Report: Arizona must deploy a diverse range of strategies to solve water crisis

Arizona’s water crisis is getting worse, and on Wednesday, environmental groups warned that there’s no “silver-bullet” solution that can fix it. In a new report by the Water for Arizona Coalition, analysts urge the state to embrace a diverse range of water conservation and management strategies — and to start investing in them fast. (No paywall)

Two Democrats on House Agriculture facing uphill fights

Two Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee, Reps. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona and Cindy Axne of Iowa, are in uphill fights for re-election against Republicans, according to political handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

What should Arizona farmers grow? A tire company hopes it’s guayule.

For decades, leaders [in the Southwest] have sought a way to equitably share what’s left of the shrinking supply, but there has always been one stubborn sticking point: Farmers consume three-quarters of the region’s precious water, often to grow thirsty, inedible crops like cotton and hay. Many of them have been here for a century or more, and they aren’t about to leave. So, why can’t they grow something that sucks less water?(No paywall)

For thousands of farmworkers, a dangerous — and now potentially deadly — commute

It’s 1 a.m. and the stars are out as hundreds of people shuffle slowly along the wall that forms the border with the U.S. in the small Mexican city of San Luis Río Colorado, Esther Honig reports in FERN's latest story produced with the Nation magazine. In heavy boots and wide-brimmed straw hats, almost everyone here is headed to work in the vegetable fields of Yuma County, Arizona. Bundled against the frigid November air in puffy coats and fleece blankets, they carry thermoses of hot coffee and mini coolers packed with breakfast and lunch, often small, tightly rolled meat burritos. The wait to get through the small port of entry averages two hours but on some days can take as many as four. (No paywall)

Arizona farms on the front lines of a climate and water crisis

Arizona's farmers are facing a water crisis, as the state diverts scarce Colorado River resources to booming population centers, reports Stephen R. Miller, in FERN's latest story with National Geographic. To deal with the situation, farmers are drilling deeper into aquifers or selling off land, but pressures will only mount with climate change.

USDA approves two-year Arizona test against food-stamp trafficking

Three days after offering states more latitude in running the food stamp program, the Agriculture Department approved a two-year test in Arizona to reduce trafficking of benefits. The waiver could be the first in a series; Maine, for example, wants to bar purchase of candy and sugary beverages, including soda, through the anti-hunger program.

Tucson gleaning group offers refugees healing through food waste

In Tucson, the Iskashitaa Refugee Network is helping refugees heal from trauma by gleaning fruit from backyards across the city. “Iskashitaa — which means 'working cooperatively together' in Somali Bantu, the ethnicity of many early volunteers — provides more than just healthy food,” writes Jonathan Bloom in FERN’s latest story, published with NPR’s The Salt.

Hey, check out the seeds at the Tucson library

The Pima County Public Library system was one of the first in the nation in 2012 when it began to circulate seeds, says High Country News, an approach patterned on the traditional lending library that makes available to readers. "Aspiring gardeners can look up varieties electronically, put seeds on reserve and check out 10 packs at a time."

Painkiller producer funds drive against legal pot in Arizona

A synthetic cannabis drugmaker that has been investigated for alleged improper marketing of a highly addictive prescription painkiller donated a lot of money to the campaign opposing legalization of marijuana in Arizona, the Washington Post reports.

Tucson is the first UNESCO ‘City of Gastronomy’ in North America

Earlier this year, Tucson, Arizona, became the first and only place in the U.S. to be named a City of Gastronomy by the United Nations’ Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, says the New York Times. The desert city of 500,000 joined 17 others, including Parma, Italy; Bergen, Norway and Ensenada, Mexico to carry the designation.

Southwestern farmers learn to water tomatoes and tilapia from same spigot

Farmers in the arid Southwest are turning to aquaponics, an indoor system that combines hydroponics with fish farming to conserve water and use fish excrement to nourish plants, according to The Guardian.

Strain on Colorado River worries Arizona growers

“If you eat a green salad between Thanksgiving and April, whether in Minnesota, Montreal or Modesto, odds are good some of it was grown in or around Yuma [Arizona],” says the Los Angeles Times in a story about the competing demands for water that drain the Colorado River. “Nearly 40 million …

Beavers may be ally in mitigating climate change’s impact

Once hunted as nuisances, beavers "are being welcomed into the landscape as a defense against the withering effects of a warmer and drier climate" in the U.S. West, says the New York Times.