Working at the “Radical Center”

How do adversaries find common ground? How do they work together to find common goals and interests? Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities by Gary Paul Nabhan is about food and land conservation, and its lessons have the potential to bring together many people in our polarized nation. Nabhan is a writer, seed conservationist, and MacArthur genius grant recipient; he’s endowed chair in sustainable agriculture at University of Arizona, and he’s a long time activist for ...

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“Food From the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities” by Gary Paul Nabhan

It’s easy to picture Gary Paul Nabhan as a human teletype machine. As quickly as thoughts come into his head, it seems, words flow out of his fingers, filling book after book after book. The author, co-author, or editor of around 40 books published between 1982 and 2018, Nabhan’s prolific production is even more impressive when we realize he is not only an academic — most recently holding the Kellogg endowed chair in Borderlands Food and Water Security at the ...

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Join me for a discussion of the largest grassroots environmental movement over the next three weeks!

Wednesday at a celebration of mesquite food artisans and book release of Mesquite! on Tucson’s Tumamoc Hill, the Tucson City of Gastronomy non-profit released its publication, Baja Arizona Artisanal Food Products. It features 108 food products from the Tucson basin made accessible and affordable by 52 local food producers who process native plants, honey and heirloom crops into delectable foods and beverages.

The same day, my new book Food from the Radical Center was first publicly presented at the same event, ...

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What if impoverished communities in America had training and exhibition centers to kickstart new jobs?

While “local” has become an overused buzzword in many places over the last two decades, “green livelihoods for local residents” remains a goal that many communities aspire to achieve. In southern Arizona along the border with Mexico, many rural communities have all but dried up for lack of jobs offering livable wages. Supporting start-up food microenterprises remains one of the best ways to jumpstart a lagging local economy, and yet the crews which run such operations often work long hours ...

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We urgently need to invest in the restoration of food-producing landscapes in our cities.

If you think that rural areas are the only places where communities are working on the restoration of food-producing habitats, look again: Many urban farmers and gardeners are endeavoring to “daylight” the arable land and potable water sources buried under the surface of most metropolitan areas. In fact, some of America’s best arable lands and finest rivers run through the urban matrix. There are good reasons that we should not “throw in the towel” regarding the future of agriculture inside ...

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Southern Arizona author Nabhan further explores food in two new books

Agricultural ecologist and ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan, considered the father of the local food movement and a pioneer of the heirloom seed-saving movement, has authored more than 30 books. His two most recent books, reviewed here, were published in September. Nabhan, the Kellogg Endowed Chair at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, lives in Patagonia.

Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities, Gary Paul Nabhan. Island Press. $28

Feed thy neighbor. Although ours is an increasingly fractious society, improving ...

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The diversity of foods on American tables is greater than at any time in the last century.

During trying times, it seems that all of us need reminders of what still works in and about America, and one phenomena that still reaps benefits for most of us is the panoply of voluntary actions taken by ordinary people like you and me to conserve, restore and enrich to the diversity of foods available to our children, our elders, and ourselves. Because of these efforts, the diversity of foods and beverages on American tables is greater than at any ...

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Nothing much can happen in our communities – If we do not partake in the daily or monthly actions of taking care of one another.

What if each of us – as time and energy allows – tried to take a day each month to work exclusively toward the restoration of our lived-in landscape with our neighbors? What if we went beyond picking up garbage and mending cracked sidewalks, to planting trees, building check dams across downcut gullies, or sowing native grasses and wildflowers along bike paths and railways that have become barren or weedy after years of grading and spraying? All I am sure ...

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Join me this month in celebrating the many voices that are rediversifying the American Farmlands

It is sometimes easy to forget that just a quarter century ago, there were less than 2000 functioning farmers markets in the entire U.S. As of late August, 2018, the USDA has recorded a total of 8730 farmers markets in the U.S., roughly a five-fold increase in less than 25 years. What I love about farmers markets is what I’ve seen in Bloomington, Indiana — an old conservative farmer in overalls selling pawpaws next to a college-age woman in a ...

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In my dreams and nightmares, I keep coming back to those eight intense days in five states along the border.

In my dreams and nightmares, I keep coming back to those eight intense days in five states along the border — after nearly a half century of crisscrossing it — and it still feels like a changling, a chimera to me.

Is it a hard surface of discontinuity, with a sharp division of opportunities on either side of its sheet metal walls, its Normandy barriers, its anti-ram concrete blockades, its bollards and barbed wire fences? Or is the sharpness I feel ...

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Science put at risk along U.S.-Mexico border

Off the southern coast of California, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, dolphins swim around the fence that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. “They don’t really care,” said Jeff Crooks, a University of San Diego scientist who has been doing research along the U.S.-Mexico border for the past 16 years.

The border fence here was built long before President Trump’s campaign promises to “build a wall.” Barriers run for 46 miles separating San Diego County from Mexico; near the ...

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2,700 Scientists: Planned Border Wall a Threat to Biodiversity

Around 2,700 scientists from 47 countries have signed a letter supporting a scientific paper by Defenders of Wildlife that concludes Donald Trump’s border wall is a threat to biodiversity.

After more than six months of research, Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation nonprofit, submitted a scientific paper for peer review to the Geoscience Journal. The reaction from scientists all over the world was immediate and supportive.

The scientific paper documents the ecological harm of the type of fence and barrier ...

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Land, Food, And Bridging Social Divisions With Gary Paul Nabhan On Access Utah

Gary Paul Nabhan is an Agricultural Ecologist, Ethnobotanist, Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, and author whose work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is considered a pioneer in the local food movement and the heirloom seed saving movement.

We’ll talk about his new books, “Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair,” and “Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands and Communities,” which release in September 2018.

 

 
 
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Story from: Tom Williams at ...

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Rural Conservatives are Indeed Effective Conservationists

I’ve been humbled to learn that conservative Republicans throughout the country are not only among the leaders in the recovery of rare standard breeds of domesticated turkeys, but are also essential to the recovery of wild turkey populations and the restoration of their habitats. It tells me two things.

First, that some conservationists dismiss the efforts of those interested in conserving domesticated seeds and breeds because they claim there is no carryover in concern for wild species, which is a false ...

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Conversations with people coming together to restore disappearing foods.

Having spent a lot of time on the ground with people coming together to restore disappearing foods of their regions, there are two particular conversations that have always stood out for me: I remember one old timey apple grower in Appalachia telling me that he loves growing heirloom varieties, but if some of them have no interest among consumers, he has to cull them out of his orchard to make room for varieties that still attract the interest of urban ...

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Remembering Lincoln Brower: A field scientist who went through as many metamorphic life stages as monarch butterflies do

When I heard of Lincoln Brower’s passing, I remembered how I dreamed that my father had turned into a monarch butterfly after he had died. But with Lincoln, the story could not be as simple as just one transformation. He was a truly ecological lab scientist of incredible ingenuity in experimental design, a skill that he applied to the study of mimicry and milkweed toxicity as they relate to monarchs, viceroys and queens. His ingenuity and originality was evident in ...

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Nature Divided, Scientists United: US–Mexico Border Wall Threatens Biodiversity and Binational Conservation

Fences and walls erected along international boundaries in the name of national security have unintended but significant consequences for biodiversity (Trouwborst et al. 2016). In North America, along the 3200-kilometer US–Mexico border, fence and wall construction over the past decade and efforts by the Trump administration to complete a continuous border “wall” threaten some of the continent’s most biologically diverse regions. Already-built sections of the wall are reducing the area, quality, and connectivity of plant ...

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We have met migrants and refugees from many Central American and Mexican landscapes who just want to be safe.

As the day approaches when a federal judge learns whether federal agencies have been able to reunite all detained families that have been separated, we hear in Las Cruces at dawn that these agencies appear to have fallen far short of their mandate. There is chaos and disappointment in the air as we talk to people from all walks of life, of different ethnicities and faiths. We have been on a listening tour on both sides of the borderlands. We ...

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Thousands of scientists object to Trump’s border wall

Thousands of scientists expressed alarm this week at the expansion of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. A report in BioScience outlined the dangers of building a continuous and impermeable border wall, saying it would harm animals and plants in this sensitive region. The scientists cite bypassed environmental laws, habitat destruction, and losses to conservation and scientific research as the primary areas of concern.

The region is home to more than 1,500 native plant and animal species, including several endangered species. After posting the ...

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Deeply Inspired by the Remarkable Food Justice and Social Commentaries from the staff at La Semilla Food Center.

How do we rekindle our hope during the darkest of times? With regard to the current crisis at our border, many of us have felt anxiety, distress, frustration and horror over the way many people have been repeatedly been treated during their efforts to gain political asylum, seek sanctuary and secure dignified livelihoods in the U.S.

Well, in Anthony, Texas today, I was deeply inspired by both the remarkable food justice work being done and the social commentaries we heard from ...

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