(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘desert

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”*…

 

Deb Fallows, who (with her husband Jim) is driving the American Futures project (which readers can– and should– follow here), has just posted a fascinating piece on the way that the local food movement, often assumed to be a (privileged) feature of upscale urban life, is taking hold and changing prospects in the rural U.S.– specifically, in a remote desert town with very modest financial resources, and with a long history of the health problems that arise from poor nutrition.

Ajo, Arizona, the small desert community we have visited several times and written about for American Futures, offers something unique: a thriving local agriculture and food movement in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. For starters, conditions are about as challenging as you can imagine: desert temperatures with freezes in the winter and 110 degrees in the summer; poor soil with low organic and microbial content, high alkalinity and caliche (a natural cement); and four inches of rainfall annually, often arriving in downpours.

Undeterred, the active Ajo community pooled their energy and opportunities to build an intricate, cooperative network around food. Cooperating together in this town of only a few thousand people are the school, the clinic, local gardeners, the farmers’ market, local restaurants, the town’s grocery store, student interns, adult volunteers, the food bank, the CSA, and the anchor of the Sonoran Desert Conference Center, with its spaces for gardens, a chicken coop, celebratory events, teaching and demonstration space, and a newly-finished commercial kitchen…

Read the full story– important and heartening– at “Farming in the Desert.”

* Masanobu Fukuoka

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As we tend our gardens, we might send cultivating birthday greetings to Peter Henderson; he was born on this date in 1822.  An immigrant from Scotland, he settled in New Jersey, where he became a market gardener, florist, seedsman, and prolific author, publishing best-selling books like Gardening for Profit and Practical Floriculture.  The Henderson Seed Co., which he founded in 1847, operated until 1953… for all of which he is widely known as “the Father of America Horticulture.”

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Written by LW

June 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The solar system is off center and consequently man is too”*…

 

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On a dry lake bed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe…

* Harlow Shapley, Through Rugged Ways to the Stars

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As we reach for the stars, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that NASA launched the space shuttle Discovery, marking America’s resumption of manned space flight following the 1986 Challenger disaster.  It was the first of Discovery‘s two “Return To Flight” assignments; it flew the “twin” missions in 2005 and 2006 that followed the Columbia disaster in 2003.

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Written by LW

September 29, 2015 at 1:01 am

“A desert is a place without expectation”*…

 

Ed Freeman is a refuge from rock (a road manager on the last Beatle’s tour, a session guitarist, arranger, and producer, perhaps most prominently, of Don MacLean’s “American Pie”) who gave it up for a camera.  Among his many continuing photographic projects is a series of pictures captured as he wandered through the small inland towns and deserts of Southern California.

See more of this series (many of which are collected into Freeman’s book, Desert Reality) here.

[TotH to This Isn’t Happiness]

* Nadine Gordimer

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As we keep an eye out for Ozimandias, we might recall that it was on this date in 1987 that a 16 year-old singer named Tiffany Darwish, who had a major label debut album languishing in record store bins across the nation, ignited her career by playing a concert at the Paramus Park Mall in Paramus, NJ.  In a time well before Britney and Hannah, Tiffany’s aim was to supplant Debbie Gibson at the top of the pop heap; but conventional promotion just wasn’t doing it.  With Tiffany’s debut album going nowhere on radio or in stores, MCA Records and Tiffany’s personal manager signed on to a radical proposal: having Tiffany join the “Beautiful You: Celebrating the Good Life Shopping Mall Tour ’87″—the kind of promotional tour of American shopping malls then associated only with consumer products like canned soup and hair coloring…  The Paramus gig was so successful that Tiffany went on to play malls all across America– and her album went quadruple-platinum.

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Written by LW

June 23, 2014 at 1:01 am

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