Restoration Economy

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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Slow Food Nation – Re-localizing Food

Watch Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine, at the recent Slow Food Nation celebration in San Francisco. Along with other panelists, Nabhan talked about the challenges re-localizing food, and the social and environmental impacts of a local and global approach to food.

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An Unlikely Way to Save a Species: Serve It for Dinner

By KIM SEVERSON
Published: April 30, 2008

SOME people would just as soon ignore the culinary potential of the Carolina flying squirrel or the Waldoboro green neck rutabaga. To them, the creamy Hutterite soup bean is too obscure and the Tennessee fainting goat, which keels over when startled, sounds more like a sideshow act than the centerpiece of a barbecue.

But not Gary Paul Nabhan. He has spent most ...

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Earth Day

You could feel that spring had come to the Berkshires after a long and gray winter. Wherever we went around Great Barrington, farmers and gardeners were hoeing the ground, planting seeds, adjusting water lines, patching up chicken coops, or moving livestock between pastures. By noon on Saturday, many of us congregated at the Route 7 Grill near Great Barrington, to sample and discuss the foods and brews unique to the Berkshires, and ponder what they meant to our society as ...

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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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The Greening of Americas Campuses

The largest university in Oregon is camouflaged, its many parts spread among the tight urban canyons of downtown Portland.

But one building at Portland State University stands out. It has a roof of grass, plants and gravel, like a slice of the high desert on the wet side of Oregon. It is 10 stories high, and inside, all the mechanical organs work with so little waste – pumping water, air and electricity to the 400 residents of the dormitory and, on ...

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A lizard’s life among the Seri Indians

Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

DESEMBOQUE, Mexico – In the Seri homeland, the blue waters of the Pacific bay reach up and kiss the desert, with its ironwood and medicine plants. Laughing alongside the turquoise water is Amalia Astorga, Seri storyteller and herbalist.

Astorga’s memory is long, like the history of the people here, and when she tells the story of ”Efrain of the Sonoran Desert,” she reaches back to the lizard ways.

The book, ”Efrain of the Sonoran Desert; ...

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