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Linking Arizona's Sense of Place to a Sense of Taste:
Marketing the Heritage Value of Arizona's Place-Based Foods

Arizona has more heritage food diversity and a longer history of farming than any other state, but it will take implementing new strategies to help rural and tribal communities more fully benefit from this legacy. That message is among the conclusions of a new book by Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments, introduced and endorsed by Governor Janet Napolitano: Linking Arizona’s Sense of Place to Its Sense of Taste: Marketing the Heritage Value of Arizona’s Place-Based Foods.


Seafood Traditions at Risk in North America:
A RAFT Redlist for Biological Recovery and Cultural Revitalization
When fish and shellfish populations are depleted or brought to the brink of extinction, this biological loss generates culinary and other cultural consequences that may be too deep to immediately fathom. The loss of marine biodiversity affects all of us, but especially the coastal peoples of North America—both native and immigrant—who have built their bodies, minds and communities from the flesh of fish, a fact their salty stories, songs and sacred ceremonies celebrate. (more...)


Water and Energy: Understanding the Link
Water and energy are rarely considered together although their infrastructures are inextricably linked. This is especially true in the West where water is used for cooling electrical generating plants and where electricity is used to move water over vast distances and high elevations. On the average in the eight Intermountain western states, fossil fuel generation of 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity requires one-half gallon of water. Dominated by coal and gas fired steam generating plants, electrical generation in the Intermountain West consumes over 650 million gallons of water per day, primarily for condensing steam that has been used to drive turbines (Last Straw, p. 1). This is enough water to meet the needs of four million people, about the population of the state of Colorado. (more...)


A New Plateau:
Sustaining the Lands and Peoples of Canyon Country

Edited by Peter Friederici and Rose Houk

This book profiles 38 grassroots projects on the Colorado Plateau, ranging from straw-bale houses to native crop farming, as part of a nationwide Renewing the Countryside campaign. The book, edited by acclaimed natural history writers Peter Friederici and Rose Houk, features reports from the field written by many other Flagstaff area residents, including Gary Nabhan, Roger Clark, Tony and Sue Norris, Susan Lamb Bean, and Charlie Laurel. Tony Marinella, Tom Bean and Tony Norris are among the featured photographers. The book is a publishing partnership among the Center for Sustainable Environments of Northern Arizona University, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Renewing the Countryside.

Renewing America's Food Traditions
Bringing cultural and culinary mainstays from the past into the new millennium

Edited by Gary Paul Nabhan and Ashley Rood

Have you ever eaten a meal rich with juices, flavors, and fragrances that have taken centuries to develop? A tender pear once planted in Thomas Jefferson’s orchards, an oily fish that built trade routes in the Northwest, a hot pepper that tells the story of Minorcan immigration to Florida—these are the stories of North American culinary traditions that lie hidden within our foods. And yet, many of these foods have been rapidly disappearing from our fields, fishing grounds and feasts. If these culinary delights persist only in our history books, we will have lost an important cultural legacy, and future generations will be deprived of the exquisite flavors found in these heritage foods.

Including the first ever Redlist of America’s Endangered Foods, this book will not only share the stories of these uniquely American foods, but also suggest how you can help save these food traditions. Here are twenty foods with twenty stories; stories of imperilment, as well as success stories of foods pulled from the brink of extinction. The Redlist is a working inventory of those plants and animals Alaska to Florida that demand our attention. Whether you live in New York City or Decorah, Iowa, you will be inspired to join the efforts to place these foods back on our tables.

Success Stories from NAU's ERDENE Initiatives 2003-2004

We are pleased to share with you with this year's report on several accomplishments during ERDENE’s third year – July 2003 through June 2004. As you review the pictures and brief project descriptions, note the great diversity of our environmental R&D efforts. Harnessing power from the sun and wind, assisting rural communities with long-term economic development opportunities, and restoring our forests to sustainable ecosystems all are important to Arizona’s economy and quality of life.

Read more about this report.

Woodlands in Crisis
A Legacy of Lost Biodiversity on the Colorado Plateau

Gary Paul Nabhan, Marcelle Coder, Susan J. Smith, Patricia West, and Zsuzsi I. Kovacs.

This book offers a primer for understanding how diverse land-use histories have impacted the health of pine-dominated ecosystems in the West and points to measures for better managing them in the future. It draws on a systematic review of the historic effects of land use and climate on ecosystem health, biodiversity, and non-timber forest products in four specific landscapes on the Colorado Plateau—the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, the Chuska Mountains in Arizona, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and the San Francisco Volcanic Shield in Arizona—all of which have long histories of human occupation and use of forest products.

Fresh, Organic and Native Foods of the Four Corners:
A Directory of Eco-Regional Food Sustainability

Nearly 200 local food growers, ranchers, and organizations from the Four Corners region are listed in Fresh, Organic and Native Foods of the Four Corners: A Directory of Eco-Regional Food Sustainability. The third edition, published in October 2003, is now available.


Download a comprehensive 2002-2003 list of CSE-related publications.

Bighorn Cave:
Test Excavations of a Stratified Dry Shelter, Bighorn Cave, Arizona

Bighorn Cave, located in the Black Mountains of west-central Arizona, is a large shelter with dry stratified deposits. In 1986, test excavations were undertaken to determine the archaeological significance of the site, the extent and nature of the cultural deposits, and their ages. The cave has evidence of roughly 3000 years of site occupancy, with many perishable artifacts such as sandals and split-twig figurines preserved because of the dry conditions. Looters had disturbed substantial portions of the cave and were threatening to destroy the site before the professional community knew of its existence. Since this testing, and directly as a result of its findings, the cave was successfully nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Safeguarding the Uniqueness
of the Colorado Plateau

An Ecoregional Assessment of Biocultural Diversity

This ecoregional assessment focuses on the unique biological and cultural resources of the Colorado Plateau in the southwestern United States, the threats to the region’s astounding levels of biocultural diversity, and the possible means to safeguard or restore them. The Colorado Plateau is among the five most biologically diverse regions of the 110 defined ecoregions in North America, and it is likely the most linguistically and agriculturally diverse region on the continent. This “state of the ecoregion” report therefore models an approach for assessing not merely biological and cultural diversity and the interactions between them, but the unique assets of an ecoregion as well. The most unique assets of this ecoregion’s biocultural diversity are its endemic species, native language isolates, distinctive agricultural and wildlands management practices, and incomparable traditional ecological knowledge. In particular, we argue that this ecoregion has sustained high levels of biological diversity and endemism relative to the rest of North America because of the heterogeneity of culturally based land uses, traditional practices of vegetation management, and informal protection of traditional cultural properties.

Read more and find out about ordering your copy!

Success Stories from
NAU's ERDENE Initiatives

We are pleased to share with you with this report on several accomplishments during ERDENE’s second year – July 2002 through June 2003. As you review the pictures and brief project descriptions, note the great diversity of our environmental R&D efforts. Harnessing power from the sun and wind, assisting rural communities with long-term economic development opportunities, and restoring our forests to sustainable ecosystems all are important to Arizona’s economy and quality of life.

Read more about this report.

Earth Notes on KNAU Arizona Public Radio

The idea of a radio segment about environmental issues circulated at Northern Arizona University for several years. It became a reality when the Center for Sustainable Environments’ Associate Director Karen English and her husband Rob Elliot, founder and owner of Arizona Raft Adventures, contributed vision, development and support to the idea.

EarthNotes is a locally produced radio “module” on the environment, with a new two-minute segment running six times each week. The program hit the airwaves in January 2001 on KNAU, the National Public Radio affiliate at NAU, broadcasting over a network of five stations across northern Arizona.

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, English always stressed citizen involvement, encouraging her constituents to take action on behalf of the health of the planet. When she began teaching at NAU, English learned from her students that they felt overwhelmed by environmental issues. Many wanted to help, but felt that the problems were too big for one person to make a difference.

EarthNotes is upbeat and informative. “Through tone, content, human interest, and solution-based outcomes, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment,” says English. “The goal of Earth Notes is to motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of their local environment.”

A committee made up of scientists, CSE staff, and representative from a number of regional environmental organizations meet regularly to suggest  story ideas. Area writers and naturalists write the scripts. Editors Nycklemoe and English select topics to be assigned to the writers. Scripts are reviewed for accuracy and style, and they are recorded by EarthNotes host/reporter Tristan Clum. “This series is really a formula for success because it is brought forth by people with such passion for the environment,” says Clum.

Initial funding of EarthNotes comes from diverse local sources including the Arizona Community Foundation, the Ecological Restoration Institute, the Grand Canyon Trust, Arizona Raft Adventures, and individual contributors. EarthNotes airs every Wednesday at 6:33 a.m., 8:33 a.m., 3:33 p.m. and 5:33 p.m. and Saturday at 8:04 a.m. and 5:04 p.m. KNAU broadcasts at 88.7 and 91.7 on the FM dial.

Scripts and further information on EarthNotes topics can be found on the Earth Notes web page.

Arizona's Food Security, Safety and Sustainability
Weighing the Risks of Bioterrorism, Contamination, Drought, and Farmland Loss to Urban Growth.
By Gary Paul Nabhan.
Read the entire report: Download the PDF


10 Reasons to Buy Local Foods

Produced for the Flagstaff Community Farmers Market

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Center for Sustainable Environments
at Northern Arizona University
PO Box 5765
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
Phone: (928) 523-0637
Fax (928) 523-8223
We are part of the
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Last updated January 16, 2007