I enjoyed Gary Nabhan’s Food From the Radical Center greatly, it is full of stories of the different ways in which communities have come together to preserve and restore habitats and species. It is a bringing together of many old and a few new ways to better live on and eat from the land. In all of this it is inspirational.
My favourite story.
Valer Clark brought in canteros from Guanajuato to build tens of thousands of check damns or trincheras in the West Turkey Creek watershed along the border — over 40,000 of them. Amazing. Over a relatively short period of time they captured 630 tons of moisture-holding soil and created a vibrant riparian habitat bursting with wildlife, including coatimundis which are my favourites. But that still isn’t quite the best part. Nabhan writes:
The only true gripe I’ve ever heard about the restoration work was not from her neighbors but from the US border Patrol. Its administrators pouted for a while about how much water Valer’s crew had brought back into the streams crossing the US-Mexico border. The steady flows were making it harder for their trucks to ford certain watercourses without getting stuck in the mud. The Border Patrol apparently liked it better when they could navigate dry, barren riverbeds that had not been restored! (51)
You can see why it might be my favourite story.
Nabhan, Gary Paul (2018) Food From the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities. Washington D.C.: Island Press.