With future generations in mind, may my family and friends never leave the land we steward poorer, nor its water scarcer than conditions were before we acquired responsibility for their care.
May we keep land meant to be farmed from being de-veloped, and re-envelope it with people dedicated to keep its inherent productivity in tact into perpetuity.
The oases of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico, harbor farming systems with crops first introduced by Jesuit missionaries during their political, economic, and ecclesiastical dominance from 1697–1768. The oases represent geographies of historic dissemination and hold assemblages of heirloom perennial crop species with origins in six of seven continents.
The first Jesuit missionaries to the peninsula documented their agricultural introductions in detail, and these historic documents along with records from subsequent Franciscan and Dominican missionaries provide a benchmark by which to measure the persistence and/or loss of perennial crop species.
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.
The premise of this initiative is to demonstrate that food and fiber can be viably farmed across North America without the inappropriate use of glyphosate herbicides decimating milkweeds on farms and triggering further declines in monarch butterfly populations.
We wish to positively promote best practices already being used by certain farmers to keep milkweeds and monarchs healthy in our farm-capes.