Restoration Economy

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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A Fresh Look at Democracy from the Desert

The owl cries out before the dawning light
To all the other desert dwellers, proclaiming
“I’m still here! Maybe you are too!”
But what a here it is,
Yuccas and saguaros marching forth
To cast their ballots somewhere out
Across the rocky, cactus-studded plains
While up above them, in high places
On Frog Mountain, clouds hold a summit
To determine the next legitimate President
Of this parched and broken terrain.
“Well, I’ll try it!” says the eager packrat.
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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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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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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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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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My Turn: In search of equality for Arizona farmworkers

Arizona farmworkers are more diverse than you think, and without them, up to a quarter of crops might go unharvested.

 

 

A half century since Cesar Chavez led a national boycott of grapes to highlight the civil rights of farmworkers, the status of both immigrant and native contributors to Arizona’s food system is still in debate. Although Chavez left an indelible mark on our agricultural history, we must look and see how much more equity Arizona’s food system has ...

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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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The Road to UNESCO – Tucson ambitiously seeks to be recognized as the first creative city for gastronomy in the country—but is it realistic?

By Heather Hoch

The winding, rocky road up to Gary Nabhan’s Patagonia home is definitely not suited for a sedan. It gets pretty hairy a couple of times while creeping up the path going just a few miles per hour upward, but there, at the top of a hill with a beautiful vantage of a couple local farms, is Nabhan’s rustic Southwestern home. The irony is that, in trying to figure out what makes Tucson a gastronomic destination, driving an hour ...

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Pollinator Plants of the Desert Southwest

Native Milkweeds

The Desert Southwest harbors at least 41 of the 76 milkweed (Asclepias spp.) species known to exist in the lower 48 states. The species richness of milkweeds in this region is influenced by the tremendous diversity and range of vegetation types, soils, topography, climate, and the exposure of unusual rock types that occur over more than a 9,000 foot elevation range. The nectar of milkweed flowers is attractive to dozens of insects including bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, ...

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Conservation You Can Taste: Saving Forgotten Fruits of the Borderlands

Three hundred years ago, Spanish missionaries introduced a suite of arid-adapted fruit and herb varieties to the Sonoran Desert region, many of which have barely survived to this day.

These desert-adapted, heirloom fruits enriched the diets and diversified the farms indigenous and immigrants alike, but fell out of availability and culinary fashion. Today, these forgotten fruits are once again needed because they are tolerant of heat, drought and even alkaline conditions.

 

Go to Barnraiser, and learn about Saving Forgotten Fruits of the ...

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Q&A from the Conservation You Can Taste Tour

These are various questions that were given to Gary Paul Nabhan by hosts of his tour Conservation You Can Taste. In particular, these came from representatives from the University of Ohio, and the University of Minnesota.

QUESTION: You have worked as a plant explorer and now you are an orchard-keeper of over 150 varieties of wild and heirloom fruits. What prompted your interest in food biodiversity?

NABHAN: Our Lebanese grandfather was an immigrant who grew trees in the Old World ...

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Mexican farmers are trucking produce into an Arizona town—where tons of it gets thrown into landfills

Nogales, Arizona, is the largest inland food port in the world. Much of the fresh produce trucked up the “food superhighway” of Mexico’s west coast comes through there—and a shocking amount of it doesn’t travel much farther, dropping into local landfills instead of being sent to consumers.

It’s a loss to the farmers who harvested the food and to the consumers who would have eaten it, argue filmmakers Jesse Ash and Phil Buccellato, who made ...

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Award-Winning Sundance Film Offers ‘Innovative Solutions to Mend our Broken Food System’

Sundance Institute premiered the Short Film Challenge today at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The program “is designed to spark global conversation about solutions to challenges like extreme hunger and poverty,” according to Sundance. Beginning today, the short films will premiere on a variety of digital platforms.

There were 1,387 submissions from 89 countries on Tongal.com, a creative platform “which powered a global call for film entries that used the transformative power of storytelling ...

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Cowboy Keynote: Speaker urges honest discourse in land disputes

The most contentious disagreements over land management pit ranchers against environmentalists in range wars with endless back-and-forth battles.

But the stakeholders overwhelmingly agree with one another on a majority of issues, according to Gary Paul Nabhan, a professor at the University of Arizona, and this year’s keynote speaker for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

“If we share 90 percent of the same goals and values, why are we always jabbing at each other about that 10 percent where we ...

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Tucson a model for planning for drier future, author says

By: Elena Acoba, Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Internationally recognized food and farming activist Gary Paul Nabhan says Tucson gardeners do a good job recognizing the importance of harvesting rainwater to grow crops in the desert climate.

But on the heels of Tucson’s warmest year on record, Nabhan feels more can be done.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis on things like harvesting water, but not much on the other ways that deal with scarce water and cooling crops,” ...

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A Tale of Two Foodsheds: Why Slow Money Strategies Matter

In Alleviating Poverty & Food Insecurity through Jumpstarting Farms & Food Microenterprises in Low Income Urban & Rural Communities: Field Notes from Arizona and New Mexico

 

It’s been roughly fifteen years since the food localization movement gained ground nationally, but some communities and states have lagged far behind others in recovering or newly building vibrant local food economies. And yet, many are still grappling with how true democratizing food systems and innovative financing can tangibly make a difference in ...

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Tucson, Arizona – An International Culinary Destination

The City of Gastronomy title is a part a UNESCO network of “Creative Cities” working together toward a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development. Joining the Creative Cities Network as a City of Gastronomy will highlight Tucson’s cultural assets on a global platform. It will also promote Tucson’s diverse cultural products in national and international markets by drawing attention to our vibrant community’s:

 

• numerous restaurants and chefs featuring indigenous ingredients used in traditional cooking;
• ...
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