Lawrence Shorty (Nashashí Diné) is a descendent of some of the first agriculturalists in what would become the states of Arizona, Mississippi, and New Mexico. His ancestors and family were dry land and irrigation farmers, sheep, goat, and cattle herders, and tobacco farmers.
Lawrence co-founded the Traditional Tobacco Seed Bank and Education Program at the University of New Mexico. He helped to pioneer a Native American resurgence in tobacco seed collection, seed sharing, and ceremonial tobacco growing. His multidisciplinary and hands on approach to Native tobacco growing intersects with substance abuse prevention, public health, and agriculture, all areas in which he has published. Lawrence has received fellowships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture. His contemporary interests are in the history of pre-Columbian foods from the American continent and their contemporary influence on national dishes worldwide. He currently works with the US. Department of Agriculture managing the USDA Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, which builds the land grant capacities of tribal colleges and universities.