Collaborative Conservation

Did you know that mezcala and tequilas were bottled and savored in Tucson over a century ago?

Did you know that mezcala and tequilas were bottled and savored in Tucson over a century ago? Ironically, only a small percentage of the current residents of Tucson realize that these wild plants were artisanally processed for food and beverages up through recent decades.

Most have never heard of Old Pueblo pioneer Julius Goldbaum who, from 1886 to 1903, distilled, bottled and marketed local mezcals and imported tequilas on the corner of Congress and Meyer in what is now downtown Tucson.

Also known as Julius ...

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Gary Nabhan: Solar idea is a viable, job-creating option to border wall

Because I have lived within 20 miles of the U.S./Mexico boundary much of my life, the complexity of the debate regarding President Trump’s border wall proposal is not lost on me. I have worked in communities on both sides of the Arizona-Sonora border, the border in the world with the greatest disparity for dwellers on its two sides.

There are horrific differences in access to clean water, healthy food and jobs with livable wages that currently divide Mexican and U.S. citizens. ...

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Howard Scott Gentry memory recognized the week of April 28th to May 7th

Let us now praise famous mezcaleros! It was 75 years ago that my mentor, the great plant explorer Howard Scott Gentry, published his Rio Mayo Plants, and 35 years ago that he published Agaves of Continental North America.

As a kid, I worked one summer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Metro Phoenix helping Dr. Gentry check herbarium specimens for localities of the ...

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Did you know that extensive prehistoric landscapes of mescal fields underlie much of the Tucson Basin?

Did you know that extensive prehistoric landscapes of mescal fields underlie much of the Tucson Basin? Archaeologists Suzanne and Paul Fish have also documented that at least one (or perhaps two) species of agave were prehistorically cultivated by the Hohokam in the Tucson Basin.

There, agaves covered tens of thousands of acres of desert landscapes, as they did from central Sonora to the south and the Grand Canyon to the north. Many of these agricultural landscapes still exhibit prehistorically constructed terraces, rock alignments, rock piles and roasting ...

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How can Tucson and surrounding Sonoran Desert communities revitalize a legacy of using plants such as mezcal both for food and for drink?

“Welcome to the Agave family!” was the way that late Arizona botanist Howard Scott Gentry used to greet aficionados of these wondrously-shaped and deliciously-tasting desert-adapted plants. Of course, many Americans are aware of the fact that is the popular name of a distilled alcoholic beverage, but how many newcomers to Southern Arizona know that it is also the common name for several kinds of native plants that are as good to eat as they are to drink?

Also known as the ...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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What Makes Tucson Deserving of the Title of the United States’ First Capital of Gastronomy

The Arizona city joins Unesco’s growing list of “Creative Cities”

 

 

 

By: Jennifer Nalewicki

Every day, tens of thousands of cars barrel down Interstate 10, a highway that hugs the western edge of Tucson, Arizona. Many of these drivers may not realize that they are driving past a region with one of the longest food heritages on the continent. Often considered the birthplace of Tucson itself, this swath of Sonoran Desert  nestled at the base of the ...

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UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Launches New Center for Regional Food Studies

From agricultural sciences to folklore, cutting-edge nutrition to ancient food systems, UA researchers have a long history of researching, documenting and promoting the borderland culinary heritage that makes Tucson a distinct food city. To coincide with Tucson’s designation as the newest UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Southwest Center have established the University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies. The new center will advance food justice, food security and food systems innovations ...

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Tucson Designated UNESCO World City of Gastronomy

Tucson becomes the first city in the United States to be recognized as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy.

By: Megan Kimble / EBA

We’ve known it—those of us who eat here have tasted it. We’ve felt it in the soil under our fingernails. We’ve seen it in the magenta stain of prickly pear. We’ve heard it in the hammer mill grinding sweet speckled mesquite; smelled it in the exhale of steam from a crowded pot of tamales.

Tucson has always ...

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Desert prophet of new food crops

For 40 years Richard Felger has promoted native plants to feed the Southwest

Richard Felger has always been a little ahead of his time. Even before he was a teenager in southern California, he cultivated rare cacti and orchids at home, and kept three alligators in his bathtub. Before he graduated from the University of Arizona, he shadowed some of the world’s greatest desert ecologists. On his first trip down to Alamos, Sonora, he realized what would drive his ...

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Seeking Food Justice with Forgotten Fruit

Gary Nabhan wants to create new opportunities for immigrant populations in Patagonia while reviving a taste for forgotten desert fruits, and he needs your help.

There are 68 days left to join the effort to save our desert’s forgotten fruits – and create new green jobs in Arizona’s borderland while we’re at it.

The Project

MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award recipient and Edible Baja Arizona senior contributing editor Gary Nabhan is leading the charge with Barnraiser fundraiser. His goal? ...

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