Family, Community & Place

The Road to UNESCO – Tucson ambitiously seeks to be recognized as the first creative city for gastronomy in the country—but is it realistic?

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…

Seeking Food Justice with Forgotten Fruit

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.

An Apology to Young Agrarians

Before anything else, I want to apologize for previously failing to acknowledge your value to our society at large, and to more fully support you in gaining traction with your endeavors. In four decades of writing about farming and ranching, I am afraid I have missed the mark by not writing about the issues most critical to your health and well-being.

I have been so attracted to helping save the seeds, breeds, soil, and water of food-producing land that I failed to notice that, first and foremost, those resources need bright, passionate, energetic, and innovative farmers and farmworkers if they are to survive and thrive.

Stalking Oregano in the Wilds of Mexico

Few American gourmands realize that most of the oregano they use to spice up sauces, meats, salads and vinegars—whether it be Greek or Mexican in origin—is hand-harvested from wild habitats. Although many varieties of oregano can be cultivated and irrigated as perennial crops, their aromatic oils become diluted as their leaves enlarge under well-watered conditions.

These same aromatic oils—called thymol and carvacol— become more concentrated, intensely flavorful and pungently memorable when the crisp, dry diminutive leaves of oreganos are harvested from deserts or from salt-sprayed coastal landscapes.

Becoming “Laudito Si” Franciscans of the Rivers and Seas in the Era of Mining Spills

The recent toxic spill of 3 million pounds of mine wastes in the Animas-San Juan watershed is roughly I received my “call” year ago to become a Franciscan after days of solitude and prayer in the wilderness of the Four Corners region.

It is also the same watershed where I once caught five catfish for breakfast while co-leading an Outward Bound-style rite of initiation in tributaries to the east of Lake Powell.

An Open Letter to Governor Ducey

When you signed the 2016 state budget into law this spring, many Arizonans were unlikely to understand how your decisions might harm their own future health.

They did not fathom that your budget-cutting measures are a deferred maintenance scheme that fails to deal with costly public health issues—and fails to adequately support the 600,000 Arizonans who suffer from diabetes today, or the 1.2 million people plagued by obesity.

Catching up with MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Gary Nabhan

The Graduate Center caught up with the UA Southwest Center’s Research Social Scientist, Dr. Gary Nabhan, MacArthur Fellow Class of 1990, to find out more about his upcoming talk “Seeds, Sown by Hand: Conservation You Can Taste” on March 12, 2015, at 5:30pm in the UA Chavez Building, Room 111 as part of the MacArthur Fellows Speaker Series.

Dr. Nabhan is a leading scientist in the fields of ethnobotany, agroecology, cultural geography, and is well known for his work with Native Seeds SEARCH and is Senior Contributing Editor for Edible Baja Arizona.

The International Seed Library Forum

The first International Seed Library Forum will be held in Tucson, Arizona May 3-6, 2015, in an effort to further coalesce efforts by public libraries, non-profits, universities, and food banks to increase the quality and diversify the means of managing community seed resources with free or affordable access to low-income households.

Please register online at Eventbrite at your earliest convenience.

Tucson, Arizona – An International Culinary Destination

The City of Gastronomy title is a part a UNESCO network of “Creative Cities” working together toward a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development. Joining the Creative Cities Network as a City of Gastronomy will highlight Tucson’s cultural assets on a global platform. It will also promote Tucson’s diverse cultural products in national and international markets by drawing attention to our…