On a bright, sunny day, Tucson took an important step toward Resilience

On a bright but windy day, 46 people from all over Tucson met to share delicious local food, share ideas, and take the next step to make Tucson more food resilient.

If you missed it, don’t worry. You’ll get other chances. There will be more.

After a tour of the garden of our host, Gary Vender, three members of the Food Resilience Project’s Champions Network outlined the objectives of the Food Resilience Project.

Paula Schlusberg gave a brief overview of the program and why it is important. Because companies around the world have adopted a “Just-In-Time” inventory system, Tucson has only a few days of food in all our stores. But we know that we can produce a lot more local food and build a strong community in the process. Food resilience can also allow us to tackle other problems, like aging in place and climate readiness.

Gary Vender gave a brief overview of how easy it is to grow lots of food in Tucson.

In a few hundred square feet of garden he grows hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and lettuce. Not only does he grow enough for his own family, but he shares it with many neighbors and provides lots of fresh food to the Community Food Bank. And the water bills are only $30-$40 per month.

Donya Meggs related her path to creating the first Neighborhood Resilience Team.

Even though she didn’t feel she had the time, her neighbors were able to help her dig and water her initial garden. Now that 5×5 garden is providing lots of vegetables and which she is now able to share. Their NRT started with a dozen people, and now they are planning a potluck, and garden exchange. And sharing the load makes it possible, even with her busy schedule.

After these initial presentations, and over the delicious food that people brought to share, there was a lively discussion of the many ways that we could work together to make Tucson more Food Resilient. The answers ranged from

  • * Seting up a garden exchange to share extra produce from neighborhood gardens, to
  • * Doing an inventory of food trees in the neighborhood, to
  • * Organizing a tour of some gardens in your neighborhood.

A more complete list can be found here.

The next step will be to find new Resilience Champions who want to take on the task of creating their own Neighborhood Resilience Teams. And to continue to develop the resources needed to help them succeed.

If you want to join us, our next meeting will be during the week of April 10-16. Contact Tres English <tres@feedingtucson.org> to get the details.

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