Do you ever ponder, while enjoying a slice of toast from your favorite local artisan baker, slathered with delicious honey from a local apiary, that it’s only because of the emergence of flowering plants, known as angiosperms, some 130 million years ago—and the resulting coevolution of a vast number of pollinating insects and other organisms—that you’re able to enjoy such a treat, or, for that matter, actually be alive to have such a thought in the first place?
Our existence is dependent on the success of pollinators to fulfill their role as connectors between plants so the reproductive process works and seeds are generated. Think about this: domestic honey bees (Apis mellifera) shoulder the burden of pollinating more than 80 percent of all food crops in this country. Our survival as a species depends on the “intricate dance of codependency” between plants and their pollinators, in the words of Richard Brusca, executive director emeritus of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
That necessity of connection is a theme that resonates throughout this issue. If you’re a regular reader, you know we celebrate the notion of locality as a core part of our mission. That’s because we know that a strong and sustainable economy is based on the connections we make. In Megan Kimble’s story about Tucson Fire Department Station Number 4’s commitment to source their food locally, she quotes a study by the Knight Foundation that showed that connection to place was, in fact, the single leading indicator for a community’s prosperity. Find out how this firehouse did it and you might think about incremental transformations in your own household.
In 2012, Pima County Library’s Justine Hernandez, along with several local nonprofits, created the first network of 19 seed libraries. As Ken Lamberton reports, last year, more than 16,000 packets of seeds went out to local gardeners. Gardeners return seeds from harvested plants to help maintain a resilient and sustainable collection of plant varieties adapted to our hot and dry climate. And in the process, these seed libraries are building community and creating connections between Tucson gardeners.
Kati Standefer tells the story of one of Tucson’s Queen Bees: Jo Schneider—the co-founder of the iconic Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea and the force behind Downtown’s La Cocina—has nurtured scores of employees and created something truly special: trust, meaning, and connection for the large tribe of customers at both businesses. (A bit of trivia: Bentley’s was the very first advertiser in the Tucson Weekly, the newspaper I cofounded in 1984.)
We’re excited to welcome Kate Selby to our team as our Digital Content Manager. It’s her job as a writer, editor, and social media maven to maintain our connection with our community of readers and advertisers on a daily basis. For the past four years, she’s run her own graphic and web design business, and lives with her husband, Chad, and baby girl, Ada. Welcome, Kate!
Edible Baja Arizona is a free magazine, and it’s going to stay that way, but that bar code in the mockup above is the start of a new way to pick up the magazine. One of the most gratifying things about putting this magazine out every two months is how quickly it disappears, but that leaves the problem of where our 90,000 readers can find one of 26,000 copies even a few weeks after publication. Our amazing advertisers foot the bill for those 26,000 magazines, and they will continue to provide free copies—please patronize them! Additionally, you’ll be able to purchase a copy at all Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers locations in Tucson for $4.99, starting in July. You can also subscribe, and have it delivered to your door for $36 per year, plus we’ll send you a VIP Sustainer card, entitling you to discounts from our advertisers that will more than pay for your subscription. Get the details on our website. Thanks for supporting our mission.
We’ll see you around the table. ¡Salud!
—Douglas Biggers, editor and publisher