We need to find places in our food system for displaced farmers, herders and cooks, rather than seeing them further marginalized.

This week, Jews and Christians are mulling over these words from a time when thousands of refugees hungry for food and justice had fled Egypt and were anxious about their future:  “And this is how you refugees shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, only sandals on your feet, and your shepherd’s staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste, in hope of safely passing-over.

We need a food movement that is fully responsive to the millions ...

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Borderlands wildlife doesn’t need the National Guard

Have you ever crossed a national boundary and realized that wildlife had crossed the very same line? We’ve frequently seen the evidence of such crossings, as both of us have lived and worked close to the international boundary with Mexico for much of the last four decades. From endangered pronghorn antelope to lesser long-nosed bats, rufous hummingbirds and monarch butterflies, itinerant species that routinely cross the border have thrilled us with their stunning presence.

These creatures and many others have long ...

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Two trends within The Community Based Restoration Movement, that should interest all environmentalists.

Two trends within the community-based restoration movement should interest all environmentalists; they are a.) the ecological restoration of food-producing landscapes; and b.) the recovery of wild species threatened by both historic overharvesting and habitat degradation.

There are roughly 4000 species of edible plants and 250 species of edible fish and game in North America. From my surveys over the last decade, it appears that about 17% of the species are being recovered by collaborations involving tribes, other hunters, fishers and foragers, ...

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Need some good news? Grassroots efforts — largely free of governmental, multinational corporations and national philanthropic foundations, have climbed!

Need some good news? Grassroots efforts –largely free of governmental, multinational corporations and national philanthropic foundations– have increased the diversity of cultivated food plant varieties in the U.S. food system from 9720 varieties in the mid-1980s to 21,640 varieties in the mid 2010s. THATS 2.2 TIMES MORE FOOD PLANT DIVERSITY THAN WHAT THERE WAS IN OUR FIELDS, GARDENS, ORCHARDS AND TABLES 30 YEARS BEFORE!

We have gone from just 375 non-profit and micro-enterprise seed and nursery outlets in the U.S. in ...

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Seed Trade Census reports that over 12,892 seed crops are now available in the United States.

The new Seed Trade Census released by the Seed Savers Exchange reports that over 12,892 open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, culinary herbs, legumes and grains are now available in the United States, more than twice the number (5534) available in 1981, when the census began.

Many of those annual seed crop varieties have been restored for use in our gardens, on our farms and on our tables by people like you, working through informal networks in and among communities of growers independent ...

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We need a broad cross-section of America’s talent to be engaged in the restoration of our food-producing capacity.

With regard to achieving long-term successes in edible species recovery and foodshed restoration, we now know that the diversity of such players involved in such efforts, has everything to do with the successful revival of the richness of nutritious foods and delicious drinks that we are beginning to see in communities all across the continent.

In essence, the best means of assuring a diversity of foods for our food security has everything to do with sanctioning and supporting a diversity of ...

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The Teacher: No need to bring this teacher an apple – he’s got a whole seed bank in Waldoboro

‘Our seeds have basically gone all over the world,’ says Neil Lash, who earns the Source Award for Teacher.

Sometime around 1990, Waldoboro school teacher Neil Lash was watching the PBS program “The Victory Garden” when Kent Whealy appeared on the screen. Whealy had co-founded Seed Savers Exchange, one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States and as he talked about the work they done with heirloom seeds, including some that had been brought to the United States ...

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At least 70 people have been employed, since we began work with border communities.

Often times, members of poor rural communities tell environmentalists “We are with you as long as you bring to our families more livelihoods, rather than just eliminating jobs from extractive industries.” We can now affirm that a steadily increasing number of both rural and urban “green” jobs have been generated due to the groundswell of interest in such foods and in the healthy landscapes and waters which spawn them.

With Borderlands Restoration Network that is based where I live in Patagonia ...

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We need to re-enfranchise people to join in the joyous work of restoring our lands and communities.

Let me mince no words: The conservation movement needs to be more inclusive, which may mean that it is less confrontational and more humble. Individuals of all classes and ethnicities have felt increasingly disempowered by the prevalence of top-down decision-making about lands, wildlife and plants that they had known and loved. In many cases, they have become disenfranchised from policy-making processes that ignore their local knowledge, dismiss their cultural or faith-based values, and care less about the economic impact of ...

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Don’t you think it’s time to encourage all of us to imagine something other than living in a divided country?

More than just our food security is at stake if we don’t soon take the middle path. Don’t you think it’s time to encourage all of us to imagine something other than living in a divided country, where we all buy into the infamous “zero sum game” of winners vs. losers? We need to engage in a different set of social behaviors and more inclusive processes with regard to democratic decision-making and community-based restoration. The overall health and security of ...

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Its time to choose to walk on the Middle Path toward the Radical Center.

What’s so special about working outdoors planting trees or reintroducing fish stocks with someone else from another culture, race, profession or professed faith? Why should any of us presume that such endeavors matter far more than anything else we do? Well, for one good reason– time spent restoring nature also helps restore us and our bonds with others. While It is true that over much of the course of human history, such earthward gestures and restorative endeavors were undoubtedly commonplace ...

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The diversity of seeds and breeds on our farms and ranches, is greater than at any time in the last century.

Globally, the diversity of foods in most diets is shrinking, with those diets becoming more homogenized from one country to the next, more nutrient-depleted, and more Westernized. But there is a counter-trend worth watching in North America, and it is not restricted to or even driven by privileged foodies: our diets are diversifying again due to affordable access of many vegetables, fruits and other foods. Because of remarkably successful community-based collaborative efforts by you and others, the diversity of seeds ...

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Introduction – Food from the Radical Center

Over the next few weeks & months, I’ll be telling you a story of how biocultural restoration — the healing our lands AND our communities — is changing America for the better. The story is not merely about the men and women who have planted trees or reintroduced wildlife for the good of their neighborhoods. It is more broadly about people of all cultures, races and classes as well as all walks of life who have volunteered their time to ...

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Untold Arizona: Arizona-Grown Tepary Beans Preserve The Past, Hold Promise For The Future

To commemorate Arizona’s birthday, we dispatched our reporters far and wide to bring you stories from the region you’ve probably never heard before. Hear more from our Untold Arizona series.

 

 

Arizona farmer Terry Button grew up eating beans in New England.

“I never sit down to eat a little portion of beans,” he said, grinning. “I eat a big bowl of beans.”

They were his favorite food — baked beans, great northern beans, navy beans, Lima ...

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San Valentino Walks Out Into the Woods

the earth is beckoning us
to fall back in love
with all of creation
and to never forget
the embrace
we’ve been borne into
the one in which we still reside.

being who he was
San Valentino a Roman dude, one
who slogged through the Middle Ages
could not fully express
the downright, full-bodied sensuousness
of living in & on this very earth
but if you need a jumpstart
for rekindling your love, well
go out & wade naked in a ...

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The Vault

How good are you at keeping secrets? Do you blab immediately, or do you have a Seinfeld-esque Vault?

Of course, that’s not an actual vault — more of a metaphorical one.

This week on Endless Thread, we talk about a real vault, one that holds not only secrets, but actual valuables as well. The contents don’t glitter or shine or pay for anything, but they are probably the most valuable items in the world.

The vault in question is located far north, up ...

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America is inherently a place of awe – inspiring heterogeneity rather than mind-numbing homogeneity.

America is inherently a place of awe – inspiring heterogeneity rather than mind-numbing homogeneity. Some of that heterogeneity inevitably includes social, cultural and political counter-currents and much-needed debates regarding how to deal with the disparities and indignities around us.

But that fact alone does not necessarily mean that we are fated to live forever on a battleground where polarizing (if not paralyzing) divisiveness ...

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I want to thank Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, for redressing relationships and healing past wounds.

Some of the most important work being done on our Turtle Island “continent” today is in the realm of what Rowen White calls “seed” rematriation, bringing indigenous crop seeds back home to their motherlands and stewarding cultures that have the deepest ties to these food resources.

A decade ago, I was blessed enough to have coordinated with Leigh Kuwanwisiwma of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office one ...

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Six Meditations on the Desert from Brother Coyote

I.

Once you take time
For listening
To nothing
But the silence
Pulsing like your heartbeat
Across the arid expanse
Sounds from far away
Which your ears
Have never heard
Suddenly come
To greet you.

 

II.

If we define the desert
Only by what it lacks
We may miss
All the space it offers
So that we may see
That all we’ll ever need
Is already here, here.

 

III.

For you little trees in the desert
It’s not about how high
Your limbs rise in ...

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My gratitude to all women who taught me more about “community building” within and beyond our own species, than I could ever teach them.

I’ve recently observed that many of the most interesting ecological restoration projects focused on food and medicinal plants are managed by teams of (primarily) women who structure the project’s relationships to local communities in ways far more interesting & effective than the way men have conventionally structured such ecological restoration initiatives.

For instance, herbalists, educators, basketry-makers, soil scientists, landscape designers and individuals of ...

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