This lecture will present the hypothesis that every economic and social stage in the development of globalization was first initiated and refined among Semitic traders of aromatics, including Arab, Sephardic Jewish, Phoenecian and Nabatean spice merchants working in trancontinental networks over the last 3500 years.
The term culinary imperialism is introduced to recognize their wide-ranging influences on ethnic cuisines in the Old World and, after 1492, in the New World. This narrative also sheds new light on the roots of cooperation ...Continue Reading →
This summer, regional water planners announced a game-changer for Arizona’s economy and already-fragile food security status. As early as 2017, we are likely to see the rationing of river irrigation water available for Arizona agriculture as a result of the pervasive drought that has plagued the Colorado River watershed for most of the last 15 years. Planners concede that Arizona’s farms irrigated from canals coming off the Colorado ...Continue Reading →
Go to the produce section in any Whole Foods, AJ’s, or Sprouts in the Tucson area, and at least 237 of the 453 fruits and vegetables found there were brought to you by a now-imperiled fleet of flying pollinators. While scientists and farmers in Baja Arizona were among the first in the country to sound the alarm about pollinator declines, they are also leading the way ...Continue Reading →
By Kay Watt
A miller’s daughter spun gold thread from hay. Stone soup fed an entire town. A farmer grew tons of juicy melons in one of the harshest desert climates in the Americas. In each story, something is created from nothing. Of the three, only the story of the Chihuahuan melon farmer is neither fairy tale nor parable. Centuries-old technology known as olla irrigation breathes life into acres of melon vines, enabling them to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable ...Continue Reading →
The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will celebrate a little-known corner of Mexico — Baja California Sur — and its rich ranchero culture. From Jan. 26-31, 2015, the small high-desert town of Elko, Nev., will welcome Baja’s vaqueros, who will share with their American cowboy counterparts the traditional acoustic music, ranch cuisine, local art and craftwork, traditional lore and humor of their Californio roots.
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has a long history of organizing cultural exchanges with people from around ...Continue Reading →
The closest we armchair travellers normally get to the olfactory sensation of walking through the globe’s most fragrant souks is opening the doors of our spice cupboards. The bottles may be sealed shut but the aroma of their contents —cardamom and cumin, cinnamon and saffron, turmeric and vanilla — wafts towards our nostrils and for a brief moment we are not in our kitchens ...Continue Reading →
Santa Fe + New Mexican
Gary Paul Nabhan weaves a fascinating story in his new book, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey. He tracks the pathways along which traders carried spices — piquant and pungent, delicious and dreamy — from their places of origin to the rest of the world. His account is peppered with recipes as well as essays on cardamom, cloves, Damascus rose, saffron, vanilla, tuocha pu-erh, and 20 other ...Continue Reading →
Regional water planners last month made a prediction that will likely be a game-changer for Arizona’s economy, revealing just how water scarcity will restructure the future of our food security. As early as 2017, drought in the Lower Colorado River’s watershed could lead to irrigation rationing for central Arizona agriculture.
Planners suggest that Arizona’s farms irrigated by Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs ...Continue Reading →
• Commentaries on Gary’s new book, Cumin, Camels and Caravans between dinner courses, with signing afterwards
• Adaptations of ancient Middle Eastern recipes from book by Chef Greg La Prad
• Limited seating, rsvp by August 9 to Overland Trout, 520 455-9316 or email Jennifer La Prad
If we’ve learned anything as food growers in recent decades, it’s that climate change has placed not just one but many kinds of stress on our gardens and farms. “Global warming” does not adequately describe the “new normal,” given that many food sheds and farms have suffered from a ...
In the Southwest, the chili pepper is practically a dietary staple. It gives salsa a spicy crunch, it brings depth to Mexican sauces, and provides an extra kick to Sonoran hot dogs.
Plenty of other world cuisines rely on it too, from China to India to Thailand. But Latin America, researchers have confirmed, is where it started.
In a study of global significance, researchers have figured out where the first domesticated chili pepper crop was farmed. University of Arizona ethnobiologist and agroecologist ...Continue Reading →
An international team that includes a University of Arizona researcher has delved into the DNA of the chile and found its Eden: a valley in east-central Mexico where indigenous farmers domesticated the fiery pepper more than 6,500 years ago.
The team, using linguistic and ecological evidence as well as archaeological and genetic data, traced the ancestry of the first domesticated chiles to the Tehuacan Valley stretching from southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to ...Continue Reading →
The domesticated chili pepper—the world’s most widely grown spice crop—got its start in central-east Mexico, report researchers.
Results from the four-pronged investigation—based on linguistic and ecological evidence as well as the more traditional archaeological and genetic data—suggest a regional, rather than a geographically specific, birthplace for the domesticated chili pepper.
That region, extending from southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to southeastern Veracruz, is further south than was previously thought, the researchers find.
The region also is different from areas of origin that have ...Continue Reading →
Journal of Ethnobiology 33(2): 203–236
By: Rafael de Grenade and Gary Paul Nabhan
The oases of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico, harbor farming systems with crops first introduced by Jesuit missionaries during their political, economic, and ecclesiastical dominance from 1697–1768. The oases represent geographies of historic dissemination and hold assemblages of heirloom perennial crop species with origins in six of seven continents. The first Jesuit missionaries to the peninsula documented their agricultural introductions in detail, and these historic documents ...Continue Reading →
At dawn on this year’s spring equinox, a group of people gathered in Patagonia, Arizona, to declare the Sonoita Creek – Upper Santa Cruz River watershed the Pollinator Capital of the United States. An interpretive sign, erected in a pollinator garden on Patagonia’s village green, noted that hundreds of species of native bees, dozens of species of butterflies and moths, fourteen species of hummingbirds, and two species of nectar-feeding bats regularly frequent the native flowers in this semi-arid landscape. But ...Continue Reading →
By Gary Nabhan
It is puzzling that Monsanto’s Vice President Robert Fraley recently became one of the recipients of the World Food Prize for providing GMO seeds to combat the effects of climate change, just weeks after Monsanto itself reported a $264 million loss this quarter because of a decline in interest and plummeting sales in its genetically engineered “climate-ready” seeds. And since Fraley received his award, the production of GMO corn has ...Continue Reading →
OVER THE LAST three decades, more than one-hundred thousand plant and animal varieties and species have become endangered around the planet, many of which formerly provided humankind with food or beverages. At the same time, a remarkable counter trend has occurred in America’s gardens and orchards, and on its farms and ranch pastures.
Although virtually unnoticed in some circles, more than fifteen thousand unique vegetable, fruit, legume and grain varieties and dozens of livestock and poultry breeds have returned to U.S. ...Continue Reading →
Santa Fe * New Mexican
Updated: 11:06 pm, Thu Sep 5, 2013
Written By: Staci Matlock
Ethnobotanist, seed saver, and author Gary Paul Nabhan says he’s not a “doomsday” kind of guy. But even his optimism took a dive for a little while as he watched climate change affect the environment. He saw the impact of drought on his own land and that of other farmers.
“It was tough visiting my brother-in-law on his pecan orchard near Las Cruces and ...Continue Reading →