Food Heritage and History

The Canary Islands Connection

I’m surrounded by date palms. Around them run dry watercourses that look like ones I find not far from my home in Tucson, Arizona. The traditional architecture in town would not be out of place in Tucson, either—or almost anywhere from southern Spain to Mexico and up into the southwest us. The fruit trees and grapevines hark back even further, to traditions of my ancestors from Syria and Lebanon. Perhaps this is what a visit to the ...

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Tariffs, AZ Dept. of Ag leave farmers barren

When President Trump initiated his trade tariff wars with China a year ago, economists warned that it could precipitate the second-worst farm crisis in a half century.

Most farmers in Arizona did not get hit as hard as those in Corn Belt states. The tariff wars alone didn’t seem to precipitate a crisis in Arizona. But last month, other danger signs began to register in the Grand Canyon State. The long-standing relationship Arizona has had with its strongest trade partner, Mexico, ...

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Guest opinion: Heritage area can unite us

Arizonans were caught off guard when they heard that the Santa Cruz National Heritage Area had recently been designated by Congress and signed into law at the White House on March 12, 2019.

Suddenly, we found ourselves living in a 3,300-square-mile landscape that was nationally recognized for its distinctive natural and multi-cultural heritage.

Hadn’t a decade passed since all the communities in the upper Santa Cruz watershed pledged their support for such a designation?

By the time Tucson became the first “City of ...

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The spice trade: Selling the scents of luxury

The trade in spices goes back to ancient times: from the Frankincense trails that originated in the Dhofar Highlands in present day Yemen to the Queen of Sheba who travelled to Jerusalem with camels laden with spices. For centuries, spices have captured our imagination far more than any other commodities, and spice traders, from the Arab merchants to the European trading companies of the Age of Discovery, capitalized on the mystique of these luxurious aromatics to create a value chain ...

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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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Talk Nerdy. Episode 246. Gary Paul Nabhan.

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara speaks with Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan, founder of the Center for Regional Food Studies at the University of Arizona. They talk about sustainability, conservation, indigenous agriculture, and his newest of several books, “Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair.”

Mesquite is a book that will delight mystics and foresters, naturalists and foodies. It combines cutting-edge science with a generous sprinkling of humor and folk wisdom, even including traditional recipes for cooking with ...

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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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Build a Border Wall? Here’s an Idea That’s Better for Communities and the Climate

President Trump has declared a national emergency to fund a wall along our nation’s southern border. The border wall issue has bitterly divided people across the United States, becoming a vivid symbol of political deadlock.

But for many of us who actually live along the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall is simply beside the point. We know that a wall can’t fix the problems that straddle the boundary between our nations; nor will it build on our shared strengths. So a group ...

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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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Bioneers: A Review of “Food from The Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Our Communities”

“Have you ever stumbled into a place where you were bowled over by an abundance of wildlife?” So begins the chapter Bringing Back the Bison in Gary Paul Nabhan’s latest book: Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities (Island Press, 2019).

The question brought to mind a time in 2013 when there was an unexpected spike in anchovies in the Monterey Bay and massive schools were swimming by the mouth of the Santa Cruz Harbor. There ...

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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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Water-Harvesting and Arid-Adapted Agrobiodiversity

Whenever I have a desire to be outside during the summer months as temperatures in Metro Tucson Arizona rise above 105 F, I select certain shady places where old trees offer me a break from the heat. Some are where old olive trees from north Africa were planted more than a century ago by agroecologist Robert Forbes, the first Dean of Agriculture at the University of Arizona. They are large and spreading, offering enough fruit each year for students to ...

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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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How Farmers Can Survive Tariffs

In America’s farm country, the fear is palpable. In recent months, I’ve talked to dairy farm owners in Wisconsin, grain and soy farmers in the Dakotas, and stockmen in California who worry that President Donald Trump’s tariff wars will trigger a new farm crisis. Many predict hard times to rival the epidemic of bankruptcies that devastated American farms in the 1980s.

The tariffs aren’t helping, it’s true. But Trump’s trade dispute is just the latest factor in a longer-term decline ...

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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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Collaborative Conservation In An Age Of Division

The U.S. — and Arizona, more specifically — has countless environmental challenges, including keeping our air and water clean, ensuring that we have enough water, loss of certain species and food scarcity.

But a number of people are teaming up for something known as collaborative conservation, and they’re coming together — often from very different backgrounds — to try to find common ground.

Gary Paul Nabhan is a University of Arizona professor and an active field ethnobotanist, and he joined The Show ...

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Food from the Radical Center with Gary Nabhan

On today’s pledge drive edition from WORT, Patty previews Fermentation Fest by talking with this year’s Featured Fermenter, Gary Paul Nabhan. They discuss Nabhan’s two new books, Food from the Radical Center and Mesquite, and reflect on family history, farming, food cultures, and the unique landscapes of the American Midwest and Southwest.

Gary Paul Nabhan is an agricultural ecologist, ethnobotanist, and author whose work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is ...

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Working at the “Radical Center”

How do adversaries find common ground? How do they work together to find common goals and interests? Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities by Gary Paul Nabhan is about food and land conservation, and its lessons have the potential to bring together many people in our polarized nation. Nabhan is a writer, seed conservationist, and MacArthur genius grant recipient; he’s endowed chair in sustainable agriculture at University of Arizona, and he’s a long time activist for ...

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