At dawn on this year’s spring equinox, a group of people gathered in Patagonia, Arizona, to declare the Sonoita Creek – Upper Santa Cruz River watershed the Pollinator Capital of the United States. An interpretive sign, erected in a pollinator garden on Patagonia’s village green, noted that hundreds of species of native bees, dozens of species of butterflies and moths, fourteen species of hummingbirds, and two species of nectar-feeding bats regularly frequent the native flowers in this semi-arid landscape.
But the Patagonia community has not merely been interested in how much pollinator diversity has been recorded throughout this watershed. Its citizens and its nonprofit and for-profit organizations have joined forces to catalyze the Borderland Habitat Restoration Initiative, which aims to ensure a safer place for pollinators, their nectar sources, and, in the case of butterflies and moths, their larval host plants.
Please join us for a field course of Heritage Foods of the Borderlands!
Our journey begins in Tucson at the San Agustin Mission Garden, follows the Santa Cruz River south (upstream) toward the border visiting the San Xavier Coop Farm, Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company, and Avalon Gardens, up to Patagonia and the Native Seed/SEARCH Conservation Farm and ends at the Overland Trout Restaurant in Sonoita.
Heritage Agri-tourism as a Strategy for Promoting the Recovery of Heirloom Vegetables, Grains, Fruits and Rare Breeds
Heritage tourism offers a very real way to know the unique character and flavors of a place, and the mere act of tasting these foods is key to the revitalization of our local foodways culture.
Traditional foods hold more than the imprinting of the people who have made them over time; they are filled with the stories of generations, if not millennia of the bond between humans and the place itself.
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.
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, but they also some of the reasons for why that was true: drought had knocked back rangeland cattle numbers; the use of corn for subsidized ethanol production had made it scarce in feedlots; and most of the cattle produced in state is shipped off to be finished someplace else before being butchered, packaged and shipped back into the state at a relatively high cost.
Join Gary Nabhan and Paul Kaiser, award-winning farmer of Singing Frogs Farm as we install a pollinator-attracting hedgerow at Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage in Tumacácori, Arizona. We’ll start with a short presentation on reintroducing diversity to agriculture (bring a pen & paper) then plant the native hedgerow incorporating the building of a rainwater harvesting berm & swale (also bring gloves, a hat and a water bottle.)
Celebrate the onset of spring with Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative at the Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm in Patagonia. We’re kicking off a habitat restoration effort on the farm with native plants chosen to attract pollinators and insectivores. Help us plant the hedgerow starting at 9am (so bring clothes that can get dirty).