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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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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UA Report Details Tucson’s Excellence in Providing Food Diversity and Access

A new report on the state of Tucson’s food system – produced by the UA Center for Regional Food Studies – shows that Tucson is one of the top U.S. cities in its high diversity of edible plants affordably accessed, grown and eaten as means to reduce food insecurity.

Marking the December 15 second anniversary of Tucson, Arizona’s designation as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, the University of Arizona Center for ...

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Mirror Images

Two UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy, located across the world from each other, offer distinct insights on desert terroir.

I am sitting in an outdoor café on a hot summer day. The café, in Zahle, Lebanon, is on the edge of a broad desert valley that stretches out between two mountain ranges, one of them high enough to capture snow every winter and suffer forest fires most summers. Out of the mountains flows enough snowmelt to allow some irrigation from ...

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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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High, dry, and up against a wall: Why water and food justice are key to ending border conflicts / Gary Nabhan

For someone who lives within 12 miles of the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it was an odd feeling to travel along the wall between Palestine and Israel last week just as Osama bin Laden’s death was announced to the world. Odd, because the parallels between the two desert regions are so remarkable. Palestinian farmers I spoke with were not interested in talking about the wall itself, nor the killing of bin Laden, nor the ...

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Visits to Our Orchard


Visits to Our Orchard

Six years ago, Gary Nabhan and Laurie Monti purchased a five and a half acre farmstead above the Native Seeds/SEARCH grow-out farm, where they are demonstrating how desert-adapted agro-biodiversity can be integrated into water-conserving farming systems for climate-friendly food production. Their farmstead is ...

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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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“Eat What You Want to Conserve” Says Arab-American Writer Gary Nabhan

Posts By: Green Prophet Guest
Published: June 4, 2010

Since the beginning of the green movement, there has been a rise in the number of organizations and businesses that are doing their part in the promotion of sustainability through conservation. This past Earth Day brought about the Earth Day Network, which has been playing its part to bring conservationist and green enthusiasts together, sharing ideas and discussing new ways to support the planet.

Other large organizations NGOS like Continue Reading →


Finally, a burger with a taste of place

By: Gary Paul Nabhan
Published: June 22, 2009

Some 12 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, but any “foodies” among them tend to be disappointed when they arrive at the rim.

Where in all this luscious landscape, they ask, is anyone serving food that tastes of this place? Why do so few restaurants in Arizona’s canyon country feature the range-fed beef or lamb, vegetables, fruits or other seasonal fare produced by local farmers and ranchers? Except at the ...

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The 13 Most Dynamic Minds in Food Politics You Should Know

By: Vanessa Barrington
Published: ecosalon/November 6, 2008

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that everything you put in your mouth has an impact on the environment. Because our global system is interconnected, your food choices also affect farmers and eaters across the globe. Eating is not just an individual act; it’s also a political act.

Here’s a who’s who of smart people in food politics and policy, along with some of their must-read books. One of ...

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Apples of Our Eyes, Nose and Mouths

When the leaves of New England begin to glow with crimsons, purples and golds, many of us remember that it’s time for crimson, purple and gold apples to be picked, packed, sequestered in storage sheds, or processed into cider, butter, sauces or pies.

Apples exemplify that taste of the fall for many of us, but just what kind of apples we taste depends upon just where exactly we live, and how well we know our neighboring orchard-keepers.

Some eight hundred kinds of ...

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Deepening Our Sense of What Is Local and Regional Food

Now that Time magazine has done a cover feature article on the local foods movement and a book on the same topic by bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver and her family is poised to climb up the New York Times top-ten non-fiction list, we might want to ask what actually is it that we want to promote by using phrases like “ Buy Fresh, Buy Local”. I can assure you that there will be increasing criticism of the so-called local ...

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Forget Organic. Eat Local.

The best food you can eat may be in your own backyard. Here is one man’s quest for the perfect apple.

By: John Cloud

Not long ago I had an apple problem. Wavering in the produce section of a Manhattan grocery store, I was unable to decide between an organic apple and a nonorganic apple (which was labeled conventional, since that sounds better than “sprayed with pesticides that might kill you”). It shouldn’t have been a tough choice–who wants to eat pesticide ...

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In Praise, and in Appraisal of, the Working Landscapes of the West

By: Gary Paul Nabhan with Ken Meter

The simplest fact about Western ranches tends to be the one which most folks tend to forget: raising range-fed livestock is one of the few economic activities that produces food — and potentially ecosystem health and financial wealth– by keeping landscapes relatively wild, diverse and resilient.

Only a small percentage of the foods eaten by humankind come from wildlands. Yes, livestock are given supplemental feed during drought, pregnancy, or just before slaughter, but the bulk ...

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Endangered List Created for Native Foods


by Ted Robbins

Weekend Edition Sunday , December 18, 2005 · Political boundaries often seem artificial, based on a long-ago treaty or current party registration. The boundaries of North America’s cornbread, salmon and clambake nations are rooted in climate, geography and tradition. But the culinary heritage embodied by those names may be in peril.

Cornbread nation? That’s a construct of the RAFT coalition (Renewing America’s Food Traditions), which came up with a map of North America based on ...

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Chefs Collaborative Renews America’s Food Traditions

Food Experts Unite to Realize, Restore and Revitalize Authentically American Foods and Traditions

(Boston, Mass…October 6, 2005) Chefs Collaborative, a national organization of chefs, individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing a more sustainable food supply, has become an influential partner in the new Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) project. RAFT was launched in the spring of 2005 by seven of the most prominent food, agriculture, education and conservation organizations in the United States as the first nationwide eco-gastronomic campaign. Uniting ...

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