Collaborative Conservation

Hot on the Trail of Chili Peppers

THERE was a frost expected here two weeks ago, but Gary Paul Nabhan, a conservation biologist and inveterate seed-saver, was out in his hardscrabble garden anyway, planting his favorite food, hot chilies.

Chiltepin, chile de árbol (the one that scrambles up trees), Tabasco, serrano, pasilla, Chimayó. These are only a few of the pungent peppers that Mr. Nabhan and two other chili lovers — Kurt Michael Friese, a chef from Iowa City, and Kraig Kraft, an agro-ecologist studying the origin of ...

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Chile crisis of 2011 reveals need for more resilience and diversity on the farm

by Gary Nabhan

What a difference a few days of aberrant weather can mean to our food security, our pocket books, and our penchant for hot sauce. The record freeze that hit the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico in early February is still affecting vegetable availability and food prices in general more than 6 weeks after the catastrophe. Restaurants across the U.S. are rationing peppers and tomatoes on their sandwiches and in their salsas. Prices for peppers have jumped as much ...

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A Rollicking Quest for Chiles ‘Along The Pepper Trail’

Authors trace history of chile on ‘spice odyssey’ starting in Mexico

Jill Koenigsdorf | For The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Everyone loves a book that has a good quest at its center, be it a great white whale, a holy grail or, in the case of ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan, chef Kurt Friese, and agro-ecologist Kraig Kraft, rare and heirloom chiles.

Their new book, Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along The Pepper Trail (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011), is a rollicking ride, ...

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Chasing Chiles Across North America

Chasing Chiles is both a rollicking travelogue from three guys on the hunt for authentic food and cultural experience and an adventure with a larger, sobering mission: to understand the effects of climate change by zeroing in on one critical crop and the people whose lives are most deeply intertwined with it. Kraft, Friese, and Nabhan seek out and listen to farmers, chefs, and others who rely on the chile, and document ...

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A Masterpiece Written In Our Own Era

Old Southern Apples by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. (with Edith Calhoun)

Without question, the most remarkable horticultural history book of this decade was released in late January, some fifteen years after its first edition astounded orchard keepers and agricultural historians everywhere. The second edition of Old Southern Apples is not simply expanded to include 1800 apple varieties, but it is an altogether more significant book, thanks to the extraordinary research accomplished by Lee and Edith Calhoun, and the ...

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Food security at historic watershed

The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, February 07, 2011

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the farming capacity and food security of the border states are at an all-time low, and are likely to get worse before they are fully transformed to more sustainable and cost-efficient systems.

Recently, with a dozen experts from four states, we conceded that our capacity to feed ourselves and the hungriest of our neighbors has been compromised more than ever before. At the same time, experts ...

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UA Report Looks at State of Southwestern ‘Foodsheds’

Ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan is behind a collection of essays that analyze the decline and rise in interest in locally produced food.

By: Jeff Harrison, University Communications, February 2, 2011

Unprecedented pressures exist on food security and farming capacity in the U.S. borderland states, according to a new regional food assessment by University of Arizona researchers and their colleagues.

The economic downturn, water scarcity, rising oil prices, climate change and the loss of prime farmlands ...

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State of Southwestern Foodsheds

A Special Publication of Sabores Sin Fronteras of the Southwest Center with Edible Communities
Edited by: Gary Paul Nabhan and Regina Fitzsimmons

While this publication began as an imaginative exercise to chart the successes and joys of sustainable food, farming and ranching initiatives in the Southwest that began over the last decade, it now appears that such innovations may no longer be a luxury, but a necessity.

As this special “Edible” edition on the State of Southwestern Foodsheds goes to ...

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Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper—from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since ...

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The Wild Foods of Our Region with Gary Nabhan

Marcie Sillman

There are over 180 foods that are distinctive to the Northwest and only found here. Things like the Ozette potato, Hooker’s sweet corn, Camas root, the Marshall strawberry, the Orcas pear and of course the Chinook salmon. Most of these foods are at risk of extinction because of environmental destruction, pollution or over harvesting. Scientist and writer Gary Nabhan knows just how we can save these foods — by eating them. He encourages ...

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Kyl, McCain could boost economy with Santa Cruz heritage area

Gary Paul Nabhan Special To The Arizona Daily Star

With elections behind us, I hope politicians will get out from behind the rhetoric and actually help Arizonans – especially rural Arizonans – overcome the problems of poverty, hunger and limited economic opportunity. There is one immediate way to do this – by jump-starting rural economic recovery and creating jobs through a Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area designation.

In Southern Arizona, all local, county, and tribal governments and ...

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A Fig by Any Other Name

Among the earliest memories I have of my grandfather are his soliloquies in broken English regarding overripe fruits and their fate in America. “Papa” John Ferhat Nabhan would often arrive at our house weary, after a long day of driving his blue-gray fruit truck through the sand dunes trying to sell its entire load of fruit. He was a Lebanese immigrant, formerly a sheepherder and camel drover, who had become an itinerant fruit peddler is his newfound land. Inevitably, when ...

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Gary Nabhan, the Gulf and the Power of Positive Eating

By: Crashing Vor
Published: July 16, 2010

Gary Paul Nabhan is a man of many hats. Geographer, ethnobiologist, conservationist, storyteller. That he won the MacArthur “genius” award should come as no surprise, as he has consistently uses his varied interests to find the profound truths hiding in the intersections between seemingly unrelated fields.

His 2002 book Coming Home to Eat , about a year spent eating only what could be found within a 250-mile range of his Arizona home, ...

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Restoring the Bishops Garden with Lamys Diversity of Forgotten Fruits

I would like to offer some reflections regarding a neglected legacy of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe: the horticultural legacy of Archbishop Lamy on behalf of the poor and hungry in northern New Mexico. And I would like to suggest that it would be a very Franciscan gesture to not only restore but to revitalize that legacy to its rightful place on the grounds of this Basilica—a National Historical Landmark known as Lamy’s Garden. And so, my comments will be ...

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Food Producers and Their Traditional Foods at Risk in the Gulf Coast

Vermilionaire: An inhabitant of Southern Louisiana who benefits from the region’s rich culture and environment.

Vermilionaire is also the title of a recording by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, a Cajun band from Louisiana whose title track is a traditional song of going down to the bayou to fish, hunt, and trap, and never dying of hunger. As oil pours beneath the surface of the water in the Gulf of Mexico and makes its way to the coast, the ...

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Saving the planet means more pleasure, says ecologist Gary Nabhan

By: IPS, part of the Guardian Environment Network
Published: May 25, 2010

Saving the planet from environmental catastrophe is undoubtedly very important, but one of the reasons many people are not doing their bit could be that being green does not seem much fun.

Activists frequently tell us, with good reason, that things such as driving cars, eating red meat and jetting off overseas on holiday should be cut down or eliminated because of ...

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Saving the Planet Can Be Fun

By: IPSnews.net – Paul Virgo
Published: May 23, 2010

ROME – Saving the planet from environmental catastrophe is undoubtedly very important, but one of the reasons many people are not doing their bit could be that being green does not seem much fun.

Activists frequently tell us, with good reason, that things such as driving cars, eating red meat and jetting off overseas on holiday should be cut down or eliminated because of their hefty carbon footprints.

But influential United States-based ...

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Desert oases as genetic refugia of heritage crops: Persistence of forgotten fruits in the mission orchards of Baja California, Mexico

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Jesus Garcia, Rafael Routson, Kanin Routson and Micheline Cariño-Olvera
Published: April, 2010

The first introductions of agricultural crops to desert oases of Baja California, Mexico were initiated by Jesuit missionaries between 1697 and 1768 and historic records from these Jesuits provided a detailed benchmark by which temporal changes in agro-biodiversity can be measured.

Longitudinal studies at the agricultural oases on the Baja California peninsula of Mexico can help determine whether such isolated “islands” of cultivation function as ...

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Forgotten Fruits Manual & Manifesto – Apples

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Ben Watson
Published: March, 2010

As part of RAFT’s 2010 “Forgotten Fruits” initiative, this brochure details the history, decline, nursery practices and local restoration efforts designed to bring back the most endangered heirloom apples to orchards, backyards, farmer’s markets, restaurants, and home kitchens across the country.

Download Forgotten Fruits Manual & Manifesto – Apples (PDF – 32 pages, 2.5MB – Published March 2010)

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