Features

Dr. Barney Burns, Native Seeds/SEARCH co-founder, passes on, leaving us a legacy of hope and humor

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

In the second week of August, the Tucson community, the Greater Southwest, indigenous peoples and farmers everywhere lost a good friend, an extraordinary seed saver and a historian of Southwest food and farming folkways. Dr. Barney T. Burns was far more than a co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH. He spent over four decades linking native farmers and artisans to the audiences, human rights support networks, and applied scholars who cared about them and their future. Trained ...

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Rose to Damascus: A book about spices, their trade routes, and more

Santa Fe + New Mexican
By: Paul Weideman

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 ...

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Blake Edgar interviews Gary Nabhan about his “spice odyssey”

Nabhan describes the critically important roles in setting the stages for globalized spice trade; and his preparation in writing Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey.

 

1. There have been several culinary histories published about spices and about trade along the Silk Road. What inspired you to write about this subject? A colleague of mine, ethnobotanist and food historian Gene Anderson, found a remarkable coincidence: an Arab/Persian lamb and garbanzo bean stew recipe that he and colleagues recorded in ...

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Finding fire: Scientists trace chiles’ DNA to Mexico

By: Ryan Van Velzer, azcentral.com

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 ...

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Chili Peppers First Cultivated in Mexico

 

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 ...

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Agrobiodiversity in an Oasis Archipelago

Journal of Ethnobiology 33(2): 203–236
Fall/Winter 2013

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 ...

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Food Chain Restoration: Reconnecting Pollinators with Their Plants

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 ...

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Seeds on seeds on seeds: Why more biodiversity means more food security

By

 

 

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 ...

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Pioneer of the Local Food Movement Gary Paul Nabhan Speaks Oct. 31 at Appalachian State University

Oct. 25, 2013. Gary Paul Nabhan, internationally celebrated conservation scientist, writer, food and farming activist and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity, will speak at Appalachian State University Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m. in the McRae Peak Ballroom in Plemmons Student Union.

Nabhan’s lecture is sponsored by the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development with support from the Appalachian Studies Program. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 828-262-7248.

Nabhan ...

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Heritage Agri-tourism as a Strategy for Promoting the Recovery of Heirloom Vegetables, Grains, Fruits and Rare Breeds

By: Rafael de Grenade

“Heritage foods foster the best kind of tourism. We travel to see something different and discover that the tastes of heritage foods are different, wherever we go.” Megan Kimble, editor, Edible Baja Arizona

Heritage tourism offers a very real way to know the unique character and flavors of a place. The mere act of tasting these foods and seeing them grown or prepared can be effective strategies that foster the revitalization of local or regional foodways. ...

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Four Tangible Federally-Funded Programs You Can Support for Climate Change

Adaptation in Agriculture, Foodscape Restoration, Ago-forestry and Rangeland Use

In response to the widespread and overwhelmingly positive responses to the opinion-editorial by Gary Nabhan in the Monday July 22nd New York Times, “The Coming Food Crisis,” we have been asked what concerned citizens can do in addition to applying the heat and drought adaptation strategies mentioned in Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land. We feel that one of the most critically-important efforts you can make ...

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Our Coming Food Crisis

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
The New York Times

TUCSON, Ariz. — THIS summer the tiny town of Furnace Creek, Calif., may once again grace the nation’s front pages. Situated in Death Valley, it last made news in 1913, when it set the record for the world’s hottest recorded temperature, at 134 degrees. With the heat wave currently blanketing the Western states, and given that the mercury there has already reached 130 degrees, the news media is awash in speculation ...

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The Origins of Heritage Foods Revivals 1980-1985

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Heirloom Gardener • Summer 2013
www.heirloomgardener.com

A third of a century ago, an unprecedented grassroots movement emerged from American soil.It is a movement that is still alive, one for which Heirloom Gardener magazine has become the freshest and mostly-widely read source of information and inspiration. It may well be worth your while to reflect on the origins of the social change movement to which you belong, for it is a wellspring of food ...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Dryer Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

By: Publishers Weekly

Nabhan, an ethnobotanist, cofounder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, and prolific author, draws on his longtime relationships with the land and people of the Southwest U.S., together with wisdom from farmers and gardeners in Egypt, Mexico, and other dry places, to suggest solutions for growing food and developing agricultural resiliency as climate change affects wider swaths of the planet. He discusses using hedge fences (he calls them “fredges”) to minimize flood damage; choosing ancient and traditional methods for water ...

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An Effort to Add a Key Ingredient to the Slow Food Movement: Investor Money

By KATHRYN SHATTUCK

BOULDER, Colo. — “Welcome, pig lovers, and welcome, earthworms!” Woody Tasch bellowed from the stage of the Boulder Theater, where 650 food entrepreneurs and investors had wedged themselves for the opening day of the fourth Slow Money National Gathering.

Mr. Tasch whipped the crowd into a frenzy on Monday morning — shouts of “It’s crazy!” and the random boo and hiss ricocheted through the audience — as he discussed the moral failures of unsustainable corporate farming and financiers ...

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Slow Money National Gathering: Diversity in Food Financing

By Marlena John

At the Slow Money National Gathering, there was a lot of talk about sustainable food systems, local food sheds, healthy soil and healthy people.

There was also a lot of talk about how challenging it is to attain these ideal food systems. Small farmers often run into trouble finding financing. The question is, when traditional financing doesn’t offer support, where do small, local farmers go? How can these farmers grow their businesses and support their families when they only ...

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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

How to harvest water and nutrients, select drought-tolerant plants, and create natural diversity

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change. The solutions may be at our back door.

In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Nabhan, one of the world’s experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, draws from the knowledge of traditional farmers in the ...

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Agrarian Ecology

One might wonder whether any 21st century preoccupation with agrarian values, agrarian ecology and agrarian ideals comes as too little, too late.  Less than two percent of the North American public lives in rural areas outside towns, cities and suburbs, and less than half of the world’s population now lives outside cities. But the New Agrarianism which is emerging globally is not restricted to the rural domain, nor is it necessarily a romantic desire to re-enact social behaviors and morays ...

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Chapalote Corn – The oldest corn in North America pops back up

Article & Photo by Gary Paul Nabhan
Heirloom Gardener • Winter 2012-2013
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It is a truly remarkable irony that most Americans have never even heard of the name of the oldest heirloom maize variety on the continent, Chapalote, let alone tasted its earthy, flinty cornmeal. Corn farming in the foodscapes within the present-day United States did not begin in the Midwestern or Southern “Corn Belts,“ nor along the East Coast where Pilgrims first encountered this new ...

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Listening to the Next Generation

Youth are the most highly adaptable and exquisitely sensitive portion of the human population. They are wired perfectly for the job of moving us forward.

The Leopold Outlook  – Winter 2012
by Rick Knight, Curt Meine, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Stan Temple

For decades, Aldo Leopold’s writings have been assigned readings on college campuses across the country, in classes across a wide range of disciplines. Generations of students have read Leopold to gain a solid footing in conservation science, history, and ideas. ...

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