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Eight Important Articles About Tucson’s UNESCO Designation

Eight articles that answer all of your questions about
Tucson’s UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation.

December 13, 2016

Community Spotlight
    1. Tucson Designated UNESCO World City of Gastronomy” by Megan Kimble (Edible Baja Arizona)

      Photo by Jeff Smith.

      A great analysis of why Tucson was designated a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy and what this designation means both locally and internationally.

    2. Tucson Becomes an Unlikely Food Star” by Kim Severs (The New York Times)
      Minish Shah of Heirloom Farmers' Markets says their job is to create demand for local food by making it "fun, interesting, and accessible."

      Photo by Steven Meckler.

      While those familiar with Tucson’s diverse food history might not agree that its designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy is unlikely, this article published by The New York Times does a great job recognizing the food and people that make Tucson’s food culture so unique. As Edible Baja Arizona’s editor Megan Kimble says, “… once it (Tucson) gets in your soul, it’s in there.” Side note: The plethora of supportive comments are worth a read!

    3. Food, Community, Justice” by Gary Paul Nabhan (Edible Baja Arizona)
      roasted dried corn,, known as ga’iwsa, serve as a reminder of the region’s heritage.

      Photo by Jeff Smith.

      An incredibly thorough explanation of why Tucson is so deserving of its UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation (hint: it’s not just the restaurants), written by Gary Paul Nabhan, director of the Center for Regional Food Studies at the University of Arizona and co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH. Everybody should take the time to read this important piece.

    4. Tucson, Arizona, cultivates its foodie reputation – with a nod from Unesco” by Kate Eshelby (The Guardian)
      Located at the gateway to downtown, 5 Points draws a diverse crowd of artists, musicians, lawyers, writers—and bikers.

      Photo by Steven Meckler.

      While the preservation of heirloom seeds and use of indigenous crops was paramount in earning Tucson its title as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, farm-to-table restaurants, Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival, and a revitalized downtown also played a large part in garnering recognition.

    5. A World of Gastronomy” by Gary Paul Nabhan and Jonathan Mabry (Edible Baja Arizona)
      Representatives from 13 of the 18 designated UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy met in the Parma town hall to share experiences and best practices.

      Photo by Jonathan Mabry.

      Tucson’s designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy grants the city access to international exchanges through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. This article explains what representatives of  UNESCO World Cities of Gastronomy from Iran, South Korea, Brazil, Norway, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Thailand, the United States, and Italy bring to the table.

    6. What Makes Tucson Deserving of the Title of the United States’ First Capital of Gastronomy” by Jennifer Nalewicki (
      Phul Chuwan, an ethnic Nepali from Bhutan, harvests green tomatoes, the product of a nine-month experiment with the UA’s Controlled Environmental Agricultural Center.

      Photo by Steven Meckler.

      A great summary of why local organizations like the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Iskashitaa Refugee Network, Native Seeds/SEARCH, and Mission Garden Project helped earn Tucson its UNESCO World City of Gastronomy title.

    7. Exploring Tucson’s Gastronomy” by Suzanne Wright (Edible Baja Arizona)
      Yellow Flesh Watermelon from San Xavier Co-Op Farm.

      Photo by Benjamin Sisco.

      Want to experience Tucson’s UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation for yourself? This article makes some great suggestions on where you can go to experience the city’s food history, buy locally grown food, and pick up some heirloom seeds for your own garden.

    8. Intangible Heritage” by Jonathan Mabry (Edible Baja Arizona)

      Photo by Jeff Smith.

      Tucson’s historic preservation officer and city archaeologist explains the importance of Tucson’s UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation and explores an important question: “What’s next?”

Header image by Jeff Smith from the article, “Seeds of Infinite Time” in our Summer 2013 issue. 




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