Collaborative Conservation

Gary’s Vision – The Big Picture…

Caring Capacity versus Carrying Capacity

Re-Designing Borderland Food Systems for the Health of the Land and the Health of Its Multicultural Communities

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Kellogg Chair in Food and Water Security for the Southwest Borderlands, University of Arizona

THE CHALLENGE

More than seventy years ago, Aldo Leopold first compared wholeness and health in the human body with those attributes in farmscapes. In a prophetic essay entitled “The Farmer as a Conservationist,” Leopold (1939, 1999) offered this analogy:

“It seems to me that ...

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Pollinators as Social and Ecological Capital in the Pollinator Capitol of America

When most people think of the “birds and the bees,” they are inevitably thinking about relationships… romantic or otherwise. But what few conservationist advocates remember is that their neighbors, friends and kin who may be unschooled in the details of conservation biology almost intuitively “get” that the conservation of relationships may be as necessary as the conservation of species or of habitats. Most people will agree that the relationships between pollen-carrying animals and plants are worthy of our respect, protection ...

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Capturing Synergies to Build Healthy Communities in the Southwest Borderlands

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Sabores Sin Fronteras Foodways Alliance &, Kellogg Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security, University of Arizona

The term food hub  has become used more and more frequently as one of several means to build and strengthen regional food systems. The USDA’s working definition of a food hub  is a “centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced foods.”

As I hear more and more food ...

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What are the Heritage Foods of the Rio Santa Cruz and Why Do They Matter?

by Gary Paul Nabhan, Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security, University of Arizona

The cultivation and harvest of domesticated foods began in the Rio Santa Cruz watershed began more than 4100 years ago, making it one of the oldest continuously-farmed cultural landscapes in North America. Surprisingly, some of the same crop varieties that were prehistorically cultivated in the watershed continue to be raised nearby. In addition, Avalon Gardens and Tumacacori National Monument as well as Tubac Presidio ...

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Agrarian Poetry: Why We Need Its Messages and Beauty Now, More Than Ever Before

Quite literally, from Biblical times to the 1950s, agrarian poetry, story and song helped to shape the underlying values of any culture, society or community which had strong ties to the land.

Now, with less that 1.5% of Americans self-identifying as farmers or ranchers, not only has the value of their poetic expressions been marginalized, but their overall contributions to American culture have also been marginalized as “nostalgic, romantic or retro.” Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, as ...

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Gary Paul Nabhan: Mother Nature’s Foodie

by Keith Goetzman

Gary Paul Nabhan was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011. Each year Utne Reader puts forward its selection of world visionaries—people who don’t just concoct great ideas but also act on them.

Local and sustainable are on the tips of many tongues as more and more people try to eat food that’s good for them and the planet. If you’re a part of this important conversation, you can thank Gary Paul Nabhan ...

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Food archaeologist gives new life to nearly extinct grains, veggies

by Richard Ruelas – Oct. 1, 2011 06:43 PM
The Arizona Republic

PATAGONIA – Gary Nabhan has written stacks of research papers about culture, archaeology and food for academic journals, and has authored at least a dozen books, some meant for popular consumption, others the academic kind whose titles have colons and subtitles that are longer than the main title.

But the gist of his high-minded, dense research is this: People lived here thousands of years ago and ...

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Sustainable Goodness in Wisconsin

September 22, 2011

By: Jennifer Reece

This year’s annual Food for Thought Festival, held last weekend in Madison, explored and celebrated the diversity of ways to eat more pleasurably, healthfully and sustainably in Wisconsin.  Hosted by REAP (Research, Education, Action and Policy)—a Madison based non-profit organization with the mission to build a regional food system that is healthful, just, environmentally sustainable and economically viable—the Food for Thought Festival is reminiscent of the age-old harvest festival.  However, this festival is more ...

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Redesigning Regional Food Traditions

Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, seed saver, conservation biologist and sustainable agriculture activist who has been called “the father of the local food movement” by Mother Earth News. Gary spoke at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon on redesigning our local food traditions and deepening out sense sustainable agriculture.

Recorded live at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon on April 14th 2011.

The Renewable Energy & Sustainability Resource Center: depts.clackamas.edu/sustainability

Check out the rest of the Sustainability ...

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Grant Funds Endowed Chair in UA Southwest Center

By UA Foundation, August 10, 2011

Gary Nabhan, a research social scientist in the Southwest Center, has been named the Sustainable Food Systems Endowed Chair following a nearly $1.6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

A generous investment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich. is helping the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences create an endowed faculty chair to lead its new Sustainable Food Systems Program in Southwest ...

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Sonorans harvest bounty of acorns before monsoon

By Jonathon Shacat
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP)— Each year, before the monsoon rains come, people in this region of northern Mexico harvest acorns known as bellotas from Emory Oak trees and sell the nuts along the roads here.Bellotas are brown and measure about 3/4 of an inch long and about 1/4 of an inch wide. Wick Communications environmental liaison Dick Kamp describes the taste as “tannic acid, and kind of rich.”

Emory Oak trees grow in isolated portions of Arizona, ...

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Hot on the trail of climate change

Ethnobotanist looks at extreme weather’s effect on chili peppers

By Aaron Kagan

 

PATAGONIA, Ariz. — Some of the best known symbols of climate change are belching smokestacks and polar bears adrift on ice floes. A lesser known symbol is the chili pepper. Gary Paul Nabhan set out to change that.

In the new book “Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail,’’ Nabhan teams up with agroecologist Kurt Michael Friese and chef Kraig Kraft to examine the relationship between food production and ...

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The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

by Gary Paul Nabhan

While at a Palestinian café in Ramallah on the West Bank recently, I was surprised to find the waitress was bringing me a flour tortilla much like the pale, medium thin ones used for burritos throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua and Sonora.

“Did I order these?” I asked my Palestinian hostess. “I thought I ordered a purslane salad with some saj flatbread on the side.”

“To the right of you is your ...

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Why focus on pollinator recovery for farm, ranch & wildlands health in Southern Arizona?

Gary Paul Nabhan

The pollination services provided to food crops and rangeland forages by bees and other animals is valued at no less than $15-20 billion a year in the United States, but was at one time provided to us “for free.” Recent events suggest that if we want to keep these valuable services available to us, our society needs to make an investment in providing pollinators with food, sheltered nesting areas and pesticide-free habitat.

The value of commercial beekeeping ...

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Mom-and-pop vs. big-box stores in the food desert

by Gary Nabhan, Kelly Watters

A few weeks ago, when the Obama administration released its Food Desert Locator, many of us realized that a once-good idea has spoiled like a bag of old bread. If you go online and find that your family lives in a food desert, don’t worry: You have plenty of company. One of every 10 census tracts in the lower 48 has been awarded that status.

Two years ago, when one of us (Gary) moved to ...

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Climate Change, One Pepper at a Time

By Aaron Kagan

Ethnobotonist Gary Paul Nabhan is following food resilience in the desert Southwest.

Gary Paul Nabhan wears many hats, but when we recently spoke in his hometown of Patagonia, Arizona, he had on a khaki ball cap emblazoned with a caricature of a horned toad.

An ethnobotanist by trade, Nabhan is an enthusiastic desert dweller and a research scientist at the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona, where he helps run the program Sabores Sin Fronteras, aka Flavors Without ...

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High, dry, and up against a wall: Why water and food justice are key to ending border conflicts

Grist.org / Gary Nabhan

For someone who lives within 12 miles of the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it was an odd feeling to travel along the wall between Palestine and Israel last week just as Osama bin Laden’s death was announced to the world. Odd, because the parallels between the two desert regions are so remarkable. Palestinian farmers I spoke with were not interested in talking about the wall itself, nor the killing of bin Laden, nor the ...

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Ohio’s Rich Food Diversity

Interview with Gary Paul Nabhan at the George Jones Farm in Oberlin on April 17, 2011. Gary talks about Great Lakes and Appalachian Food Traditions. Ohio was the center of apple diversity, due in part to Johnny Appleseed. Appalachia has more diversity of fruits, vegetables, and grains than the rest of North America combined.

Filmed by LESS Productions and edited by Brad Masi.

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Farming in the Time of Climate Catastrophe

The Atlantic

Facing wild weather and dwindling water resources, a pepper grower says it’s time to rethink agriculture

It is spring, and I am kneeling with a few friends in front of the composted soil of the hillside terraces in my orchard-garden in the desert borderlands of Arizona. It is planting day, and as we place each variety of pepper plant into the moistened earth, we say its name aloud, as if reciting a prayer in the face of uncertainty: Chiltepin, ...

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