary debate” and “soul of the entire farming community in Harerge.” Because of its amphetamine effects, qat is cultivated throughout its native range from Ethiopia to the Cape Province in South Africa. Millions of people make their living growing, transporting and trading qat. It is the major cash crop in Yemen and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Its use has recently expanded to Europe and North America based on the demand created by African immigrants. Qat is a controlled substance in most European countries as well as in North America.
Mark Simmons will describe his fieldwork collecting qat in Ethiopia from August - November 2009. He will also present an overview of Addis Ababa, foreign aid projects from western organizations as well as China, the challenges and pleasures of conducting fieldwork in Ethiopia, the relative benefits of cultivating coffee and qat, and the extent and consequences of the qat trade.

Dr. Mark Simmons is currently Associate Professor and Curator of the herbarium at Colorado State University.
Thursday, September 2, 2010, 6:30 – 8 p.m
 Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center