“Welcome to the Agave family!” was the way that late Arizona botanist Howard Scott Gentry used to greet aficionados of…
On December 11, 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced designation of the City of Tucson…
Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the premier science and nature writers of the American Southwest. He’s written or edited over 35 books, mostly on the subject of arid-land farming, indigenous culture, and food production. He is an integral part of the lineage of Southwest writers which includes Charles Bowden and Edward Abbey. But it’s not just writing he is known for.
Among the earliest memories imprinted in my mind: Sitting alone in the sands of the Indiana Dunes when I was three, maybe four years old. Listening.
The late afternoon sun was cascading diagonally down through the canopies of oaks & cottonwoods above me. A squabble of Blue Jays appeared to be my only companions for well over an hour. I became mesmerized by their presences.
30 Minutes spoke with Gary Paul Nabhan, Ph.D., about Tucson’s recent designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy and what that means. He is the newly appointed director for Center
for Regional Food Studies. Nabhan discussed the breadth of Tucson’s food cultures as well as the importance of food justice and food security for everyone in our community.
A half century since Cesar Chavez led a national boycott of grapes to highlight the civil rights of farmworkers, the status of both immigrant and native contributors to Arizona’s food system is still in debate. Although Chavez left an indelible mark on our agricultural history, we must look and see how much more equity Arizona’s food system has now than during Chavez’s march on Delano, Calif., 50 years ago.
How have the civil rights for farmworkers of various races and cultures fared over the past half-century in Arizona? And what next steps need to be taken to ensure justice and equity for all those who bring Arizonans their daily bread?
Every day, tens of thousands of cars barrel down Interstate 10, a highway that hugs the western edge of Tucson, Arizona. Many of these drivers may not realize that they are driving past a region with one of the longest food heritages on the continent.
Often considered the birthplace of Tucson itself, this swath of Sonoran Desert nestled at the base of the Tucson Mountains is where the O’odham people settled, planting crops of maize, tepary beans and other produce amid a landscape punctuated by prickly pear cacti and sagebrush.
One might wonder whether any twenty-first-century preoccupation with agrarian values, agrarian ecology, and agrarian ideals comes as too little, too late. Less than 2 percent of the North American public lives in rural areas outside towns, cities, and suburbs, and less than half of the world’s population now lives outside cities.
But the New Agrarianism, which is emerging globally, is not restricted to the rural domain, nor is it necessarily a romantic desire to reenact social behaviors and mores associated with rural populaces in bygone eras.
The winding, rocky road up to Gary Nabhan’s Patagonia home is definitely not suited for a sedan. It gets pretty hairy a couple of times while creeping up the path going just a few miles per hour upward, but there, at the top of a hill with a beautiful vantage of a couple local farms, is Nabhan’s rustic Southwestern home.
The irony is that, in trying to figure out what makes Tucson a gastronomic destination, driving an hour south of the city and into another county actually makes a lot of sense…
MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award recipient and Edible Baja Arizona senior contributing editor Gary Nabhan is leading the charge with Barnraiser fundraiser.
His goal? To fund the creation of a commercial kitchen within easy reach of five orchards growing arid-adapted fruits and herbs in Patagonia, Arizona, and then work with local immigrant and refugee populations to create shrubs, preserved fruit syrups made using millennia-old recipes consisting of vinegar, fruit, sugar, and herbs.