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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
“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. …
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.