Build a Border Wall? Here’s an Idea That’s Better for Communities and the Climate

President Trump has declared a national emergency to fund a wall along our nation’s southern border. The border wall issue has bitterly divided people across the United States, becoming a vivid symbol of political deadlock.

But for many of us who actually live along the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall is simply beside the point. We know that a wall can’t fix the problems that straddle the boundary between our nations; nor will it build on our shared strengths. So a group ...

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We need to resist the disease that has sickened our societies the last few years.

While the gridlock in Washington DC & elsewhere in America continues, people of diverse faiths and ideologies who live in the borderlands are coming together voluntarily, congenially and strategically to anchor themselves in collaborations toward common goals and to deal with underlying causes of societal unrest and environmental degradation.

I saw this in Bahia Kino Friday afternoon as Mexican, Comcac, and US youth came together for an open house/ teach-in about the need to care for the creatures, cultures and coastlines ...

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Healing Our Land and Communities Through the Power of Food

As an agricultural biologist, ethnobiologist and author, Gary Paul Nabhan is a renowned pioneer in the local food movement. In his new book, Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities, Prof. Nabhan writes about the power of working the soil with our hands in a collaborative spirit, with disparate groups. Gary Nabhan and host Steve Curwood discuss how restoring the health of our lands can improve the health of our communities.

CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve ...

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Mesquite Manifesto: A Collaborative Vision for the Borderland

The recent acrimonious debates about further fortifying barriers all across the 2000 mile US/Mexico boundary line beg a larger question: Just what might make communities more stable, secure and prosperous while providing more livelihoods as well as wildlife habitat on both sides of the border? What particular natural resources and cultural assets in the region can be utilized to offer long-term solutions to problems perceived to be border-related?

Within the US, border counties have twice the level of poverty and food ...

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The Radical Center: Episode 124

Gary Paul Nabhan, author and father of the local food movement, joins host Jenna Liut to talk about his new book, Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Communities and our Land, which contains a collection of stories that illustrate what good can happen when people organize and work together to restore land in order to produce healthy foods. They discuss just how divided our nation is today, various community-based collaborative restoration strategies, and the unprecedented impacts they have ...

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Author Sees Food Systems as a Way to Unite People

We often hear about a divided United States — separated by politics, race, economics and other factors — but Gary Paul Nabhan says there are great examples of partnerships and teamwork that are worth analyzing around the country.

Nabhan is an agricultural ecologist, ethnobotanist, author, and Ecumenical Franciscan brother who traveled the country for his most recent book, “Food From the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities.”

In it, Nabhan provides examples of communities that are working on projects such ...

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What do we tell those security forces who are still working?

With 800,000 federal workers out of work, what do we tell those so-called “security forces” who are still working? Among the 800,000 are those who protect our food supply, health services, community safety and environment. While no less critical to our country they are being kept from doing their jobs by Trump’s government shutdown while the Border Patrol stays on to support the further militarization of our border. The Union of Border Patrol employees has opted to be pawns for ...

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Food From The Radical Center Needs to Reach Refugees in the U.S.

I was heartbroken to hear of the deaths of two Guatemalan children within 10 days who were in Border federal agency custody in the deserts of New Mexico, as I am sure most of you were. But I also worry about NPR’s new report that Trump allowed only 62 Syrian refugees into our country this year, compared to Obama receiving 12,000 a year, and my grandparent’s home country of Lebanon receiving more than a million in the last 6 years.

By ...

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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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