Food Heritage and History

Finding fire: Scientists trace chiles’ DNA to Mexico

An international team that includes a University of Arizona researcher has delved into the DNA of the chile and found its Eden: a valley in east-central Mexico where indigenous farmers domesticated the fiery pepper more than 6,500 years ago.

The team, using linguistic and ecological evidence as well as archaeological and genetic data, traced the ancestry…

Chili Peppers First Cultivated in Mexico

The domesticated chili pepper—the world’s most widely grown spice crop—got its start in central-east Mexico, report researchers.

Results from the four-pronged investigation—based on linguistic and ecological evidence as well as the more traditional archaeological and genetic data—suggest a regional, rather than a geographically specific, birthplace for the domesticated chili pepper.

Pioneer of the Local Food Movement Gary Paul Nabhan Speaks Oct. 31 at Appalachian State University

Oct. 25, 2013. Gary Paul Nabhan, internationally celebrated conservation scientist, writer, food and farming activist and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity, will speak at Appalachian State University Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m. in the McRae Peak Ballroom in Plemmons Student Union.

Nabhan’s lecture is sponsored by the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development with support from the Appalachian Studies Program. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 828-262-7248.

Conservation You Can Taste

OVER THE LAST three decades, more than one-hundred thousand plant and animal varieties and species have become endangered around the planet, many of which formerly provided humankind with food or beverages. At the same time, a remarkable counter trend has occurred in America’s gardens and orchards, and on its farms and ranch pastures.

Although virtually unnoticed in some circles, more than fifteen thousand unique vegetable, fruit, legume and grain varieties and dozens of livestock and poultry breeds have returned to U.S. foodscapes, farmers markets, restaurants and home tables over the last quarter century.

Lessons from the Desert

Recent years have brought spikes in the frequency of strange weather patterns and severe storms, with many blaming the increase on human-caused climate change. If this new normal, as it’s being called, is here to stay, it will have profound implications on food production.

There are two basic ways that this threat to food production is being addressed. One is to develop new crops and agricultural methods tailored to withstand increased heat and water stresses. The other approach is to look to the past for solutions, at crops and techniques used in regions that have historically endured this kind of weather.

The Origins of Heritage Foods Revivals 1980-1985

A third of a century ago, an unprecedented grassroots movement emerged from American soil.It is a movement that is still alive, one for which Heirloom Gardener magazine has become the freshest and mostly-widely read source of information and inspiration. It may well be worth your while to reflect on the origins of the social change movement to which you belong, for it is a wellspring of food diversity, and as such, an important counter-current to modern agriculture.

Can Southern Arizona be protein self-sufficient in the face of climate change?

On a hot June day in the Flowing Wells neighborhood of northeast Tucson, 45 ranchers, farmers, chefs, butchers and range ecologists met to talk about the future of meat production, processing and local distribution in Southern Arizona.

Most of the participants knew that meat prices and demand were at an all-time high in Tucson and North America as a whole,

Growing Food in a Hotter, Dryer Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

Nabhan, an ethnobotanist, cofounder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, and prolific author, draws on his longtime relationships with the land and people of the Southwest U.S., together with wisdom from farmers and gardeners in Egypt, Mexico, and other dry places, to suggest solutions for growing food and developing agricultural resiliency as climate change affects wider swaths of the planet.

An Effort to Add a Key Ingredient to the Slow Food Movement: Investor Money

“Welcome, pig lovers, and welcome, earthworms!” Woody Tasch bellowed from the stage of the Boulder Theater, where 650 food entrepreneurs and investors had wedged themselves for the opening day of the fourth Slow Money National Gathering.

Mr. Tasch whipped the crowd into a frenzy on Monday morning — shouts of “It’s crazy!” and the random boo and hiss ricocheted through the audience — as he discussed the moral failures of unsustainable corporate farming and financiers struggling to align their urge to buy low and sell high with socially conscious investing.