Bioneers: A Review of “Food from The Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Our Communities”

“Have you ever stumbled into a place where you were bowled over by an abundance of wildlife?” So begins the chapter Bringing Back the Bison in Gary Paul Nabhan’s latest book: Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities (Island Press, 2019).

The question brought to mind a time in 2013 when there was an unexpected spike in anchovies in the Monterey Bay and massive schools were swimming by the mouth of the Santa Cruz Harbor. There ...

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Thomas Kelly: Healing Our Lands & Communities

Three-quarters of a century ago, a thoughtful Quaker named Thomas Kelly deftly pegged the dilemma, that you, me, and many other people are challenged by: “We feel honestly the pull of many obligations, and try to fulfill them all.”

But then, Kelly turned his attention from the problem to the resolution, “We have hints that there is a way of life, vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If we ...

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Civil Eats: Hold the Soy, Save the Pollinators

These are tough times for soybean farmers. As President Trump’s trade war with China drags on, retaliatory tariffs are clobbering soybean prices—and some farmers are selling their crops at a loss.

The federal government has stepped up to help: At the urging of Midwestern senators, the USDA is compensating farmers for some of their losses, shelling out $3.6 billion to soybean farmers so far. While the subsidy is appreciated, many soy farmers I’ve talked to see it as ...

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Guest Opinion: Heal Arizona’s chasms

Our elections may be over, but one thing is for sure: Arizona remains politically divided, just as much of our country is. One party’s candidate may have won this or that senate or congressional race, but the split in how Arizonans view our future is as sharp as it was before the elections took place.

What politicians cannot mend is what our citizenry should see as our sacred responsibility to heal, if nothing else, for the benefit of future ...

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What stories do we tell about the world, when we are left to ourselves, during times of fear?

What stories do we tell about the world, our loved ones and “adversaries” when we are left to ourselves, during times of fear?

A few weeks ago, I was with a cousin of mine who lives on the Lebanon-Syria border who had been captured or kidnapped and put in a wooden box — a casket, really, for eight days, without any contact with his family or friends, just a little water, bread, and use of a bathroom while his fate was ...

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Will Work for Dirt

Have you ever tried to grow a garden in your backyard, only to find that the dirt was too worn-out and dry to produce anything? Have you coaxed that soil back to life so that it, in turn, could give life to fruits, vegetables, or root crops?

Gabriela Valeria Villavicencio Valdez, an urban garden enthusiast in Querétaro, Mexico, is all too familiar with lifeless dirt. In fact, she has adopted a newly coined name for this type of postapocalyptic, dystopian, metro ...

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A Good-for-Nothing Tree Makes Good

It is mid-November, and yet it is still warm and sunny in the Dunbar/Spring barrio just a mile from the heart of historic Tucson. Residents of the sprawling desert city still call it the Old Pueblo. It holds archaeological evidence of more than 4,000 years of continuous farming and foraging in its midst. That is one of several distinctions that has recently earned Tucson a United Nations designation as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States.

Mesquite trees might ...

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Water-Harvesting and Arid-Adapted Agrobiodiversity

Whenever I have a desire to be outside during the summer months as temperatures in Metro Tucson Arizona rise above 105 F, I select certain shady places where old trees offer me a break from the heat. Some are where old olive trees from north Africa were planted more than a century ago by agroecologist Robert Forbes, the first Dean of Agriculture at the University of Arizona. They are large and spreading, offering enough fruit each year for students to ...

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Americans need to see faces and hear voices South of the Border, Now more than ever.

Although most of the Central American Caravan is still a thousand miles away from the border, Trump’s first troops arrived there with orders from the Pentagon not to get directly involved!

So while they are waiting 5-7 weeks for their presumed adversaries to arrive, why don’t we give them a four week vacation (without their guns) in the villages of northern Mexico so that they can rehumanize rather than dehumanize Latinos. We can put them to work helping farmers bring in ...

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Walking Toward the Radical Center at the Border

US citizens have 20-30 days to organize to join and accompany Central American refugees for the last 100-150 miles of their journey to the border. A handful of Central Americans on that human rights pilgrimage have already sued Trump in US courts for his violations of US law.

What we need to organize are small groups of 5-7 friends in two cars who can go south of the border and help their group with car shuttles as they accompany Central Americans, ...

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Helping Plants, Healing People

In ethnobotanist and author Gary Paul Nabhan’s newest book, Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities (Island Press) he writes about communities engaged in the radical restoration work of connecting culture, food and place. His stories range from bees to bison, soil to sturgeon. In this excerpt, readers get to meet the women who practice “plant wifery,” helping to protect and restore species that have medicinal and cultural importance.

Have you ever been hiking and ...

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The Loss of a Generous Innovator and Big Heart – Kurt Michael Friese…

Daybreak broke upon me on the Lebanese shores of the Mediterranean with heartbreaking news: my old friend, chef and co-author Kurt Friese has passed away in Iowa City. He was cofounder with his wife Kim of Devotay restaurant of Slow Food Iowa City, and of Edible Iowa River Valley magazine.

I met him at the first big national gathering of Slow Foodies in Vermont, and we stayed friends ever since traveling for a year together with Kraig Kraft to coauthored: Chasing ...

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How Farmers Can Survive Tariffs

In America’s farm country, the fear is palpable. In recent months, I’ve talked to dairy farm owners in Wisconsin, grain and soy farmers in the Dakotas, and stockmen in California who worry that President Donald Trump’s tariff wars will trigger a new farm crisis. Many predict hard times to rival the epidemic of bankruptcies that devastated American farms in the 1980s.

The tariffs aren’t helping, it’s true. But Trump’s trade dispute is just the latest factor in a longer-term decline ...

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Doing the Right Thing, with Sustainable Food! – MetroFarm Community

I ran across the following in Gary Nabhan’s new book: Food from the Radical Center.

“As a cub reporter for Environmental Action, I covered everything from the lead poisoning of children in Rust Belt factory towns to pesticide effects on bird and bees in Midwestern farmlands. At that time, I sincerely believed the issues of environmental health would unite Americans, transcending lines of race and class. We would be galvanized by our desire to see both the government and industry ...

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It Is Up to Us, As Plain-clothed Citizens – to Bring this Country Back into a State of Decency

Our President, Senate and judicial system have spoken, but they did so without deeply listening to many, if not most of you. So it is up to us – as plain-clothed citizens – to bring this country back into a state of decency, of true dialogue, of collaboration, and of restorative justice.

They obviously have the power by our Constitution to make certain decisions, but we should not cede to them the power to “right the ship” – that is our ...

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Collaborative Conservation In An Age Of Division

The U.S. — and Arizona, more specifically — has countless environmental challenges, including keeping our air and water clean, ensuring that we have enough water, loss of certain species and food scarcity.

But a number of people are teaming up for something known as collaborative conservation, and they’re coming together — often from very different backgrounds — to try to find common ground.

Gary Paul Nabhan is a University of Arizona professor and an active field ethnobotanist, and he joined The Show ...

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Environmental Historian Curt Meine, took me through the Badger Lands Project facilitated by the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance

On Sunday, biodiversity conservationist, writer, environmental historian, Curt Meine, took me through the Badger Lands Project facilitated by the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance. It is a spectacular example of how how biocultural land restoration can bring together diverse partners and begin to heal long-standing wounds in a rural community.

Today the Ho-chunk nation, Wisconsin DNR, descendants of early Anglo farmer-homesteaders, the USDA Dairy Forage Resource Center, the Bluffview Sanitary District, the Savannah Institute and University of Wisconsin are all playing roles ...

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Food from the Radical Center with Gary Nabhan

On today’s pledge drive edition from WORT, Patty previews Fermentation Fest by talking with this year’s Featured Fermenter, Gary Paul Nabhan. They discuss Nabhan’s two new books, Food from the Radical Center and Mesquite, and reflect on family history, farming, food cultures, and the unique landscapes of the American Midwest and Southwest.

Gary Paul Nabhan is an agricultural ecologist, ethnobotanist, and author whose work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is ...

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It is time for all of us to invest our food dollars in the ranchers who are part of the “radical center” movement.

On September 10th, Sienna Chrisman predicted to Civil Eats readers that a “second farm crisis” is upon us, one that echoes the legendary crisis in 1987 that is so well documented in Marty Strange’s classic book, Family Farming. Chrisman’s fine reporting reveals that this current dilemma for American food producers has been triggered by a number of factors, including radical shifts in farm policies that have affected both stockmen and annual crop producers working in several regions ( Continue Reading →

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We Need to Vote, to Resist Dangerous Policies and to Mobilize our Neighbors to be active.

While out on book tour—from Tucson to Santa Fe, and tonight, at Prescott’s Natural History Institute with the Peregrine Book Company—I palpably hear people deeply worried about whether our country can heal from all its recent traumas. Yes we need to vote, to resist dangerous policies and to mobilize our neighbors to be active in hearings, voters’; registration and political actions—but we also need ways to come together, listen and engage with those who we presume to be our adversaries, ...

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