Articles

Biodiversity food expert speaks

Gary Nabhan, an internationally-celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist, was the Convocations speaker Thursday in the Gilbert Great Hall in the R. Haze Hunter Conference Center.

Nabhan’s presentation was titled “Conservation You can Taste: Restoring Biodiversity to the Farm and Table” and focused on efforts that are being made to bring back species of edible food crops.

Nabhan also spent Wednesday making classroom visits and visiting with local farmers.

The Convocations started with a showing of a short documentary that ...

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State of Tucson’s Food System

On December 11, 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced designation of the City of Tucson as a City of Gastronomy in the Creative Cities Network.

The City partnered with the University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Southwest Center, Edible Baja Arizona magazine, and many other community partners to successfully apply for recognition of Tucson Basin’s rich agricultural heritage, thriving food traditions, and culinary distinctiveness through a UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation.

This publication is ...

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Borders Out of Register: Edge Effects in the U.S.–Mexico Foodshed

This paper addresses how food systems and transboundary food supply chains are mediated and shaped by (cross-) cultural and geopolitical borders that function as selective filters. We focus on the ways in which the political boundary in a formerly cohesive foodshed generates “edge effects” that affect (1) food safety, and (2) food waste, particularly in desert communities adjacent to the U.S.–Mexico border. We hypothesize that as these various boundary lines get “out of register” with one another, their dissonance creates ...

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“Restoration Economy” Strives to Protect Pollinators, Create Jobs

Conservationists hope to boost livelihoods along the poverty-stricken Arizona–Mexico borderlands by repairing habitat for more than 900 species of wild pollinators

 

 

Gary Nabhan and I are bumping along in a rental car down a two-track dirt road that follows the edge of Sonoita Creek’s floodplain, some 29 kilometers north of the Arizona–Mexico border. Nabhan—an ethnobiologist, conservation biologist and agroecologist at the University of Arizona and author of more than 30 books on food, farming and nature—tells me how extraordinary ...

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Living, Dying, and Eating in the “Day of the Dead” Belt

To properly celebrate Día de los Muertos, we must do one thing: offer our deceased loved ones the food that feeds their souls.

Other regions of North America may claim that they are the Corn Belt or the Bible Belt, but here in Tucson, we cling to the buckle of the cinturón of Day of the Dead. In an arc stretching from New Orleans through San Antonio and Albuquerque, from Tucson to Yuma and San Diego, the Dia ...

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Food Chain Restoration for Pollinators: Regional Habitat Recovery Strategies Involving Protected Areas of the Southwest

Steve Buckley and Gary Paul Nabhan

Natural Areas Journal Oct 2016 : Vol. 36, Issue 4, pg(s) 489-497 doi: 10.3375/043.036.0415

 

National Park Service Southwest Exotic Plant Management Team 12661 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85748

University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies Tucson, AZ 85748

Corresponding author: ; 530-595-6187

Steve Buckley is the botanist for the Southwest Exotic Plant Management ...

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Feeding Our Future: Harvesting the Desert

Just before the monsoon rains, it’s time for the mesquite trees to start dropping their long, cream-colored pods. It’s also time for Brad Lancaster to spread the love of mesquite to the people of Tucson.

Brad Lancaster is co-founder of Desert Harvesters. “We’re a local nonprofit that’s all about promoting the growing, harvesting, processing, enjoying and celebrating of local, wild, native foods,” he explains, chewing on a freshly-picked mesquite pod.

“Mmmm! This one is sweet! Not like candy-bar sweet, but ...

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Native American farmers deserve to be fully represented on state agriculture board

We typically celebrate Columbus Day with clichéd truisms: An adventurous European Christian explorer “discovered” a New World filled with a “strange people,” gold and silver, pungent spices and marvelous crops, all for the taking. In truth, the land had been not been “discovered” by Columbus, but had been home to hundreds of distinctive farming, fishing and hunting peoples for millennia. Even the first sighting of land from the explorer’s ships was not made by Columbus himself, but by a Jew ...

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Tucson Becomes an Unlikely Food Star

TUCSON — There are food deserts, those urban neighborhoods where finding healthful food is nearly impossible, and then there is Tucson.

When the rain comes down hard on a hot summer afternoon here, locals start acting like Cindy Lou Who on Christmas morning. They turn their faces to the sky and celebrate with prickly pear margaritas. When you get only 12 inches of rain a year, every drop matters.

Coaxing ...

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20 Native North American Foods with Stories to Tell

Indigenous and traditional crops are an important source of food and fiber for people around the globe. Often these crops are resilient to pests and disease or can tolerate high temperatures, drought, or flooding. And while millions of people in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America depend on native crop varieties, North America is also home to many important indigenous crops that need to be protected for future generations.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since the early ...

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Desert Sage – An Interview with Gary Nabhan

by T. Stone
Boyce Thompson Arboretum Magazine

Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the premier science and nature writers of the American Southwest. He’s written or edited over 35 books, mostly on the subject of arid-land farming, indigenous culture, and food production. He is an integral part of the lineage of Southwest writers which includes Charles Bowden and Edward Abbey. But it’s not just writing he is known for.

Nabhan was born in 1952, and grew up in Gary, Indiana. He earned ...

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Tucson, Arizona, cultivates its foodie reputation – with a nod from Unesco

Having gained Unesco city of gastronomy recognition, Tucson’s new wave of downtown restaurants are making the most of the area’s unusual desert foods

 

 

The desert surrounding Tucson, Arizona, is filled with soaring Saguaro cactus, their bright red fruits long a delicacy here. The abundance of this native food is one reason why, last December, Tucson became America’s first Unesco city of gastronomy, joining just 18 others worldwide, despite having fewer fancy restaurants than many US cities, and being one of its ...

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Tiny pollinators play a huge role in our daily lives

Though small, pollinators play a big role in our lives. They make our world more beautiful — most flowering plant species rely on pollinators to reproduce. Pollinators also are responsible for keeping us fed. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports more than 75 percent of the world’s food crops rely on pollination by insects and other animals.

Without pollinators, there would be no coffee, chocolate, tomatoes or apples. There also would be no milk, cheese or ...

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Gary Nabhan: Seeds of Change

The next time you are putting a slice of tomato on your sandwich, ask yourself where it came from. Not which area of the country, but which seed stock. One of the often overlooked aspects of food insecurity amid climate uncertainty is the push by big agricultural interests to get us to buy their seeds and their seeds only.

 

Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio, Gary Nabhan, has taken the fight to the corporate seed merchants through the local ...

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Flowers, Creatures & Contemplatives Embracing One Another in the Wilderness World

I.

 

“…the silence of the forest is my bride & the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love & out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in the beds all over the world.”

Thomas Merton (1997), Dancing in the Water of Life (journals)

 

Among the earliest memories imprinted in my mind: ...

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The Importance of Indigenous Knowledge in Curbing the Loss of Language and Biodiversity

BENJAMIN T. WILDER, CAROLYN O’MEARA, LAURIE MONTI, AND GARY PAUL NABHAN

Biodiversity inventory, monitoring, and species-recovery efforts can be advanced by a dynamic collaboration of Western, citizen, and ethnoscience. Indigenous and local traditional knowledge of place-based biodiversity is perhaps the oldest scientific tradition on earth. We illustrate how an all taxa biodiversity inventory network of projects in collaboration with the Comcaac (Seri people) in northwestern Mexico is advancing not only biosystematics but also species recovery, habitat restoration, language conservation and maintenance, ...

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Jim Harrison was More Than Just a Pretty Face and Patagonia’s Finest Writer

Less than a week before Jim Harrison passed from our immediate presence, I had the pleasure of sitting at a picnic table at the Wagon Wheel Saloon drinking beer with him, his daughter, Jamie, his bird-hunting partner, J.B. Miller, and my wife, Laurie. Although Jim was likely suffering chronic pain from back injuries, as well as from shingles and gout, he spoke with great affection and gratitude that Jamie had come down from the Livingston, Montana, to spend time with ...

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Ethnobiology as the Unifying Theory of All Things Biocultural

An interview with Gary Paul Nabhan, editor of the newly-released book, Ethnobiology for the Future, from the University of Arizona Press.

 

Q. What motivated you to put together this anthology on how ethnobiologists are exploring the links between cultural and ecological diversity?

A. I’ve been engaged in cross-cultural research and education through the inter-discipline of ethnobiology for exactly 40 years. Over that time period, we’ve witnessed a dramatic loss of species diversity, habitat heterogeneity, cultural diversity and its ...

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A New Climate for Farming

Interview by Erik Hoffner, World Ark contributor

Feeling the heat yet? The summer of 2015, the hottest in recorded history, melted roads and killed thousands in India and Pakistan. It also prolonged a crippling drought in the American West that triggered controversial water usage restrictions in California. While it can be hard enough for people to cope with these conditions, what about our food systems? How will farmers and gardeners adapt to this harsh new reality?

To answer this question, author and ...

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A Conversation with Gary Paul Nabhan

30 Minutes spoke with Gary Paul Nabhan, Ph.D., about Tucson’s recent designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy and what that means. He is the newly appointed director for Center for Regional Food Studies. Nabhan discussed the breadth of Tucson’s food cultures as well as the importance of food justice and food security for everyone in our community.

Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security,is an ethnobiologist, agroecologist, conservation biologist ...

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