Redesigning Food Systems

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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Lessons from the Desert

A new book explores sustainable agriculture in in dry climates

By Ari LeVaux

Recent years have brought spikes in the frequency of strange weather patterns and severe storms, with many blaming the increase on human-caused climate change. If this new normal, as it’s being called, is here to stay, it will have profound implications on food production.

There are two basic ways that this threat to food production is being addressed. One is to develop new ...

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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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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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Cross-Border Credo

What We Want for Our Binational, Multicultural Foodshed

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

Values: We believe that the many traditional cultures and innovative individuals of this region have developed a rich heritage of both tangible resources and intangible knowledge, practices and values that need recognition, respect and safeguarding if they are to contribute to a just, equitable, sustainable and resilient food system for our region. We support the many communities in their efforts toward achieving food security, food sovereignty, food democracy and health ...

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Ten Things that Tucson can do to redesign our food system for health, environmental resilience, social justice and economic well-being

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

  1. Get more of the beef, fruits, nuts, and vegetables already grown in So. Arizona to be processed & delivered in or near Tucson.  Today, less than 2% of Tucson’s food budget comes from the 5 county area of Southern Arizona, and profits from foods grown nearby but processed elsewhere benefits corporations and economies other than our own. Mandate that beef grown on Pima County-owned ranches be used in our schools, prisons and nursing homes. Use credit unions ...
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Slow Money’s Pivotal Role in the Next Stage of the Local Food Movement

Remarks Delivered on November 9 at the Inaugural Meeting of Earthworm Angels in Sausalito, Calif.

The food re-localization movement is coming of age, for it was 21 years ago that visionary Robyn Van En began CSA North America, the first organization to promote community-supported agriculture across the continent. From her own collaboration with Susan Witt and others in Great Barrington, Mass., while establishing CSA Gardens in 1990, the CSA movement has grown to at least 4,570 documented American farms offering food ...

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Food Justice: An Interview With Gary Nabhan About Borderland Foods

Original Article: KNAU

One of the founders of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University is out with a new study on borderland foods. Gary Nabhan – now with the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona – has just published a study about the geopolitical disparity along the U.S./Mexico border in terms of poverty and food supply. He told KNAU’s Gillian Ferris Kohl that more than a dozen researchers went into ...

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Financing Food and Creating Jobs from the Bottom Up

In the days between the 2012 Republican and Democratic Conventions, a group of eighty farmers, ranchers, grocers, produce distributors and food activists met in Carbondale, Colorado. They hunkered down in a big tent on a farm nestled below the drought-stricken peaks of the Rocky Mountains as dry winds gusted around them. Like many who spoke at the conventions, their goal was to discuss how to create jobs and help rural economies ravaged by the economic downturn get some rebound.

But unlike ...

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Genetic Variation and Distribution of Pacific Crabapple

By: Kanin J. Routson, Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria

ABSTRACT. Pacific crabapple [Malus fusca (Raf.) C.K. Schneid.] is found in mesic coastal habitats in Pacific northwestern North America. It is one of four apple species native to North America. M. fusca is culturally important to First Nations of the region who value and use the fruit of this species as food, bark and leaves for medicine, and wood for ...

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When Local is Binational: Borderland Food in Nogales

When the food relocalization movement revved up its engines a dozen years ago, I would often see maps that circumscribed “local foodsheds” by county, state,  or region of our sprawling nation, but they never crossed international boundaries. But when I recently moved to southern Arizona to plant an heirloom orchard just twelve miles north of the U.S./Mexico line, such maps suddenly made little sense to me.

As I searched for low chill fruit and nut varieties to plant in my orchard, ...

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Hungry for Change

Borderlands Food and Water in the Balance

The Southwest Center’s Kellogg Program in Sustainable Food Systems

By: Gary Nabhan, Maribel Alvarez, Jeffrey Banister, and Regina Fitzsimmons

Welcome to the food system of the U.S.-Mexico border —the geopolitical boundary with the greatest economic disparity in the world. Stories written and spoken about this unnatural rift in the landscape are the stuff of myth, literary leaping or yarn spinning, depending on who tells the tale. The U.S./Mexico border is also, for many, una herida abierta—an ...

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Earthen Oven & Rain Garden Terrace Workshop

Design and Build Earthen Ovens & Rain Garden Terraces with local materials – Bill & Athena Steen

Join Bill & Athena Steen from The Canelo Project will lead a hands-on workshop on how to build wood-fire earthen ovens and beautifully sculpted agricultural terraces using local and natural materials and pigments. Written materials, lunches and snacks provided! Hosted by Gary Nabhan, Laurie Monti and Caleb Weaver.

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10 from ...

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Healing the Lands of the Border

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

Around the time that Joe Quiroga turned 60, he began a new endeavor that has ultimately had more land conservation impact than most of us will ever achieve over in our lives.

Joe looked out over the uneven cover and ailing forage quality of the Sonoita Plains in Santa Cruz County near Elgin, AZ, and decided that he wanted to try to heal the landscape. He built stone check dams called trincheras wherever he saw watercourses down-cutting into ...

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The Return of the Natives: Designing and Planting Hedgerows for Pollinator Habitat to Bring Wild Diversity Back to Farms and Gardens

By: Gary Paul Nabhan and Amanda Webb
Patagonia, AZ

Native pollinators, it seems, were once forgotten as playing an essential role in providing ecological services for food security, but no longer.  We have witnessed a surge in grassroots interest in returning pollinators to their proper place in sustainable agriculture, as witnessed by the enthusiastic participation recently seen at a workshop regarding on-farm pollinator habitat restoration in the U.S./Mexico borderlands.

The workshop featured practical teachings from Sam Earnshaw of Community Alliance of Family ...

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Coalition Receives Grant to Promote Arid-Adapted Heritage Grains in Southern Arizona

A ground-breaking collaboration of farmers and organizations in southern Arizona has been awarded a two-year, $50,000 grant by the Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program to revive the production, milling, distribution, and marketing of the oldest extant grain varieties adapted to the arid Southwest: White Sonora soft bread wheat and Chapalote flint corn.

Native Seeds/SEARCH, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Hayden Flour Mills, Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, Cultivate Santa Cruz, Tubac Historical Society, Amado Farms Joint ...

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‘Seed schools’ can help nurture local heirloom plants

Written by: Jim Ewing

A novel approach toward helping young people ensure biodiversity in our world is studying seeds in the wild and planting them for food in the garden.

Called “seed schools,” they should be in schools everywhere.

According to Native Seeds SEARCH’s Seedhead News, Gary Paul Nabhan, sometimes called “the father of the local foods movement,” was recently named to an endowed chair at the University of Arizona’s Sustainable Food Systems Program.

Nabhan helps seed school students name their own plant ...

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Drakes Estero oyster farm a natural fit

By: Gary P. Nabhan, Jeffrey A. Creque
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is an oyster farm compatible with wilderness values?

The purpose of the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act – under which the National Park Service alleges authority to prepare an environmental impact statement on Drakes Bay Oyster Co. operations – was “to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.”

The 80-year tradition of shellfish aquaculture in Drakes Estero is a quintessential example of exactly such a ...

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Gary’s Vision – The Big Picture…

Caring Capacity versus Carrying Capacity

Re-Designing Borderland Food Systems for the Health of the Land and the Health of Its Multicultural Communities

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Kellogg Chair in Food and Water Security for the Southwest Borderlands, University of Arizona

THE CHALLENGE

More than seventy years ago, Aldo Leopold first compared wholeness and health in the human body with those attributes in farmscapes. In a prophetic essay entitled “The Farmer as a Conservationist,” Leopold (1939, 1999) offered this analogy:

“It seems to me that ...

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