Editor’s Note: This semester, we are lucky to have a massively talented group of student interns on our staff. Over the next few days, we’ll be running introductory pieces written by each of the four students who help make the Edible Baja Arizona blog what it is – and to those interns, because I can’t say it enough: THANK YOU.
I have gotten my hands dirty pulling weeds from a fennel patch in blistering heat and humidity. I have spent tiring days teaching rambunctious elementary schoolers the art of remediating a compost pile. I have worked on a vineyard trimming vines until my back ached and my hands were sore, then turned in to the farmhouse for a glass of pinot noir and the best sleep I’ve ever had below 40 degrees. And yet, I love food.
My name is Rachel Wehr and I am a 21 year-old studying Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. I am a localist, foodie, scientist, vegetarian, artist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. I value what good food means to good people. While studying science, I felt that there was something lost, some human component of my life missing. I found my literary voice fading among lab reports and science journal articles. So here I am, back to reclaim it!
I am originally from eastern Pennsylvania, and I have lived in Tucson as a university student for about three years. Working on a small farm in Pennsylvania has helped me appreciate where food comes from and how many resources are necessary to help that juicy Portobello sandwich appear on your plate. I treasure every soyrizo burrito I eat and every mesquite flour crust apple pie I bake, but nothing makes me beam more than growing the food I eat. Farming has also helped me see how food waste impacts everything from the field to the plate. Every wrinkled snap pea pod left on the vine and kale rib stripped in the kitchen could mean a tasty bite if well-prepared. For that reason, I take a resourceful approach to food, using each part of a vegetable possible and composting the remains. (Full disclosure: Do not eat everything that was once food. You will get sick.)
It is my combined interest in food justice, solving hunger, and preparing delicious food that fuels me to work in this industry. Here at Edible Baja Arizona, I look forward to getting the keyboard clacking and regaining my literary voice. I am especially grateful to be living in the first city in the U.S. declared as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy. I see many possibilities for Southern Arizona in growing a just food system and am eager to dig into it all, this time as a scientist and a journalist. Even if it means sampling all of the vegetarian burritos in a 100 mile radius.