We need both kinds of work to come together as one, rather than being endeavors.

Many of us work to save species, habitats, seeds, breeds and the earth itself. Others work to ensure that the fruits of these labors—the healthy food harvested from restored landscapes—actually reaches our communities—including the elderly, infirm or otherwise disadvantaged—to benefit them, to delight them, to nourish them and to enliven their sensory responses to this beautiful, delicious world we live within.

Savoring the world does not mean consuming it as much as valuing its species and peoples and landscapes for their ...

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There is No Such Thing as the World’s Best Tomato!

Dear Jere Gettle and Friends at Baker Creek Seeds, Have you gone nuts or just gotten greedy? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE WORLD’S BEST TOMATO. There is simply an astonishing diversity of tomatoes, each of which tastes great in different climates, under different growing conditions used in different recipes.

Now quit trying to sell us silver bullet “superfoods” and get back ...

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Fifty-Two Palestinians Killed and 2500 Injured by the Israeli Military in Just One Day

Fifty-Two Palestinians Killed and 2500 Injured by the Israeli Military in Just One Day, as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump smile for a photo op at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem? I am inconsolable about the loss of life on the Palestine-Israel border today, and how Trump and Netanyahu have placed citizens of both countries in further danger.

After visiting Israel and the ...

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KCRW – Good Food – Tucson’s foodways

In 2015, Tucson was named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S. due to the region’s more than 4,000 year-old agricultural history, among other reasons. Gary Nabhan is an ethnobotanist and the founding director of regional food studies at the University of Arizona.

He recently authored a report on the state of Tucson’s food system and visits to talk about the significance of the designation.

 

 

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This originally broadcasted May 12, 2018 on KCRW.

 

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Be on the look for Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair my forthcoming book from Chelsea Green Publishing

Be on the look for Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair my forthcoming book from Chelsea Green Publishing, with a forewood by the legendary Petey Mesquitey.

FROM A PREVIEW ALREADY ON THE WOOD-WIDE WEB::

In his latest book, Mesquite, Gary Paul Nabhan employs humor and contemplative reflection to convince readers that they have never really glimpsed the essence of what he calls “arboreality.”

As a ...

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Saving Our Food Supply in the Face of Climate Change

In the already-scorching Southwest, a group of scientists, ranchers and farmers are figuring out how to adapt the current agricultural system for a hotter, drier planet.

A smoldering vista southeast of Tucson, Arizona—a city that saw 68 days of temperatures at 100°F or higher last year, and averages less than 12 inches of rainfall annually. Photos by Russ Schleipman.

Gary Paul Nabhan ...

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There’s more to agave than tequila

You can sip me, you can eat me and you can moisturize with me—what am I? The agave plant.

Today, this plant is widely known as the key ingredient in the alcoholic beverage that is taken with lime and salt or mixed in to make margaritas, but agave has a much greater importance in the Sonoran Desert than just tequila.

“We think about tequila as the major way we know the plant today, but up until a century ago more people ate ...

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Native Chiltepine pepper in Southern Arizona

Something other than coffee is brewing at Exo Roast Co. Along with the typical coffee beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, and chai, Exo Roast Co. also offers something with a little extra kick to it—a chiltepine cold brew.

“It sprung from an interest in using local ingredients,” Doug Smith, co-owner of Exo Roast Co., said.

From the very beginning Smith knew he wanted to incorporate local ingredients into his menu. As someone who likes the sweet, savory combination of chocolate ...

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A rather remarkable visit from two great restoration ecologists, James and Thibaud Aronson.

A rather remarkable visit from two great restoration ecologists this last week, James and Thibaud Aronson… they are in the thick of discussions among public health scientists and ecological restoration scientists about how restored habitats not only buffer us from the arrival of pests, diseases and weeds, but directly improve human health and well-being.

We probably need a 1000 more scientists like them working on the connection between the health of the soil microbiome and that of the human microbiome alone… ...

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Shifts in Plant Chemical Defenses of Chile Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Due to Domestication in Mesoamerica

We propose that comparisons of wild and domesticated Capsicum species can serve as a model system for elucidating how crop domestication influences biotic and abiotic interactions mediated by plant chemical defenses. Perhaps no set of secondary metabolites (SMs) used for plant defenses and human health have been better studied in the wild and in milpa agro-habitats than those found in Capsicum species. However, very few scientific studies on SM variation have been conducted in both the domesticated landraces of chile ...

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When we get outside to work we harvest an even more delicious capacity to respect one another.

So should it be any surprise that when we break bread and eat together with people from backgrounds different than our own, fear falls away and we find previously unanticipated common ground?

If there is a corollary to that principle, it is that when we get outside to work side by side together to restore food-producing landscapes and to recover historically declining food species or varieties, we harvest an even more delicious capacity to respect one another and move toward long-term ...

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ThE bOrDeR iS nOt A wAr ZoNe

National Guardsmen, Go Home!
Today 330 National Guard troops
came to the Arizona-Sonora border
12 miles south of our home,
one for nearly every mile of the state’s line;
They are likely to break more laws
than they will enforce.
Even the Border Patrol
is better trained on human rights
& on respecting wildlife laws.
The Border Patrol needs more INTEL
to stop drug runners, their drones
and their ultralights that fly over my home
nearly every night, not an ...

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In the Arizona Desert, Tucson Models Affordable Food Access

UNESCO’s first City of Gastronomy in the U.S. relies on its built-in biodiversity and a wide network of food justice organizations to feed its most marginalized residents.

Tucson is a foodie town. But rather than artisan breads and local avocados drawing crowds of tourists, it’s the relationship between diverse plants and people that earned it the distinction of being the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States in 2015.

The UNESCO distinction came as a result of ...

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The elders hate the feeling that their grandchildren will have to leave their homes to find livable wages and satisfying livelihoods.

In rural areas I know well, the elders I know love the land but hate the feeling that their grandchildren will have to leave their homes and move elsewhere to find livable wages and satisfying livelihoods.

What if we helped them find jobs helping to recover rare wild food species and to increase the food-producing capacity of their rural landscapes through restoring habitats for fish and game, wild foraged plants and other non-timber natural products? What if family members had a ...

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We need to find places in our food system for displaced farmers, herders and cooks, rather than seeing them further marginalized.

This week, Jews and Christians are mulling over these words from a time when thousands of refugees hungry for food and justice had fled Egypt and were anxious about their future:  “And this is how you refugees shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, only sandals on your feet, and your shepherd’s staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste, in hope of safely passing-over.

We need a food movement that is fully responsive to the millions ...

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Borderlands wildlife doesn’t need the National Guard

Have you ever crossed a national boundary and realized that wildlife had crossed the very same line? We’ve frequently seen the evidence of such crossings, as both of us have lived and worked close to the international boundary with Mexico for much of the last four decades. From endangered pronghorn antelope to lesser long-nosed bats, rufous hummingbirds and monarch butterflies, itinerant species that routinely cross the border have thrilled us with their stunning presence.

These creatures and many others have long ...

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Two trends within The Community Based Restoration Movement, that should interest all environmentalists.

Two trends within the community-based restoration movement should interest all environmentalists; they are a.) the ecological restoration of food-producing landscapes; and b.) the recovery of wild species threatened by both historic overharvesting and habitat degradation.

There are roughly 4000 species of edible plants and 250 species of edible fish and game in North America. From my surveys over the last decade, it appears that about 17% of the species are being recovered by collaborations involving tribes, other hunters, fishers and foragers, ...

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Need some good news? Grassroots efforts — largely free of governmental, multinational corporations and national philanthropic foundations, have climbed!

Need some good news? Grassroots efforts –largely free of governmental, multinational corporations and national philanthropic foundations– have increased the diversity of cultivated food plant varieties in the U.S. food system from 9720 varieties in the mid-1980s to 21,640 varieties in the mid 2010s. THATS 2.2 TIMES MORE FOOD PLANT DIVERSITY THAN WHAT THERE WAS IN OUR FIELDS, GARDENS, ORCHARDS AND TABLES 30 YEARS BEFORE!

We have gone from just 375 non-profit and micro-enterprise seed and nursery outlets in the U.S. in ...

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Seed Trade Census reports that over 12,892 seed crops are now available in the United States.

The new Seed Trade Census released by the Seed Savers Exchange reports that over 12,892 open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, culinary herbs, legumes and grains are now available in the United States, more than twice the number (5534) available in 1981, when the census began.

Many of those annual seed crop varieties have been restored for use in our gardens, on our farms and on our tables by people like you, working through informal networks in and among communities of growers independent ...

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We need a broad cross-section of America’s talent to be engaged in the restoration of our food-producing capacity.

With regard to achieving long-term successes in edible species recovery and foodshed restoration, we now know that the diversity of such players involved in such efforts, has everything to do with the successful revival of the richness of nutritious foods and delicious drinks that we are beginning to see in communities all across the continent.

In essence, the best means of assuring a diversity of foods for our food security has everything to do with sanctioning and supporting a diversity of ...

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