posted Friday, January 16, 2009        

JANUARY Organizing Questions & Notes:

* How do we coordinate cooperation and support between people and groups involved in local small scale food production?
* Is it possible to have rainwater harvesting on every home in Tucson? Are community gardens in the future?
* How can we get fast food places to use recyclable containers?
What plants make sense for us to grow (on a large scale) to reduce trucking in groceries from great distances?
* I see a lack of recycling and a lack of composting.
* What thoughts and questions come up with the following question: “Who is your farmer?”
* How can food production address urban poverty, local resource replenishment and civic engagement?

* See what needs to be done: Education about food choices since many scientists/experts believe the single most impactful action an individual can take to mitigate climate change and halt global warming is a vegetarian diet and that animal agriculture is the largest contributor of (to) global warming and climate change. How do we educate the public on a massive scale of this info since it seems most people are not aware of this.

Who should be involved in the sustainability Discussion?
Community Gardens
City of Tucson
Available spaces to allocate
School Gardens, Church
Existing Gardens
Example Sonoran Kitchen Gardens

Discovery needed on existing organizations
Local Food Production
Green Jobs
Research Gardens elsewhere as models
Pea Patch City Wide
City Mercado
Centralize Listing of Local Produce
Coalition of Food Growers

Other Thoughts
Ecology of food to create sustainable health
How to grow food
Educate Public on food choices
Vote with our choices
Connecting children with Food Produciton
Law that prevents children from receiving garden produce to eat at school.
Resources – animal agriculture
Veg/Meat – common threads to unite groups
Recyclable containers – Education
Status of this issue – how many participating?
Contact neighborhood organizations; ie 4th Ave
What plants should we grow to discourage trucking of produce?

FEBRUARY General Meeting — Who else needs to be involved/invited?

Who is not here?
CSAs Phillipe
Native Seeds
Brad Lancaster
Desert harvesters
Community Food Bank Varga garland
Tucson originals:
TUSD  School Gradens
Feast, Pastische, Local Harvest

Environmental mapping: toxic places
Community Gardens
Southside gardening empowerment group
GMO’s—eliminate, desirable?
Bill of rights for pure food
Eliminating Transfats
Sustainable Diet/City Diet/ artificial food?
Chlorine in water/safe?

February Meeting at Coffee Exchange

Summary of meeting:
* Plan for next meeting discussed: Tentative agreement was to try to move meetings to the 3rd Thursday of the month, around 5:30-7:30 PM at the Woods Library (1st and Prince)
Barry and Judith will coordinate on arrangements and surveying all members who were not present to ensure that works for the majority, as well as that the space is available.

* We discussed the goals of our group.. seems to be 3-fold:
1) Achieve sketch/outline for Sustainable Tucson’s Earth Day deadline for a presentation (which Barry sent more info about earlier)…. using the framing questions provided so far, as well as what further clarification comes from the next General Meeting. 2) Plan to flesh out more details over the next year through Sustainable Tucson’s more detailed process (more info to come).
3) Identify any actions or projects we’re interested in pursuing, and how to best do so (individually and/or collectively).
(Many are hinted at in items in the attached sketch)

* We started solidifying our sketch (goal 1) by answering “What needs to be done to create a food-Sustainable Tucson?” (ie: what if the trucks were to stop rolling in? Or if we expect they will in the next 10 years?)
- Carla (I) took down all ideas discussed on laptop notes — that’s what the below comment on Feb. 21 is.
- Many details began to be mentioned that would further each of these ideas/items beyond what could be taken down for the outline… , like lists of books, organizations, people to connect with, etc… those are referred to as future action items needed … like resource mapping, community networking that we will plan for at next meetings, or other resource creation (like a bibliogroaphy of recommended reading to post online) … individuals can work on these as time allows, in the meantime.

As you think of more, keep notes and either email them, or bring them to the next meeting and we can work them in.

ALSO See “Food & Agrigculture” resources under “Topics in Focus” in top navigation

6 comments about “Food” ...


Sustainable Tucson Food Group
will meet on Saturday, January 24
at 2:00 PM
in the Casbah Tea House,
628 N. 4th Ave.

Minimum Purchase: a cup of tea.
The full menu is available.
Wi-Fi available

Is this acceptable to everyone? Please reply, whether this is OK for you or not. I need to let the Casbah know how large the group is going to be. Please reply from your usual E-mail so I can get your address.

Barry Andersen



Food Group Meeting on Saturday 24 Jan
There were four of us at the meeting’ Janice Carr, Ron Proctor, Ellie Daucher, and me. Our discussion was mostly about the future of the group, what the goals might be (no conclusions were reached) and the immediate next steps. At the meeting of the Sustainable Tucson general group on Feb 10, the various focus groups will each meet separately. At that time, we will discuss when and where our food group will meet again.

“All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.”


The Local Harvest Marketplace, 3954 E. Speedway held a meeting last night to try to save the business by engaging local people in the process. It struck me that, by doing so, people were trying to gain control over their food supply in a significant way. Perhaps others in the Food group will want to get involved, or discuss this action….


Notes from the 2/10/2009 Sustainable Tucson Food Group session at the Joel D. Valdez Library.


1. Barry Andersen
2. Judith Mettson
3. Carla
4. Barbara Eiswerth
5. Carol Bradsen
6. Adam Lehrman
7. Ryan Andersen
8. Larry Lockhart
9. Rich Lundegren
10. Gloria Peterson
11. Cindy Brewer
12. Tim White
13. Victoria White
14. Woman from New York
15. Lisa from San Francisco

Discussed was:

1. Potential meeting place and date for an additional bi-monthly meeting at Casbah Tea House, or if not available, Time Market. The third Saturday of the month was chosen (next meeting: 2/21).

2. Local farm tours/general outings

3. A list of organizations that can be approached for insight and education.

4. Online mapping at and a potential 30 min. workshop detailing it at the 2/21 meeting.

5. A mentoring program.

6. An end result of something to present to government planners that can lead to a more sustainable Tucson


Sustainable Tucson Food Group
will meet on Saturday, February 21
from 1 PM to 3 PM
in the Casbah Tea House,
628 N. 4th Ave.

Minimum Purchase: a cup of tea.
The full menu is available.
Wi-Fi available

Barry Andersen


SKETCH SO FAR… from meeting Feb. 21 at Coffee Exchange.

Q. What needs to be done to create a food sustainable Tucson?

#) Raise mass awareness that sustainability of food in the region IS an issue that needs addressing…. AND the Benefits of addressing it NOW.
#) Keep focus on Productive awareness raising rather than scare-tactic awareness raising.

* How:
— Outreach & education to people that aren’t even concerned right now.
— Viral video-spreading …
..You Tube power of community.. how cuba survived peak oil.
.. The real dirt on farmer john.
— more…

* Benefits of working toward regional food Sustainability
Such as:
— Stimulating local Economy (to list)
. Creates more reliable local jobs… like…
— Security/insurance against potential national food/transportation problems.
— Improved Health (to list)
. Removing “artificial” foods from the diets..
— Improved Community (cultural) benefits (to list)

#) For those who are aware (or become aware), resources need to be organized so everyone can know where they can help / what’s available to use or take action on.
— Online Map of existing Resources
— Recommended reading of all kinds (list of Books written on related issues)
.. Kevin Dahl from the desert

#) What have other cities done that is successful, and how can we apply them to our region?
— Puget consumer’s coop?
(list more specific cities and info resources)


#) What is the natural carrying capacity of the region – water vs max yield vs population?

#) Water-related issues, options, and benefits
— Food production relying only on regional water
– RainWater harvesting (personal and commercial property).
– GreyWater application (personal and commercial systems)
– Rainfall utilization to direct to aquifer recharge (regional/governmental)
– Grey or Blackwater treatment and application (regional/governmental)
— Explore hydroponic efficiency in the desert?
— Distilling water for potability? (enter energy issue… gets into water focus area, away from food)

#) Edible cityscaping / landscaping that benefits from with water harvesting and reclaimed city water.
Such as:
– Food bearing, low-wateruse trees in easements, parks etc.
– Organized harvesting of these foods (schools, businesses, comminity neighborhood groups, etc).

#) Existing BUSINESSES that are in-sync with regional sustainability.
Such as:
— Existing local-food producers (identify/map .. list may exist with food co-op)
— Existing local-food distributers & Sellers (list/map)
— Restaurants who use local food… (list/map – find out why or why not, to find out how to better encourage)
.. El conquistador
.. Janos
.. Blue Willow

#) Existing Organizations and community that are in-sync with regional sustainability.
— Backyard food-gardeners
— Farmers markets
— School kitchen gardens
— Community gardens that include food-growing
.. identifying and mapping all existing community gardens for greater public awareness.

#) Making use of existing desert wild-food resources, and varieties of plantables that do well in the region for low-water use, taste, nutrition and yield.
— Tohono Odham & other natives and locals.
— Desert harvesters, Native seed search, etc.
— Mrs. English’s book

For things like:
– Harvesting olives for olive oil
– Mesquite bean flour

#) Creation of new businesses, organizations, or other arrangements to further ends:
– Tucson food traders… gardeners and farmers barter with eachother.
(carolyn bradson?)
– Central Mercado (combination of farmers market and trading?)

#) Using Open land within the city for further community food production, in sustainable way
– Identify/map sites
– Usage regulations for the practice to enhance land’s value and balance… without stripping it… work within existing landscape.
– Coordinate with regional existing information about the best land/soil zones, permaculture practices, etc.

Q. Who needs to be involved in the discussion, and solutions?
- Water group
- CAP project
- Farms
- existing gated/development “communities” to turn them into real communities.

Q. What does sustainable food mean?

#) Local production for what’s needed to sustain basic community’s food needs – meaning a 250 mile radius? (research/resouce and why)

#) Low-impact or positive-impact (hence sustainable, rather than deteriorating) practices.

FURTHER NOTES (to be folded into above as appropriate)

# Decreasing or eliminating dependance on long-distance transport of food.
This may be achived by such things as:
> Food-related businesses using local farmers (incentives for doing so … scaled by percentage of local vs transported food)
> Promoting “Locally grown food served here” as a value for businessses to brag about.
> Educating adults and children on the benefits of local food

– Maximizing water efficiency of local food production.
> water harvesting and greywater use training/incentives for farms and gardeners alike

# Local wise-use AND balance maintenance of our resources.
– Ensuring sustainable practices are used for all agricultural lands.
* Some decisions should be made large scale / top-down based on statistics from impact studies, and permaculture sciences.
* Some will require bottom-up approach, like community education to increase awareness for better eating-habits and values, that in-turn would shift the nature of food demand, and therefore the industry would be forced to respond.
Points of concern may include:
> Organic practices that build soil through proper planting cycles, compost and mulching, rather than deplete soils through chemical fertelizing.
> Meat industry practices — need attention. Goes hand-in hand with education of community on impact-values to their health, as well as to the regions water use, polution, etc.

– Incentives for more efficient operations at every level.

– Encouraging “Independence Gardens” for all families, schools, prisons, etc.
> Home gardening also has the benefit of creating more vegetable-based diets in more people, which serves some of the above.

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