Farming Innovations

What’s driving our favorite fruit into decline?

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: March 9, 2010

You’ve heard the hackneyed phrase “as American as apple pie.” But America is not taking care of the apples — or the orchard-keepers — that have nourished us for centuries. In 1900, 20 million apple trees were growing in the U.S.; now, not even a fourth remain in our orchards and gardens. Today, much of the apple juice consumed in the U.S. is produced overseas. Of the apples still grown in America, ...

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Ranching to Produce Tacos Sin Carbon: The Low Carbon Foodprint of Grass-fed Beef and Sheep Production in the Semi-Arid West

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Duncan Blair, and Dennis Moroney
Published: February, 2010

Should the issues of fossil fuel use, carbon emissions generated from the food system and their contribution to global warming influence how ranchers manage their operations and how they sell their livestock for beef? Perhaps ranchers who are consistently good land stewards are doing enough already, so that asking them take on the issue of what happens to their livestock once it leaves the ranch may be asking too ...

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Drought drives Middle Eastern pepper farmers out of business, threatens prized heirloom chiles

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: January 15, 2010

This marks the launch of Climate Change and Food Culture, a series of posts by Gary Nabhan about how climate change threatens to stamp out some of the globe’s most celebrated foodstuffs, and along with them the farming and cooking cultures that created them.

Most Turks live on the water’s edge in the far western reaches of their vast country. But many of the spices that perfume the air in Turkey’s ...

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Let 2010 Be the Year of the Heirloom Apple

While the Chinese will be celebrating 2010 as the Year of the Tiger, we in America have historically had no tigers except those in zoos and circuses. But what we once have had many of—heirloom apples—are now in danger of becoming as rare as tigers are in Asia. Of some 15,000 to 16,000 apples varieties that have been named, grown and eaten on the North American continent, only about 3,000 remain accessible to American orchard-keepers, gardeners, chefs and home ...

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Holidays: Days of Feasting, Days of Fasting

The end-of-the-year word is out: one in seven American families is having trouble putting food on the table, just as we try, each in our own way, to celebrate the Holidays. But what does it mean to celebrate and feast on a Holy Day with hunger at the highest levels it has been in years? With the economic downturn of the last year, far more of our neighbors have had to rely on food banks and food stamps than at ...

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Rare foods experts visit St. Augustine for pepper

By: Richard Villadoniga
Published: November 5, 2009

Gary Nabhan, of the Renewing America’s Food Traditions Alliance and an award-winning writer on food biodiversity, visited St. Augustine recently to research St. Johns County’s datil pepper.

Several years ago. Nabhan first nominated the datil pepper for the Slow Food Ark of Taste, a “Hall of Fame” for rare but flavorful regional foods. Now he and two colleagues are looking at how climate change is affecting food supply, particularly with regard to its ...

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Forgotten Fruits

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: October, 2009

The morning sun is just peeking over the ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains when my friend Jim Veteto and I spot a tall, old-looking apple tree arching over the side of the road. We swerve our rented PT Cruiser to the shoulder and get out. I’m hoping that these apples are Nickajacks, a rare variety that’s native to the highlands of western North Carolina, so I climb onto the ...

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APM – Marketplace

Sowing seeds that will take the heat

Publisher: APM

As the planet warms, fewer crops will survive the summer heat. Yet the world’s population will keep growing. Some scientists are responding by keeping seeds on ice for future generations, but one Arizona seed farm is cultivating them in the desert sun. Sam Eaton reports.

 

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A Talk with Gary Paul Nabhan at ASU English

A talk with Gary Paul Nabhan, Arab-American writer and food and farming advocate. Nabhan spoke at a fundraising event to support opportunities for undergraduate English majors at Arizona State University. “Seeding the Future” is sponsored by ASU’s Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to benefit students majoring in English by funding opportunities for research, presentations, and travel during their undergraduate experience at ASU. Nabhan is the author of “Where Our Food Comes From,” “Renewing America’s ...

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Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Foods

Taste Here What You Can’t Just Find Anywhere, And See

For millennia, the Santa Cruz River Valley has been a natural corridor for the seasonal migration of birds as well as other wildlife, and for the cultural diffusion and exchange of foodstuffs. It harbors the northernmost populations of wild peppers known as chiltepines, but the first culinary use of chilies north of the present-day U.S./Mexico border was also recorded in one of its prehistoric villages. Other wild plants that have been ...

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Americas Apple Traditions Renewed

Perhaps it was hard at first to know whether the “antique” in the phrase, “antique apple experts,” referred to the apples or to the experts. But when the Hall of Famers of the Heirloom Apple Kingdom gathered on March 19th at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum outside of Madison, it was clear that the so-called “old-timers” invited had much to say about the current status of and future prospects for old-timey apples. Between them, they had more than 350 years ...

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Where Our Food Comes From

By: Amanda Bensen
Published: March 2nd, 2009

I just finished reading a new book by the prolific Gary Paul Nabhan, whose resume astounds me: He landed a half-million-dollar MacArthur Fellowship (aka “genius grant”) early in his career, and has written some 30 books since then, in addition to several teaching gigs and founding a movement or two. Heck, he even dabbles ...
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Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest To End Famine

By: Janet Raloff
Published: Dec. 20th, 2008

Few people give thought to where the tomato, apple or walnuts in their salad came from. Or what grains gave rise to the wheat in their bread or barley in their beer. University of Arizona ethnobotanist Nabhan was intensely curious about these questions—and about the exploits of the man he credits with first traveling the world to find the genetic birthplace of the foods we depend upon.

Born in 1887, Nikolay Vavilov ...

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Santa Cruz National Heritage designation a boon to economy

By: Gary P. Nabhan and Vanessa Bechol
Special to the Arizona Daily Star
Tuscon, Arizona | Published: 12.01.08
PDF Version

A growing number of farmers, ranchers and chefs in our community are working together to bring place-based heritage foods from our borderlands region back to our tables for feasts such as Thanksgiving.

With an agricultural history dating back 4,000 years, longer than most regions in North America, the Santa Cruz Valley is not only rich ...

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Thanksgiving and the Food Crisis

It is an ironic time to be celebrating Thanksgiving, a sharing of the bounty of American farms and ranches among family, friends and neighbors. Not only are our traditional foods a fading feast, but fewer Americans than ever before may be able to access them. This year, while a million Americans may be losing their jobs, food prices have risen 5 to 7 percent; the use of food banks and food stamps is at a record high. The outlook for ...

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The Vavilov Legacy is Alive and Well

When I arrived at the National Agricultural Library just outside Washington D.C. one noon this October, a white-haired man with a commanding presence stood at the security check, impeccably dressed in an elegant suit, while his translator explained to the guard that he would be the guest of honor for an event that afternoon.

When he turned around to speak with his translator, I noticed that he had the same high brow and combed-back hair that the world’s greatest plant explorer ...

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Responding to Famine in the Horn of Africa: Learn from Past Mistakes

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: The Huffington Post  / October 1, 2008

In mid-September, John Holmes of United Nations announced that the mounting famine in Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa may dwarf the severity of similar famines in the 1980s and 1990s. While humanitarian concern and speedy on-ground action are surely justified, we must ask why this famine is being predicted to be more devastating than others in the past, ...

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Chile Peppers

by Ira Flatow
http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200809192
September 19th, 2008

Listen to this Interview

In this segment, live from Tucson, Arizona, we’ll take a scientific look at the chile pepper, from the chemistry and biology of a pepper’s burn, to the psychology of why some people like it hot. Southwestern Arizona is part of the “chili belt” where most U.S hot peppers get their start. But growing chiles is no low ...

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