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Food & Health

Financing Food and Creating Jobs from the Bottom Up

In the days between the 2012 Republican and Democratic Conventions, a group of eighty farmers, ranchers, grocers, produce distributors and food activists met in Carbondale, Colorado. They hunkered down in a big tent on a farm nestled below the drought-stricken peaks of the Rocky Mountains as dry winds gusted around them. Like many who spoke […]

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When Local is Binational: Borderland Food in Nogales

When the food relocalization movement revved up its engines a dozen years ago, I would often see maps that circumscribed “local foodsheds” by county, state,  or region of our sprawling nation, but they never crossed international boundaries. But when I recently moved to southern Arizona to plant an heirloom orchard just twelve miles north of […]

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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 […]

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Coalition Receives Grant to Promote Arid-Adapted Heritage Grains in Southern Arizona

A ground-breaking collaboration of farmers and organizations in southern Arizona has been awarded a two-year, $50,000 grant by the Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program to revive the production, milling, distribution, and marketing of the oldest extant grain varieties adapted to the arid Southwest: White Sonora soft bread wheat and Chapalote flint corn. […]

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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 […]

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Mom-and-pop vs. big-box stores in the food desert

By: Gary Nabhan and Kelly Watters A few weeks ago, when the Obama administration released its Food Desert Locator, many of us realized that a once-good idea has spoiled like a bag of old bread. If you go online and find that your family lives in a food desert, don’t worry: You have plenty of […]

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High, dry, and up against a wall: Why water and food justice are key to ending border conflicts

For someone who lives within 12 miles of the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it was an odd feeling to travel along the wall between Palestine and Israel last week just as Osama bin Laden’s death was announced to the world. Odd, because the parallels between the two desert regions are so remarkable. Palestinian […]

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Place-based Foods of the Borderlands Weather the Economic Downturn

This last week, I went out into the desert to find an old friend in her trailer-turned-artisanal kitchen. My friend is an Hispanic woman who lost her job after 9/11 in a borderlands community that lost thousands of more jobs during the mortgage fiasco two years ago and the more recent economic downturn. And yet, despite all the discouraging turns that have occurred in the Tucson, Arizona economy over the last decade, I did not hear discouraging words in Esperanza Arevalo’s kitchen. I heard words like flavor, prayer and miracle; and I smelled the savory, smoky fragrance of mesquite tortillas just off the griddle. Despite warnings that these are the worst of times to be starting a small business, her homemade mesquite tortillas are selling like hotcakes. Tortilleria Arevalo is having the best of times.

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