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 decided that he wanted to try to heal the landscape.
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 restoration in the U.S./Mexico borderlands.
The workshop featured practical teachings from Sam Earnshaw of Community Alliance of Family Farmers, who has helped plant or restore over 300 miles of pollinator-attracting hedgerows in Western states.
Did you know that Tucson and its Pima County suburbs have 12 times the number of mobile food services per capita than New York City? The county reports some 941 mobile food businesses registered for business, including 235 full service food carts, 45 “dogero” push carts, and 85 other mobile vendors in Tucson alone.
Pima County appears to have tied with Los Angeles County in California for having the highest ratio of mobile street food businesses to people of any areas in the United States, with roughly one vehicle offering food on the fly for every 1,000 residents.
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.
Native Seeds/SEARCH, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Hayden Flour Mills, Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, Cultivate Santa Cruz, Tubac Historical Society, Amado Farms Joint Venture, and Avalon Organic Gardens and EcoVillage will work…