Family, Community & Place

Healing the Lands of the Border

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.

The Return of the Natives: Designing and Planting Hedgerows for Pollinator Habitat to Bring Wild Diversity Back to Farms and Gardens

Native pollinators, it seems, were once forgotten as playing an essential role in providing ecological services for food security, but no longer. We have witnessed a surge in grassroots interest in returning pollinators to their proper place in sustainable agriculture, as witnessed by the enthusiastic participation recently seen at a workshop regarding on-farm pollinator habitat restoration in the U.S./Mexico borderlands.

The workshop featured practical teachings from Sam Earnshaw of Community Alliance of Family Farmers, who has helped plant or restore over 300 miles of pollinator-attracting hedgerows in Western states.

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

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 of mobile street food businesses to people of any areas in the United States, with roughly one vehicle offering food on the fly for every 1,000 residents.

The Return of the Natives: Designing and Planting Hedgerows for Pollinator Habitat to Bring Wild Diversity Back to Farms and Gardens

Native pollinators, it seems, were once forgotten as playing an essential role in providing ecological services for food security, but no longer. We have witnessed a surge in grassroots interest in returning pollinators to their proper place in sustainable agriculture, as witnessed by the enthusiastic participation recently seen at a workshop regarding on-farm pollinator habitat restoration in the U.S./Mexico borderlands.

The workshop featured practical teachings from Sam Earnshaw of Community Alliance of Family Farmers, who has helped plant or restore over 300 miles of pollinator-attracting hedgerows in Western states.

A Brief History of Cross-Border Food Trade

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 closer to U.S./Mexico border have an accurate sense of how much of our food comes from “el otro lado”—the lands and waters on the other side.

SRP, Phoenix neighborhood find palm-tree solution

Salt River Project has mostly resolved the conflict in an east Phoenix neighborhood where rare black-sphinx date palms growing close to power lines threaten to cause fires or blackouts. A year ago, SRP offered several residents in the Mountgrove subdivision in the Arcadia area $100 each to remove their trees, but many balked because they prize the heirloom date palms, which are not found in a grove anywhere else.

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 in prices