Awards Database

Awards Database

A key goal of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice is to forge stronger relationships between expertise and resources within Southwestern communities and those at the University of Arizona (UA) and encourage outstanding scholarship at the nexus of environment and social justice.

The Awards Database shared here offers a comprehensive record of awards the Haury Program has made to advance those collaborations and to recognize outstanding UA faculty and visiting associates.

Suggested Keywords: Seed Grant, Challenge Grant, Faculty Fellow, Visiting Associate, YWCA, UA, Sociology

A Borderlands Observatory: Understanding and Communicating the Effects of Border Enforcement and Policy on Sonoran Desert Communities

Lead: Jeffrey Banister, UArizona The Southwest Center, and Vicki Gaubeca, Southern Border Communities Coalition
Partners: David Seibert, Borderlands Restoration Network; Robin Reineke, UArizona Southwest Center; Natalia Mendoza Rockwell, Fordham University; Carolyn O'Meara, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Chris Lukinbeal, UArizona School of Geography and Development

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $5,850
  • Type: Partnering
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Since at least the mid-1990s, United States immigration policies have harshly affected people and places across the Sonoran Desert border region. In an attempt to ‘secure’ the border, these policies have militarized and effectively ‘weaponized’ the desert landscape, using infrastructure and enforcement to funnel migration into the hottest, driest, and most sparsely populated zones. The hoped-for result is that the ruggedness, isolation, and extreme heat would deter migrants from attempting to cross. Instead, the border has become a collective site of humanitarian and ecological crisis.

Social justice and environmental groups in the region have responded with great courage and creativity, but their voices are so often lost in the political fray and drowned out by the stridency of popular media. In particular, they face two central challenges: 1) their work remains largely isolated -- that is, these groups are, with some important exceptions, not in dialogue with one another; and 2) their unique data are rarely available to a broader public, let alone shared among different non-profit groups to increase effective collaboration. This partnership collaboration aims to build a team that works for an ethical and equitable program of collaborative inquiry among academic, humanitarian, and environmental communities. We hope to break down the silos of border research and nurture the production of much-needed local knowledge on the region. Our overarching reason for this partnership, therefore, is to begin developing a framework for collaboration between researchers and community partners to protect, extend, and communicate the innovative local ways that human and non-human communities have resisted, restored, and flourished in the context of border militarization.

The primary project partners (co-leads) -- UA Southwest Center, Southern Border Communities Coalition, and Borderlands Restoration Network -- will work toward a common language and collective goals for sharing data and local knowledge on the impacts of border militarization in the Sonoran Desert region. Such a partnership brings together a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives: humanistic, environmental, and social.

 

 

Building a Network that Incubates Worker-owned Cooperatives for a Regenerative Society

Lead: Yue "Max" Li, UArizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Raye Winch, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Partners: Shefali Milczarek-Desai, UArizona Law, and The Tucson Cooperative Network [The Community Food Bank of Arizona, Tucson Rainwater Harvesting Co-op, Cooperative Impulso, Flowers and Bullets, BICAS, Local First Arizona, Technicians for Sustainability]

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $5,608
  • Type: Partnering
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

This partnership aims to strengthen the Tucson Cooperative Network (TCN). The TCN promotes and supports the creation of worker-owned cooperatives, growing a community with fair wages, equal rights, equity and mutual collaboration. We focus on regenerative businesses such as rainwater harvesting, habitat restoration, sustainable food production, and individual capacity building centered on indigenous values that respect all beings. These businesses regenerate natural, social and cultural capital and build resilience to climate change. We work with all people without discrimination and prioritize immigrants, women, LGBTQ+, people who are low-income, and people of color. By supporting these marginalized populations to become business owners, we restore socioeconomic equality to achieve social justice.

Our network organizations (see Question 3) focus on supporting local/regional communities to achieve environmental sustainability and environmental justice. By developing a viable business model for these activities, we create a more financially sustainable path for these critical activities. We envision the Southwest in the next 25 years prospers from businesses centered on regenerating instead of depleting natural, social and cultural capitals. This region also will support a strong ecosystem of democratically governed cooperative businesses. In this model, market capital flows to the population in need and the environment in need to restore ecological balance, enhance social collaboration, and strengthen democracy and economic equality. We take a network approach, focus on key players in our regional network, train them to become both cooperatives and cooperative promoters. Our approach is analogous to acupuncture, activating and strengthening critical nodal points in a network to achieve whole-system effects. This network approach not just moves the needle, but creates a socioeconomic movement that unites our society and restores natural balance.

Building environmental and climate education equity and action in K-6 education

Lead: Rebecca Lipson, Assistant Director of Education for UA Science: Sky School, within Steward Observatory, and Janna Acevedo, TUSD Magnet School Program
Partners: Kerry Schwartz, Arizona Project WET, and Benjamin Blonder, UArizona Science Coordinator Sky School Steward Observatory

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $79,104
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

As communities develop climate response plans to mitigate the hardships a changing climate brings, the gap between the haves and have-nots becomes apparent. This is seen even in Tucson, the third-fastest-warming city in the U.S., where inequity results in significantly less tree shade in the southern parts of the city compared to the north. Developing the next generation of environmental leaders to address these challenges locally requires the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds. However, many young people do not gain exposure to environmental science and climate change topics, nor do they build connections to their local environments, in part because their teachers are not well versed in these topics.

This project brings together Sky School and Project WET with the Tucson Unified School District. We will recruit two cohorts of twenty 4th and 6th grade teachers in underserved schools for monthly, year-long professional development days on climate science and sustainability, emphasizing local issues. Through connections with the University of Arizona researchers and community leaders, teachers will build knowledge of the science behind climate change and its local impacts. They will be supported by curriculum experts in creating engaging lessons to implement with their students. As a final project, students and teachers will utilize project-based learning to create and carry out an action plan on a sustainability topic they identify as important in their school or community.

This project will develop a cohort of teachers engaged in climate and sustainability, who will influence students at underserved schools for years to come.

Gender Diversity Initiative

Lead: Lisa Bowden, Kore Press Institute, and Deanna Lewis, UArizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Partners: Tina Howard, Kore Press Institute; Tanner Menard, Equality Arizona; Lizette Trujillo, Southern Arizona Gender Alliance; Em Bowen, UArizona College of Education; and Molly Burke, UArizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Type: Partnering
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Kore Press Institute and the UArizona College of Public Health seek to develop a cohesive and productive partnership by laying a foundation that addresses the critical aspects of collaborative skill-building and team-building that make a successful project (the Gender Diversity Initiative). We recognize that input from all partners is valuable and necessary, and therefore, we intend to follow a ​community-based, facilitated process with a true cross-sector at the table for deep and rich conversations from multiple perspectives. ​The aim is to change culture, mindsets, resource allocation, systems, and health outcomes for safer, more accessible, and inclusive learning environments in order to move the needle on basic safety in Arizona schools for LGBTQ+ youth.

This partnership intends to address this pressing need for safer, more inclusive educational ecosystems, environments, and practices cognizant of health outcome disparities for LGBTQ+ youth. We intend to move the needle for our most vulnerable by addressing the root cause of gender-based violence with interventions to affect systemic change: teacher education and policy change. We view the issue of safety for our most vulnerable as a moral and environmental imperative. The partnership intends to build a stronger and more richly diverse social ecosystem for a more just and sustainable Southwest in 25 years. Providing an environment of safety and social justice for the most marginalized populations in Southern Arizona’s classrooms has deep implications. We recognize that normative narratives don’t work for everybody and that those who are worried about personal safety are not only barred from accessing an ability, and right, to fully thrive, but also from putting energy into issues facing the larger, natural environment like climate change or food security.

Our goals for funding the partnership include building specific skills and capacities that will support a successful, long-term collaboration and project. We want to build these capacities as co-leaders as a base, and to share bits of knowledge with other partners and collaborators across the project, especially since we will be intentionally working across sectors, across cultures, across generations, often with differently impacted populations, and potentially with folks who may not be allies.

Sustainable Tucson 2045

Lead: Kathleen J. Kennedy, UArizona John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Tres English, Sustainable Tucson
Partners:

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $4,764
  • Type: Partnering
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Sustainable Tucson and the University of Arizona John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences propose to expand on their Community Organization-UA partnership with Sustainable Tucson 2045 (ST 2045). ST 2045 will work to engage our diverse community in visualizing and creating a path to build a sustainable community in Southern Arizona by 2045. We believe this initiative fully supports the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice vision for all people to live more sustainable lives and improve Tucsonans' quality of life and their capacity to live sustainably in our changing environment. 

The goal of ST 2045 is to help Tucson become a truly resilient, desert-adaptive community whose culture and economic practices enrich the environment rather than deplete it, support biological diversity rather than extinguish it, clean the air and conserve water rather than pollute it. This is an audacious goal—not something that anyone individual or individual organization can achieve alone. We believe it can only be achieved by members of our diverse community coming together to envision our future and work together to bring that future into being. 

The partnership of the University of Arizona (UA) faculty and students and Sustainable Tucson (ST) will forward this important sustainable community initiative. It will also create a framework for sustainability research and provide UA students with opportunities to conduct field research in sustainability, environmental sciences, and community engagement processes.

Tucson Bee Collaborative: Broadening the Network

Lead: Debra Colodner, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, and Wendy Moore, UArizona Department of Entomology
Partners: Jennifer Katcher, Pima Community College, Jessica Dietrich, Flowing Wells High School, Steve Uyeda, Sunnyside High School, and Jill Williams, UArizona WISE

  • Award Date: Jan 2020
  • Award Amount: $110,706
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

The Tucson Bee Collaborative is a partnership effort to increase awareness of Tucson’s exceptional bee diversity, and to empower future scientists by engaging them in research activities. Through course-based research experiences, this project will connect biodiversity conservation with STEM education, by involving high school students from underserved communities in real-world research on native bees. Students will make authentic research contributions by sampling the bee fauna on their campuses and generate genetic DNA identification tools vital to the success of the broader pollinator research effort.

Tucson Bee Collaborative is a collaboration between the University of Arizona (UA), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM), and Pima Community College (PCC). This proposal aims to broaden the collaboration to include Flowing Wells Unified School District and Sunnyside Unified School District high schools. These Title 1 districts, located in economically depressed areas within the City of Tucson, largely serve a diverse population of students where opportunities for meaningful STEM education are welcomed.

In addition to confronting disparities in educational opportunities, this project aims to connect these young scientists to the biodiversity within their own neighborhoods, building awareness of the importance of native bees and the native plants on which they depend. Students will be empowered by being provided with the skills and knowledge to become their own advocates. They will grasp a deeper understanding of biodiversity, and a new realization that they themselves, are scientists capable of contributing to a wide diversity of STEM fields.

 

Community-based tick-borne disease prevention on the Tohono O’odham Nation

Lead: Walker, Kathleen (University of Arizona Department of Entomology)
Partners: Tohono O'odham Nation Department of Health and Human Services

  • Award Date: Jul 2019
  • Award Amount: $103,767
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

This project is focused on improving and preserving health on the Tohono O’odham Nation while strengthening community resilience, education, and voice in the context of climate change-induced spread of vector-borne disease. Since 2002, range expansion of the tick vector has led to the emergence of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) as a serious health problem among tribes and marginalized rural communities in Arizona and northwestern Mexico. Through a Haury partnership, researchers in the Entomology Department at the University of Arizona and Tohono O’odham Nation Department of Health and Human Services (TONDHHS) and animal welfare agency personnel will work together to fill gaps on community knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding ticks and RMSF. We will also evaluate tick distribution on dogs and in the environment on the Tohono O’odham Nation to identify ecological and social factors associated with high abundance of the brown dog tick and use these factors to predict future population densities. These data will be used in an information campaign to increase community awareness of RMSF risk. Data will also be used by TONDHHS to strengthen RMSF surveillance and prevention activities.

Faculty Fellow

Lead: Joseph, Carrie (University of Arizona College of Public Health)
Partners: N/A

  • Award Date: Jul 2019
  • Award Amount: $76,000
  • Type: Faculty Fellow
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Dr. Joseph's research interests include sustainable engineering for mine reclamation of hazardous waste, paleoecology, watershed hydrology and management, analytical methods for human exposures to anthropogenic contaminants, and community-based participatory research. As an advocate for Indigenous Data Sovereignty, Dr. Joseph specialize in using Indigenous methodologies to advance and protect Tribal interests. The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environmental and Social Justice would assist Dr. Joseph's data equity efforts, as the Program has continued to support community initiatives in underrepresented populations that have led to key insights across the dimensions of social equity, food sovereignty, educational enrichment, and environmental protection. The research will build on these insights by continuing to partner with Hopi village members to further understand the impacts that uranium extraction and mining have on the health, cultural, environmental, and socioecological well-being of the Hopi Nation. The Hopi Tribe consists of approximately 7,100 residents are geographically encapsulated within the larger Navajo Reservation. The Navajo Tribe has a well-documented history of uranium lease agreements that were established with the U.S. Government. Over 500 abandoned mines, four uranium processing sites, and 1,100 features are left as reminders of this history, along with a legacy of environmental and health impacts. Research previously conducted has found the Hopi Tribe was never consulted about the extensive mining history, nor are found in any community-based literature or exposure efforts in the area

Faculty Fellow

Lead: Lee, Jamie (University of Arizona School of Information)
Partners: Borderlinks

  • Award Date: Jul 2019
  • Award Amount: $76,000
  • Type: Faculty Fellow
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Dr. Lee's professional and community-focused experiences shaped her values and vision as teacher, scholar, archivist, storyteller, and media-maker. Similar to the mission of the Haury Program, Dr. Lee's ongoing research centers social justice and the importance of community collaborations to increase the diversity of voices and stories that are part of the historical record. Dr. Lee founded the Arizona Queer Archives, Arizona’s first LGBTQ archives, for which has collected oral histories. In keeping with the principles of social justice media, Dr. Lee also trains community members on how to use the digital video equipment to collect oral histories within their own communities for the archives. Dr.Lee has also co-directed the Stories of Arizona’s Tribal Libraries oral history project that worked in collaboration with the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and the San Carlos Apache Nation to facilitate the recording of multiple histories related to the creation of their tribal libraries. Dr. Lee works predominantly in archival studies and media studies with a focus on what she calls dynamic and relational multiplicity so as to increase the diverse voices, stories, and bodies of knowledge as well as knowledge-making practices in media and in the archives to teach about the complex relationships in and beyond home communities to the world more broadly considered.

The Haury Faculty Fellowship would provide transformative funds to connect Dr. Lee's scholarship on storytelling back to social justice documentary filmmaking. Financial support would allow Dr. Lee to re-engage the film Aguamiel, which Dr. Lee started over ten years ago. Such an opportunity to expand the film into the Arizona/Sonora border region and to work with local communities to contribute to and collaborate on its final edit and outreach strategy is a part of Dr. Lee's greater work creating community archives with diverse populations as well as educating communities to produce their own multimedia stories and projects. Overall, Dr. Lee's work aims to amplify diverse voices to help build coalition around social justice and, importantly, Climate Justice, which is an area of study that links these projects to global equality, human rights, and historical responsibility.

Improving Equity in Solar Access: A Low-Cost Cooling Option for Families

Lead: Wolf, Ann Marie (Sonora Environmental Research Institute)
Partners: University of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology

  • Award Date: Jul 2019
  • Award Amount: $99,329
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Low-income, marginalized communities in southern metropolitan Tucson lack energy resilience and have not received the economic, environmental, and community empowerment benefits of the renewable energy economy. Few low-income families can afford the up-front costs or have the financial credit rating to obtain rooftop solar systems to lower their energy costs, and recent rate changes have made financing even more difficult. Many residents lack knowledge regarding solar technologies and have pre-existing vulnerabilities including poor housing and economic instability. They are caught in a wicked problem: they pay a higher percentage of their income for energy than others in Arizona yet have fewer opportunities to participate in solutions. Given that Tucson is predicted to get hotter, new options need to be evaluated for low-income families to reduce their energy use and yet cool their homes. Sonora Environmental Research Institute, Inc. (SERI) has been working in this community for over 14 years and will partner with the University of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) to evaluate solar mini splits as a low-cost renewable energy option for replacing evaporative coolers and energy guzzling window air conditioners. Case studies will be developed from five pilot installations, evaluating energy savings and thermal comfort. The feasibility of a low-income loan program will be evaluated based on the results and community feedback. The program will serve as a model for other low-income communities struggling with solar installations, will increase solar energy development in southern metropolitan Tucson and promote systemic and transformational change.

A Student’s Journey: From a Tribal College to the University

Lead: Lindsay, Marti (University of Arizona Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, SWEHSC)
Partners: Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC)

  • Award Date: May 2019
  • Award Amount: $600,000
  • Type: Challenge
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

The project A Student’s Journey will help UA Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, SWEHSC, and Tohono O’odham Community College, TOCC, to develop and evaluate a year-round program to assist Tribal College and University (TCU) students to transition into four-year colleges successfully. Three cadres of students (60 total) will develop knowledge about environmental and social justice, skills and confidence to pursue four-year degrees and work experience in Tribal departments. Formative evaluation will create improvements over the course of the project. Student surveys will measure new knowledge and confidence about matriculating into baccalaureate degrees. TCU students can have a background or interest in many fields because the project will address those interests through the lens of environmental health and social justice. Guest lectures from The University of Arizona, other four-year universities, and Tribal departments will be arranged. Project activities include 1) recruitment, 2) preparation about choosing a career field for an internship, 3) a five-week summer internship program at the University of Arizona, 4) school year lessons to promote life skills and 5) a practicum experience working in their chosen career field within a tribal community.

Each cadre will have the opportunity to share their internship and practicum experiences in an event for fellow students and community members. Regular seminars and assignments will provide opportunities for students to reflect on the learning taking place. To promote self-knowledge and success tribal cultural understandings will be incorporated into lessons and activities, which consists of the culture, way of life, and values that are uniquely held and displayed by the Tohono O’odham. It is a lifelong journey.

Food Desert - Exploring America's Nutritional Wastelands

Lead: Mullikin, Lucas (Lucrative Pictures LLC)
Partners: UA School of Geography and Development, Manzo Elementary School, UA Community and School Garden Program and Community Gardens of Tucson

  • Award Date: Jan 2019
  • Award Amount: $ 12,713
  • Type: Visiting Associate
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Food Desert is a documentary voyaging into the dietary landscape of America modern. The film focuses on nutritional inequality, conscious sourcing, sustainable design and issues with centralized food systems. Our nation has the largest variety of foods, product quality and sourcing choice we’ve ever enjoyed. Yet this isn’t geographical consistent. In lower income communities, rural and urban, access to fresh and nutritionally dense food is limited or simply too expensive. For lower income families, the question of dinner is regularly answered with cheap, unhealthy meal options.

This project will connect with farmers, community organizers, nutritionists, researchers, chefs, nonprofits and others as we work to understand the state of America’s diet in 2018. We’re going beyond the traditional elements of production and supply to look at why certain communities have unreliable access to affordable, nutritious foods. In some areas, heavily processed meals are the cheapest, easiest and sometimes only option. Tucson is a desert city located in the rapidly warming Southwest U.S. region that has several organizations working directly to address the challenges of nutritional access and urban agriculture. Desert communities present unique challenges for those faced with geographic, economic or transportation hardships. For those people, both temporary and long-term issues can prevent easy access to affordable, high-quality foods. Food Desert is an initiative designed to change that. We will explore radical self-reliance through urban gardening, the power of being able to cook and how to use community organizations to empower people in the fight against food deserts.

Renter Education for Neighborhoods and Tenants (RENT)

Lead: Butler, Stacy (UA Law's Innovation for Justice Program, James E. Rogers College of Law)
Partners: Step UP to Justice

  • Award Date: Jan 2019
  • Award Amount: $ 88,518
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

The Renter Education for Neighborhoods and Tenants Project (RENT) is a collaboration between Step Up to Justice (SU2J) and the Innovation for Justice program (I4J) at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Designed to reduce eviction through early and effective tenant education and empowerment, RENT recruits and trains volunteer students from the University of Arizona (UA) to work with volunteer lawyers in offering community education regarding tenant rights and responsibilities.

RENT volunteers will triage tenants’ housing education needs across three categories of assistance: tenants who need information about rights and responsibilities at the start of a lease, tenants who need assistance in documenting and communicating a habitability issue to their landlord, and tenants who need assistance negotiating with their landlord regarding an impending inability to pay rent due to unforeseen financial crisis. RENT will leverage technology to enable tenants to draft meaningful communications with their landlords and encourage conflict resolution between landlords and tenants.

RENT will serve as a national model for how to elevate tenants’ voices and encourage collaboration between tenants and landlords before a situation escalates to an eviction, thereby reducing evictions and the collateral community consequences of eviction.

Toward a Vision of Community Wellness: Reclaiming Agency, Self-Care, and Connection to Place

Lead: Mabie, Debi Chess (The Dunbar Coalition, Inc.)
Partners: University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies, El Rio Health Centers and African American Coalition for Health and Wellness, Inc.

  • Award Date: Jan 2019
  • Award Amount: $ 101,710
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

This collaboration is between the nonprofit Dunbar Coalition, Inc., El Rio Health Centers, the Coalition for African American Health and Wellbeing, and the UA Center for Regional Food Studies. Funds will be used to design, implement, and evaluate a two-year health and wellness education project to reclaim traditions of cultivating food and herbal remedies that provided daily sustenance for people of African and Native American diasporas. The project will be based at Dunbar Pavilion as part of a wider set of resources already present. Individuals and families will be invited to participate in free or low-cost workshops and hands-on experiences.

Building on the research of Ors. Patrisia Gonzales, Jerome Dotson, Megan Carney, and others working at the intersections of community wellness, ethnobotany, and food activism, participants will explore food and herbal-based treatments, health maintenance, and spiritual rituals rooted in practices that once served to increase the likelihood of survival for colonized peoples in this region. We will use a collaborative medicine to reclaim and affirm diverse forms of treatment and prescriptions often co-opted and commodified by the biomedical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical fields.

The core belief guiding this project is that acknowledgment and affirmation of heritage practices can interrupt and redirect the trajectory of race-based epigenetic illness and poor health outcomes for people of color. Our hypothesis is that this approach will result in empowered project participants who are prepared to participate in, develop, guide, and direct positive personal and environmental health outcomes for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Waste Not: Borderlands Innovations in Food Waste Management

Lead: Maahs, Leia (Southwest Folklife Alliance, University of Arizona Southwest Center)
Partners: UA Compost Cats and Startup Unidos

  • Award Date: Jan 2019
  • Award Amount: $ 63,000
  • Type: Seed
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Status: Ongoing
View Summary

Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA), UA Compost Cats and Startup Unidos won a seed grant for Waste Not: Borderlands Innovations in Food Waste Management, to engage communities in research and innovative solutions to food waste management challenges in Nogales, Arizona, and the U.S.- Mexico borderlands. Every year, 60 percent of all fresh produce in the United States (November- May) arrives through the port of entry in Nogales, AZ. Over 6000 tons of that produce, much of it still fresh, end up in the Rio Rico landfill. That surplus could be turned into value-added food products or fertile compost for use in household or commercial ventures. Meanwhile, Nogales, AZ (population 21,000), while rich in cultural heritage and community pride, continues to face ongoing economic challenges, limited workforce development, and talent flight. This project addresses these realities, creating real educational and employment opportunities for young people and real solutions to issues of food surplus in the region. It does this by 1) engaging 10-15 youth in ethnographic research, documenting narratives of cultural traditions around food waste, 2) creating business innovation opportunities, and 3) building greater community awareness of and engagement with the borderlands produce industry. It builds on strong partnerships and ethical practices of community engagement, foregrounding the importance of traditional knowledge to inform inventive solutions to pressing community needs.