Tucson Local Food News
Logo Banner
                                                                       Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter

September 20, 2012  



It was a happening...defined only as it unwound in the words, the stories, the fresh ideas, the actions and interactions of the moment. It may have been the beginning of a new tradition.


The Border Food Summit began with local food experiences and education. Participants elected to follow one leader or another into the local food scenes of southern Arizona - the farms, the farmers market, the village farm, the food cooperative, the community garden, and the new food traditions of the barrio; a walk in the desert, in the orchard of the ancient fruit trees, and the land of the Tohono O'odham cooperatively farmed as it has been in one way or another for 4,000 years; an ecovillage, a country store, the pollinator garden, permaculture learning site, seed conservation farm, and the experience of grapes becoming wine for celebrations of the future.

  BFS - Esplendor Portico     

Border Food Summit: An experience in time and place


BFS Gary Nabhan
Gary Nabhan

The 10th Annual Southwest Marketing Network Conference - the Border Food Summit convened in Rio Rico, Arizona, early on Monday, September 17 at the Esplendor Resort.  In the heart of the borderlands.  Six miles north of the line that separates two countries. 


For two days, a gathering of more than 200 people of all ages, diverse backgrounds and cultural traditions was the scene for the experience of learning from one another - at times, simple. At times, powerful. Presentations and conversations focused uniquely on the challenges, explorations and collaborations surrounding the topic of food.


The reason for the gathering became ever more clear as the scenes and voices of the region reminded participants of the significant facts of the borderlands. In this scene, a walkable distance from one of the largest ports of entry in the world, the reality of the country-to-country relationship was presented. Sixty percent of the food consumed in the United States is grown in Mexico. Mexican households live on income that is 17 percent of the average household income in the United States of America.


Keynote Speaker for the Border Food Summit, Ricardo Salvador, Director of Food and Agriculture at the Union  of Concerned Scientists, led Summit

BFS Ricardo Salvador
Ricardo Salvador

participants through the U.S. system of food production and consumption.  The American "food chain", linked by processors, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers before arriving on the plate of the eaters.  "It has not always been that way," he added.  "In many parts of the world, it is not the reality."  Instead, the eaters spend large amounts of labor on a daily basis for the sole purpose of feeding themselves. 

BFS Youth Ambassadors at Keynote
Youth Ambassadors

The challenge, according to Salvador, is to answer this: can this food system lose parts of the chain and still work? Then answering the question, he outlined the possibility of a network of networks for food, somewhat like the structure of the Internet.   The transfer of knowledge, he noted, must occur from the more experienced to the less experienced. 



 "...we need more real farmers..."

The naysayers will yell, 'this mode of farming will not produce enough corn and soy to feed our junk food and cheeseburger habit,' and that's exactly the point. It would produce enough food so that we can all eat well. It'd produce enough food so we can slow the hysteria about our inability to feed the expected 9 billion earthlings.

                                                            Mark Bittman


 BFS Tepary Beans        BFS Heritage Corn       Chiapas 

Local Food Producers in the News 


Double Check Ranch in AZ Republic

Double Check Ranch, a 17-year multi-generational grassfed beef operation of the Schwennesen family, was featured recently on Page One of The Arizona Republic on September 5


Reporter Shaun McKinnon traveled to the ranch and abbatoir in Winkelman to research the story. Under the headline, "Arizona rancher finds old ways are new again," we hear the story of bringing the traditions of ranching back to the market again for customers in search of authentic local food. You'll find the younger generations - Paul, Sarah and their three children - at farmers markets in both Phoenix and Tucson. 


A selection of Double Check photos by Arizona Republic photographer Pat Shannahan can be found here.


Don baking Barrio Bread

Barrio Bread  - Tucson's worst kept bakery secret was brought to light on September 16 in Tucson's Arizona Daily Star by reporter Kristen Cook, headlined "Popular baker finds low volume more to his liking."


Baker Don Guerra has baked and built Barrio Bread at a pace that blends with the other interests and obligations of his life.  It has been serving a coterie of loyal customers and fans since 2009 - his third bakery operation. Don considers his business to be a community supported bakery (think CSA, as in community supported agriculture).   Most customers order in advance and show up promptly to claim their bread, often while it is still warm. 




Value of Consumer Food in the U.S.         $1.3 Trillion

Farm Share                                               19 percent

Food as Share of Household Income     Less than 10%


Organic Research: Is Nutrition the Point? 

 The Stanford study made a big deal about nutrients,

but nutrients are not the point.      

Marion Nestle


The research on organics by Stanford University, noted in the last issue of Tucson Local Food News, has caused a significant rumble throughout the community of thoughtful food-focused people. Here is a link to a related discussion in the NY Times, following release of the study's findings. 


The Stanford study* makes some assumptions about why customers may choose to eat organic. Do you know where your food was grown and by whom? Do you prefer to eat organically grown food?  What does organic mean to you? The conclusion of this study is: organic foods are no more nutritious than the conventional alternatives.  Almost certainly, that was not the final word, as the Times contributors have revealed.


* The research,"Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review" is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine issue of 4 September 2012.

A very special note of thanks to Natalie Morris, of Good Food Allies, and
Nick Henry, of the Community Food Resource Center
for sharing their photography from the Border Food Summit conference.   

BFS Man in the Field   BFS Wine Down at NS/S         

The primary focus of Local Food Concepts is

to lead the exchange of information related to

local food - from seeds to sustainability - within the

community of Tucson and southern Arizona.

We seek to lead the education and enlightenment of the broad community on current topics and concepts of food localization toward a time when the norm is defined by the community producing the food it consumes.


Thank you for your continued support!

Judith sig  

Local Food Concepts LLC

Judith Waser Mattson


303.748.3707 (Cell)

  Don't forget to LIKE us on Facebook...  

In This Issue
Border Food Summit
Local Producers in the news
Stanford Study Follow-up
Local Food Events

 Fiore di Capra 

  Visit Our Sponsor

Donna Nordin Cooks 

Visit Our Sponsor

Local First Arizona 1  
Check the
Tucson Local Food News
page on our emerging
www.LocalFoodConcepts.com for more coverage from the Border Food Summit on
these and other organizations and ideas. 
While you're there, leave a comment in the Guestbook.
Ajo Regional Food Partnership
BFS - Breakout Session - NH
BFS - Youth Ambassadors - NH 
BFS - National Young Farmers Coalition 



 Send your   

event information to  

Tucson Local Food News. Events are published for the two weeks following the date of the current issue. Selection of items

is at the discretion

of TLFN.