Redesigning Food Systems

Capturing Synergies to Build Healthy Communities in the Southwest Borderlands

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Sabores Sin Fronteras Foodways Alliance &, Kellogg Chair in Southwest Borderlands Food and Water Security, University of Arizona

The term food hub  has become used more and more frequently as one of several means to build and strengthen regional food systems. The USDA’s working definition of a food hub  is a “centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced foods.”

As I hear more and more food ...

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High and dry: Southwest drought means rising food prices

Very few urban dwellers have paid attention to the catastrophic drought in the Southwest that began nearly a year ago. But last month, as farmers and ranchers assessed the year’s harvest, it became clear it had knocked back their yields and sales, while driving their costs higher than they have ever been. As the drought continues to drive both meat and vegetable food prices up over the next year, urbanites in the region and beyond will likely notice the change ...

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Food archaeologist gives new life to nearly extinct grains, veggies

by Richard Ruelas – Oct. 1, 2011 06:43 PM
The Arizona Republic

PATAGONIA – Gary Nabhan has written stacks of research papers about culture, archaeology and food for academic journals, and has authored at least a dozen books, some meant for popular consumption, others the academic kind whose titles have colons and subtitles that are longer than the main title.

But the gist of his high-minded, dense research is this: People lived here thousands of years ago and ...

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Sustainable Goodness in Wisconsin

September 22, 2011

By: Jennifer Reece

This year’s annual Food for Thought Festival, held last weekend in Madison, explored and celebrated the diversity of ways to eat more pleasurably, healthfully and sustainably in Wisconsin.  Hosted by REAP (Research, Education, Action and Policy)—a Madison based non-profit organization with the mission to build a regional food system that is healthful, just, environmentally sustainable and economically viable—the Food for Thought Festival is reminiscent of the age-old harvest festival.  However, this festival is more ...

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Sonorans harvest bounty of acorns before monsoon

By Jonathon Shacat
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP)— Each year, before the monsoon rains come, people in this region of northern Mexico harvest acorns known as bellotas from Emory Oak trees and sell the nuts along the roads here.Bellotas are brown and measure about 3/4 of an inch long and about 1/4 of an inch wide. Wick Communications environmental liaison Dick Kamp describes the taste as “tannic acid, and kind of rich.”

Emory Oak trees grow in isolated portions of Arizona, ...

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The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

by Gary Paul Nabhan

While at a Palestinian café in Ramallah on the West Bank recently, I was surprised to find the waitress was bringing me a flour tortilla much like the pale, medium thin ones used for burritos throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua and Sonora.

“Did I order these?” I asked my Palestinian hostess. “I thought I ordered a purslane salad with some saj flatbread on the side.”

“To the right of you is your ...

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Mom-and-pop vs. big-box stores in the food desert

by Gary Nabhan, Kelly Watters

A few weeks ago, when the Obama administration released its Food Desert Locator, many of us realized that a once-good idea has spoiled like a bag of old bread. If you go online and find that your family lives in a food desert, don’t worry: You have plenty of company. One of every 10 census tracts in the lower 48 has been awarded that status.

Two years ago, when one of us (Gary) moved to ...

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Farming in the Time of Climate Catastrophe

The Atlantic

Facing wild weather and dwindling water resources, a pepper grower says it’s time to rethink agriculture

It is spring, and I am kneeling with a few friends in front of the composted soil of the hillside terraces in my orchard-garden in the desert borderlands of Arizona. It is planting day, and as we place each variety of pepper plant into the moistened earth, we say its name aloud, as if reciting a prayer in the face of uncertainty: Chiltepin, ...

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Chasing Chiles Across North America

Chasing Chiles is both a rollicking travelogue from three guys on the hunt for authentic food and cultural experience and an adventure with a larger, sobering mission: to understand the effects of climate change by zeroing in on one critical crop and the people whose lives are most deeply intertwined with it. Kraft, Friese, and Nabhan seek out and listen to farmers, chefs, and others who rely on the chile, and document ...

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A Masterpiece Written In Our Own Era

Old Southern Apples by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. (with Edith Calhoun)

Without question, the most remarkable horticultural history book of this decade was released in late January, some fifteen years after its first edition astounded orchard keepers and agricultural historians everywhere. The second edition of Old Southern Apples is not simply expanded to include 1800 apple varieties, but it is an altogether more significant book, thanks to the extraordinary research accomplished by Lee and Edith Calhoun, and the ...

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Food security at historic watershed

The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, February 07, 2011

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the farming capacity and food security of the border states are at an all-time low, and are likely to get worse before they are fully transformed to more sustainable and cost-efficient systems.

Recently, with a dozen experts from four states, we conceded that our capacity to feed ourselves and the hungriest of our neighbors has been compromised more than ever before. At the same time, experts ...

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Arizona’s “foodsheds” at Risk

Daniel Kraker (2011-02-07)

FLAGSTAFF, AZ (knau) – Arizona sits in the most arid region in the U.S. But it produces a surprising amount of food, from ancient crops like beans and corn, to winter vegetables that show up on dinner tables around the country. A new report, though, shows some cracks in the southwest’s food systems. Former NAU and current U of A researcher Gary Nabhan edited the study, called the “State of Southwestern Food Sheds.” He told KNAU’s Daniel ...

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UA Report Looks at State of Southwestern ‘Foodsheds’

Ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan is behind a collection of essays that analyze the decline and rise in interest in locally produced food.

By: Jeff Harrison, University Communications, February 2, 2011

Unprecedented pressures exist on food security and farming capacity in the U.S. borderland states, according to a new regional food assessment by University of Arizona researchers and their colleagues.

The economic downturn, water scarcity, rising oil prices, climate change and the loss of prime farmlands ...

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State of Southwestern Foodsheds

A Special Publication of Sabores Sin Fronteras of the Southwest Center with Edible Communities
Edited by: Gary Paul Nabhan and Regina Fitzsimmons

While this publication began as an imaginative exercise to chart the successes and joys of sustainable food, farming and ranching initiatives in the Southwest that began over the last decade, it now appears that such innovations may no longer be a luxury, but a necessity.

As this special “Edible” edition on the State of Southwestern Foodsheds goes to ...

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Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper—from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since ...

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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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Kyl, McCain could boost economy with Santa Cruz heritage area

Gary Paul Nabhan Special To The Arizona Daily Star

With elections behind us, I hope politicians will get out from behind the rhetoric and actually help Arizonans – especially rural Arizonans – overcome the problems of poverty, hunger and limited economic opportunity. There is one immediate way to do this – by jump-starting rural economic recovery and creating jobs through a Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area designation.

In Southern Arizona, all local, county, and tribal governments and ...

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Gary Nabhan, the Gulf and the Power of Positive Eating

By: Crashing Vor
Published: July 16, 2010

Gary Paul Nabhan is a man of many hats. Geographer, ethnobiologist, conservationist, storyteller. That he won the MacArthur “genius” award should come as no surprise, as he has consistently uses his varied interests to find the profound truths hiding in the intersections between seemingly unrelated fields.

His 2002 book Coming Home to Eat , about a year spent eating only what could be found within a 250-mile range of his Arizona home, ...

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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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