Restoration Economy

Gary Paul Nabhan, “pioneer of the local food movement”, to speak at Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park’s Green Team is pleased to announce that Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning author, conservation biologist, farmer, and “pioneer of the local food movement” as he has been called by Time magazine, Utne Reader, and Mother Earth News, will be presenting special programs at the park on July 21 and 22, 2012.

His first presentation, National Parks, Food Security & Heritage Crops in a Time of Shifting Climates, will be held on Saturday, July 21, at 8:30 p.m. ...

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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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Street Food in the Desert’s Cities: Has Tucson Become the Hub for Lunch Wagons, Taco Trucks and Sonoran Hot Dog Carts?

By: Gary Nabhan, Regina Fitzsimmons, Amanda Webb and Maribel Alvarez

Did you know that Tucson and its Pima County suburbs have 12 times the number of mobile food services per capita than New York City?  The county reports some 941 mobile food businesses registered for business, including 235 full service food carts, 45 “dogero” push carts,  and 85 other mobile vendors in Tucson alone. Pima County appears to have tied with Los Angeles County in California for having the highest ratio ...

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A Brief History of Cross-Border Food Trade

By: Gary Paul Nabhan and Regina Rae Fitzsimmons

Many U.S. residents are amazed to learn that three-fifths of the fresh produce eaten in the U.S. comes from the West Coast of Mexico, and that much of the saltwater fish and shrimp they eat may come from Mexico’s reaches of the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. However, we should not belittle New Yorkers or Minnesotans for this lack of knowledge, since few of us who live much ...

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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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Sabores Sin Fronteras Launches “Taco Diplomacy” Food Wagon

An artisan-crafted Taco Diplomacy Food Wagon was recently launched as a provocative food art exhibit to remind its viewers of the many flavors without borders that enrich the lives of our region. It was inaugurated the weekend of October 13 to 15, 2011, where over 100,000 Arizonans and Sonorans gathered at Tucson Meet Yourself to celebrate cultural diversity and its links to food and music traditions.

The 5000 pound mobile art exhibit was designed by Cade and Jesus of Dust Designs ...

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Old-style apples from yore making a comeback in US orchards

By Associated Press, Published: September 7
Old-fashioned apples are back in fashion.

After nearly disappearing from the marketplace, apple varieties that were popular decades or even centuries ago are making a resurgence. The varieties, known as antique or heirloom apples, number in the thousands and carry names such as Sheepnose, American Mother, Lady Sweet and Nickajack.

And thanks to growing interest in all foods local and heirloom, they increasingly are showing up at farm stands and markets, at pick-your-own orchards and ...

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

Grist.org / 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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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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Chile crisis of 2011 reveals need for more resilience and diversity on the farm

by Gary Nabhan

What a difference a few days of aberrant weather can mean to our food security, our pocket books, and our penchant for hot sauce. The record freeze that hit the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico in early February is still affecting vegetable availability and food prices in general more than 6 weeks after the catastrophe. Restaurants across the U.S. are rationing peppers and tomatoes on their sandwiches and in their salsas. Prices for peppers have jumped as much ...

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A Rollicking Quest for Chiles ‘Along The Pepper Trail’

Authors trace history of chile on ‘spice odyssey’ starting in Mexico

Jill Koenigsdorf | For The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Everyone loves a book that has a good quest at its center, be it a great white whale, a holy grail or, in the case of ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan, chef Kurt Friese, and agro-ecologist Kraig Kraft, rare and heirloom chiles.

Their new book, Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along The Pepper Trail (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011), is a rollicking ride, ...

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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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An Agrarian Land Covenant: Food for Thought, For Becoming at Home in Our Place, For Thoughtfulness in Producing Food

With future generations in mind, my family will never leave the land we steward poorer, nor its water scarcer than conditions were before we acquired responsibility for their care.

My family will seek to enrich the soil, diversify its plant cover and deepen its roots both within and beyond its harvested fields, grazed pastures, and streamside areas.

My family will think of how our practices affect those who live above and below us in our foodshed and watershed— not only the human ...

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Desert oases as genetic refugia of heritage crops: Persistence of forgotten fruits in the mission orchards of Baja California, Mexico

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, Jesus Garcia, Rafael Routson, Kanin Routson and Micheline Cariño-Olvera
Published: April, 2010

The first introductions of agricultural crops to desert oases of Baja California, Mexico were initiated by Jesuit missionaries between 1697 and 1768 and historic records from these Jesuits provided a detailed benchmark by which temporal changes in agro-biodiversity can be measured.

Longitudinal studies at the agricultural oases on the Baja California peninsula of Mexico can help determine whether such isolated “islands” of cultivation function as ...

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Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Foods

Taste Here What You Can’t Just Find Anywhere, And See

For millennia, the Santa Cruz River Valley has been a natural corridor for the seasonal migration of birds as well as other wildlife, and for the cultural diffusion and exchange of foodstuffs. It harbors the northernmost populations of wild peppers known as chiltepines, but the first culinary use of chilies north of the present-day U.S./Mexico border was also recorded in one of its prehistoric villages. Other wild plants that have been ...

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Santa Cruz National Heritage designation a boon to economy

By: Gary P. Nabhan and Vanessa Bechol
Special to the Arizona Daily Star
Tuscon, Arizona | Published: 12.01.08
PDF Version

A growing number of farmers, ranchers and chefs in our community are working together to bring place-based heritage foods from our borderlands region back to our tables for feasts such as Thanksgiving.

With an agricultural history dating back 4,000 years, longer than most regions in North America, the Santa Cruz Valley is not only rich ...

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Parque de la Papa: Vavilov’s Dream for Potatoes?

For a quarter century, the breed of ethnobotanists I’ve hung with have proposed through countless lectures and publications that crop diversity can best conserved in situ, in the cultural landscapes managed by the traditional farmers who have long been its stewards. Now, in the highlands of Peru, a dream has come true, one that would have made the late Russian seed conservationist Nikolay Vavilov giddy with delight. Vavilov himself visited the Andes some seventy years ago, during an era when ...

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