Family, Community & Place

Long-desired heritage area designation signed into law

A sweeping public lands bill signed into law by President Trump this week includes the designation of a Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in Santa Cruz and Pima counties, bringing to fruition an effort begun well more than a decade ago to boost cultural preservation, economic development and tourism in the area.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Tucson), who represents all of Santa Cruz and parts of Pima county, had sought legislative approval for the NHA designation since 2007. In a ...

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How an appetite for local food fueled Tucson’s economic recovery

Could it be that Tucson is eating its way out of poverty and food insecurity?

Or to ask such a big hairy question in another manner: “How have Tucson’s citizens and businesses fared since the Great Recession devastated our community a decade ago?”

By the beginning of 2009, the Old Pueblo had been hit harder than most other US metro areas by bank and mortgage company scandals. But what, if anything, has helped our community’s economic recovery and changed its course for ...

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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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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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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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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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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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Doing the Right Thing, with Sustainable Food! – MetroFarm Community

I ran across the following in Gary Nabhan’s new book: Food from the Radical Center.

“As a cub reporter for Environmental Action, I covered everything from the lead poisoning of children in Rust Belt factory towns to pesticide effects on bird and bees in Midwestern farmlands. At that time, I sincerely believed the issues of environmental health would unite Americans, transcending lines of race and class. We would be galvanized by our desire to see both the government and industry ...

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“Food From the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities” by Gary Paul Nabhan

It’s easy to picture Gary Paul Nabhan as a human teletype machine. As quickly as thoughts come into his head, it seems, words flow out of his fingers, filling book after book after book. The author, co-author, or editor of around 40 books published between 1982 and 2018, Nabhan’s prolific production is even more impressive when we realize he is not only an academic — most recently holding the Kellogg endowed chair in Borderlands Food and Water Security at the ...

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Southern Arizona author Nabhan further explores food in two new books

Agricultural ecologist and ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan, considered the father of the local food movement and a pioneer of the heirloom seed-saving movement, has authored more than 30 books. His two most recent books, reviewed here, were published in September. Nabhan, the Kellogg Endowed Chair at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, lives in Patagonia.

Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities, Gary Paul Nabhan. Island Press. $28

Feed thy neighbor. Although ours is an increasingly fractious society, improving ...

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Science put at risk along U.S.-Mexico border

Off the southern coast of California, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, dolphins swim around the fence that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. “They don’t really care,” said Jeff Crooks, a University of San Diego scientist who has been doing research along the U.S.-Mexico border for the past 16 years.

The border fence here was built long before President Trump’s campaign promises to “build a wall.” Barriers run for 46 miles separating San Diego County from Mexico; near the ...

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Guest opinion: Cruelty and incompetence on the border

Like most Americans, we have been sickened by the sights and sounds of children torn away from their families at the border. President Trump’s separation policy was designed for maximum deterrence against immigrants seeking asylum or crossing the border. And whether by incompetence or by intent, Trump’s administration had no plan to keep track of children and parents in order to reunite them.

Trump blamed previous administrations, saying that he had no choice but to enforce the existing immigration laws. But ...

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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.

 

 

______________________

This originally broadcasted May 12, 2018 on KCRW.

 

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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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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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New Report: Tucson is a Leading U.S. City in Food Diversity and Access

Tucson is one of the top cities in the United States conserving and disseminating edible biodiversity and local heritage foods, a new report reveals. Released by the University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies, the second annual “State of Tucson’s Food System” documents Tucson’s rich variety of common, heritage, native, and heirloom plant species and varieties available, often at little or no cost, in its local economy.

“This report shows that Tucson’s community organizations have done ...

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To Be an Ethnobotanist

Now, being an ethnobotanist

Is not all that different

From being a musician,

Ballerina or chef:

 

You’ve got to practice

Your licks and chops,

Your forms and foot positions

Your dicing, slicing

And making a roux

Every day (or else)

You get rusty.

 

No one I know

Likes a rusty ethnobotanist

One who is constantly hoping

To discover some herbal WD-40

 

So make and take

Some time each day

To go on out

And eat the flowers

Drink their nectars

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The chiltepin pepper has a special home in Santa Cruz County

After enduring a bouncy drive up a rough road heading into the Tumacacori Mountains last Tuesday morning, the group of hikers crossed a shallow rocky canyon on foot. Then, after bushwhacking through spiky desert plants and looking under trees, they found their prize: a single bright red, shriveled chili clinging to a dry chiltepin plant.

The fruit of the chiltepin isn’t always so hard to find at this spot, said Kevin Dahl, an ethnobotanist specializing in desert plants. The ...

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