Antidotes to Despair


January 5, 2017

EditorialIssue 22: January/February 2017

When we launched this magazine in June of 2013, we promised you that we would celebrate the food cultures of Tucson and the borderlands. We called our magazine Edible Baja Arizona because we believed that the borderlands—the region we call Baja Arizona—was a place unlike anywhere else in the world, a place we wanted to celebrate, explore, and protect.

We are doubling down on that commitment.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan wrote: “‘Eating is an agricultural act,’ as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world—and what is to become of it.”


Regular readers of this magazine know that we agree with Pollan and others that the food we consume every day is inextricably linked to a complex web of economic and political realities. This awareness demands our attention if we care about economic justice, environmental quality, and the essential diversity that keeps both societies and bioregions healthy. We explore those critical linkages in many of the stories we publish, and that sensibility will continue to inform the journalism in Edible Baja Arizona.

In that context, the events that have unfolded following the presidential election have us deeply concerned. As we go to press, the president-elect has threatened the cultural diversity that exemplifies the borderlands and enriches our community’s way of life; his rhetoric and promised actions seek to diminish the vibrant pulse that beats through this region, resonating back and forth across a border, deep in our soil, and wide across our water. That sentiment, which comes from a place of fear and scarcity, is one that we reject.

We would humbly suggest that there are concrete and positive steps we can take right here in Baja Arizona to help build a stronger, more sustainable, more just and inclusive food system that benefits us all. Doing everything in our power as conscious consumers to think local, support local, eat local, and spend local strengthens our community. Taken together, the accumulation of our daily actions will be a positive and counterbalancing force to what may emanate from Washington, D.C. during a period that may challenge our conceptions of what community—and its importance—really means.

Consider each of these suggestions a potential act of regeneration, an antidote to despair. We’re digging in, here in Baja Arizona. Let’s get to work. ✜

Do one of these things today. Do three this week. Do nine this month.

  • Allocate a set amount from your weekly food budget to spend at a farmers market. (See our list of farmers markets here). Get to know the people growing and selling your food.
  • Join a Community Supported Agriculture program. CSAs put money directly into the pockets of our local farmers. Divest from the global economy, and invest locally.
  • Support the education and training of young people who want to become farmers, gleaners, chefs, or school cooks and teachers.
  • Plant a garden or edible landscape with deep-rooted perennials. Save food scraps and create a compost pile. Plant flowers for pollinators. Sequester rather than squander carbon.
  • Join or support local organizations that are working to improve food security, access, and justice; to protect the biodiversity, watersheds, and wild ecosystems of Baja Arizona; and to advocate for immigrant and worker rights.
  • Buy value-added Arizona-made products, from wines to moles, salsas to paletas, flours to legumes, that create jobs in our community for those who need them most. Support local and independent businesses whenever you can.
  • Join the YWCA’s We Stand Together network to stand against hate crimes and to protect immigrants as well as natives and their sacred lands.
  • Show up at local political meetings and ask to speak about issues you care about. Find the Tucson City Council schedule online, as well as the schedule for the Pima County Board of Supervisors and Tucson Unified School District school board.
  • Get outside and connect with the wilds. Notice the beauty of the borderlands, of its food, culture, geography, language, music, and people. Express that beauty to those who cannot experience it directly. We live in a magical place. Protect it.
  • Read and support quality local journalism. Subscribe to this magazine.
  • Eat in community—at a table where all are welcome.
  • “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” -Gary Snyder

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