Arabic in the Saddle

By Gary Paul Nabhan

Half a world away from where they originated, Arabic terms for horses, horsemen, and the tack that links them have found a new home in the desert Southwest of the United States. These terms came from Arabic into Spanish, and then into American English when the Spanish and the “Anglo” traditions met.

In the early eighth century, a Muslim army of Arabs and North African Berbers conquered much of the Iberian Peninsula. In its south, a region ...

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Localvore Hero

Talking maple syrup with a Southwest grow-it guru

by: Suzanne Podhaizer (08/08/07)

Gary Paul Nabhan has hunted wild peccaries, pit-roasted cactus flowers, and won a MacArthur “genius” fellowship. This past weekend, he was the keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Vermont Fresh Network Forum. The theme of the gathering was “Eat It to Save It” and focused on bringing back indigenous foods, such as heirloom veggies and heritage animal breeds that are becoming extinct. ...

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Long Before the First Thanksgiving

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, RAFT founder

Gary Paul Nabhan is a MacArthur Fellow, cofounder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, and author of numerous books and articles on ethnobotany, nutrition, and plant conservation.

Try to recall the most remarkable lunch you’ve ever had in a grade school. Mine was remarkable not only because of the food that was served, but also because of the people—both young and old—with whom I ate. It was the people’s cultural traditions and their link with their distinctive ...

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The Beginning and the End of the Colorado River: Protecting the Sources, Ensuring Its Courses

Dedicated to Anita Alvarez de Williams, Nuestra Señora de la Delta

During the drought year of 2002, front-page headlines in Arizona’s largest newspaper declared “Colorado River Not Doing Job.” It was one of several notices making the national and regional headlines that year that referred to the worst drought to hit the bulk of the Colorado River basin in a century or more. In reading the Arizona Republic article that morning, I presumed that the journalists responsible for it understood ...

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Deepening Our Sense of What Is Local and Regional Food

Now that Time magazine has done a cover feature article on the local foods movement and a book on the same topic by bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver and her family is poised to climb up the New York Times top-ten non-fiction list, we might want to ask what actually is it that we want to promote by using phrases like “ Buy Fresh, Buy Local”. I can assure you that there will be increasing criticism of the so-called local ...

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Forget Organic. Eat Local.

The best food you can eat may be in your own backyard. Here is one man’s quest for the perfect apple.

By: John Cloud

Not long ago I had an apple problem. Wavering in the produce section of a Manhattan grocery store, I was unable to decide between an organic apple and a nonorganic apple (which was labeled conventional, since that sounds better than “sprayed with pesticides that might kill you”). It shouldn’t have been a tough choice–who wants to eat pesticide ...

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Twelve Lessons on Water Conservation from Traditional Farmers of the Colorado Plateau

The cultivation and irrigation of crops adapted to an arid climate began on the Colorado Plateau more than four thousand years ago, as we know from desiccated corncobs found near Zuni, Black Mesa, and Canyon de Chelly. An unbroken chain of some 160 generations has been engaged in rain-fed and runoff-supplemented production of food, fiber, and dyes with seeds and water-conserving practices adapted to the peculiar soils and microclimates of this region. Many environmental conditions and agricultural technologies have changed, ...

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A Terroir-ist’s Manifesto for Eating in Place

Know where your food has come from
through knowing those who produced it for you,
from farmer to forager, rancher or fisher
to earthworms building a deeper, richer soil,
to the heirloom vegetable, the nitrogen-fixing legume,
the pollinator, the heritage breed of livestock,
& the sourdough culture rising in your flour.

Know where your food has come from
by the very way it tastes:
its freshness telling you
how far it may have traveled,
the hint of mint in the cheese
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American Terroir

Sit down at the table with your countrymen & friends
And ask your lips, tongues, minds & bellies some questions,
Questions that remind us that our bodies & spirits
Are either nurtured by place
Or swallowed up by tasteless placelessness.

Ask aloud: Just what exactly is it
That we want to have cross our lips,
To roll off our tongues & down our throats
To be transformed & conjured into something
Altogether new by thousands of gut microbes
To surge into ...

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In Praise, and in Appraisal of, the Working Landscapes of the West

By: Gary Paul Nabhan with Ken Meter

The simplest fact about Western ranches tends to be the one which most folks tend to forget: raising range-fed livestock is one of the few economic activities that produces food — and potentially ecosystem health and financial wealth– by keeping landscapes relatively wild, diverse and resilient.

Only a small percentage of the foods eaten by humankind come from wildlands. Yes, livestock are given supplemental feed during drought, pregnancy, or just before slaughter, but the bulk ...

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Dismantling Metro Phoenix

By: Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD.

Listen to Audio –

The news that Arizona is now the fastest growing state in the nation provides a wonderful opportunity to finally tackle the biggest problem in our state. No, not illegal immigration. It is the legal immigration to our Sunbelt state that has created the thousand pound gorilla squatting in the middle of Arizona. That gorilla is Metro Phoenix. It not only consumes otherwise productive ...

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Home Cooking

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

November/December 2006

 

STRANGE DISHES ARE POPPING UP AT PICNICS, potlucks, and feasts all across North America. In the Pacific Northwest, you might sample pit-steamed blue camas bulbs; lunch in the Southeast might be accompanied by a glass of scuppernong wine; and a Southwestern meal might end with saguaro fruit syrup over mesquite bread. After years in the culinary wilderness, these and hundreds of other endemic foods are coming ...

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Good Gourd Almighty

Frances Chauvin was born into a family of pie makers, but she married into the cushaw tradition.

The striped, crooked neck pumpkin seems to be declining in popularity these days. Chauvin is the most visible local champion of the gourd. She sells her cushaw pies at the Tuesday Crescent City Farmers Market and at the Saturday Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge.

Growing up, she doesn’t ever recall seeing a cushaw.

“I lived over near ...

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A Plead for Humanitarian Relief in Lebanon

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

October 24th, 2006

My young cousins in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon wake up with broken glass sparkling in their hair, every window in their homes shattered by missiles that have struck nearby during the night. They are stranded in a small village of Christian and Bedouin sheepherders and orchard-keepers. It is miles away from Hezbolleh encampments, but such geographic facts do not lend them much protection these days.

Israeli missiles have hit the two thousand year old ...

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NAU Professor Feels Lebanese Grief Personally

By SZABOLCS KORDOS
Sun Staff Reporter
Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:48 AM CDT

Gary Nabhan is invited to his cousin’s wedding in Beirut this fall.

But now, the director of Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments doesn’t know if there will be a ceremony at all in the war-torn city. He can only hope that his relatives are unharmed.

As the son of an immigrant Lebanese family, the Nabhan grieves the losses on both sides in the Middle East crisis. He also ...

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Seri Indian Conservation Collaboration Receives International Award For World Oceans Day

In a press conference and World Oceans Day banquet in Washington, D.C. on June 7th, six prominent environmental organizations honored a grassroots effort of Native American youth for their protection and monitoring of endangered sea turtles that has been facilitated by Dr. Laurie Monti and Dr. Gary Nabhan from Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments and Applied Indigenous Studies. This year’s Ocean Revolution Native Oceans Award went to the Grupo Tortuguero Comcaac of Sonora, Mexico — a coalition of ...

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Desert is a Homeland that Has Migrated

“Our ancestors need to hear from us.” Vivienne Jake, Kaibab Paiute elder

It is well after midnight, and I have found myself in the backseat of a rented Lexus with a driver named Ahmed who is speeding 150 kilometers per hour along the shores of the Arabian Gulf. There is desert here right up to the sea, but both dry ground and ocean water are hard to make out. There are floodlights beaming down on the eight lane super highway between ...

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The Greening of Americas Campuses

The largest university in Oregon is camouflaged, its many parts spread among the tight urban canyons of downtown Portland.

But one building at Portland State University stands out. It has a roof of grass, plants and gravel, like a slice of the high desert on the wet side of Oregon. It is 10 stories high, and inside, all the mechanical organs work with so little waste – pumping water, air and electricity to the 400 residents of the dormitory and, on ...

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Endangered List Created for Native Foods

NPR

by Ted Robbins

Weekend Edition Sunday , December 18, 2005 · Political boundaries often seem artificial, based on a long-ago treaty or current party registration. The boundaries of North America’s cornbread, salmon and clambake nations are rooted in climate, geography and tradition. But the culinary heritage embodied by those names may be in peril.

Cornbread nation? That’s a construct of the RAFT coalition (Renewing America’s Food Traditions), which came up with a map of North America based on ...

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Endangered List Created for Native Foods

by Ted Robbins
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5058472

Listen to this Interview

Political boundaries often seem artificial, based on a long-ago treaty or current party registration. The boundaries of North America’s cornbread, salmon and clambake nations are rooted in climate, geography and tradition. But the culinary heritage embodied by those names may be in peril.

Cornbread nation? That’s a construct of the RAFT coalition (Renewing America’s Food Traditions), which came up with ...

Continue Reading →
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