Posts in 2015
Tucson Designated UNESCO World City of Gastronomy

We’ve known it—those of us who eat here have tasted it. We’ve felt it in the soil under our fingernails. We’ve seen it in the magenta stain of prickly pear. We’ve heard it in the hammer mill grinding sweet speckled mesquite; smelled it in the exhale of steam from a crowded pot of tamales.

Tucson has always been a city of gastronomy. Today, it was designated a World City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), becoming the first city in the United States to receive such a designation.

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What Will a UNESCO City of Gastronomy Designation Do for Tucson and for Other Cities?

Tucson prides itself on being the metropolis in North America with the oldest continuous history of agriculture within its city limits: 4,100 year old corn remains and 3,500 year old irrigation ditches can be found just a few miles from its downtown. While such an extraordinary cultural heritage of cultivating and processing native foods certainly matters to UNESCO, the City of Gastronomy honor came on the basis the city’s capacity for entrepreneurial innovations grounded in social and ecological values unique to this place.

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The early ‘gastronomes’ of Tucson

When Tucson was selected as the first U.S. Creative City of gastronomy by UNESCO last week, its long history of cultivated crops was cited as part of the reason for its designation.

Road builders, sewer plant operators and backhoe operators can share some of the glory, along with the archaeologists who uncovered evidence of early agriculture in the Tucson Basin, said archaeologist James Vint.

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Arizona gets a world capital for foodies, and it’s not Phoenix

Tucson was recognized last week by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as one of 47 cities honored for their cultural accomplishments. In the case of the Southern Arizona city, the recognition was for food.

It became the first U.S. city recognized for food by UNESCO. Ensenada, Mexico also was recognized for food along with seven other cities. Recognitions also were handed out to cities for their work in cultural and folk arts, film, design, literature, media arts and music.

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Tucson Becomes the First UNESCO-Designated Creative City of Gastronomy in the U.S.

It’s official: Tucson is indeed a world capital of gastronomy. UNESCO announced their 2015 additions to the Creative Cities Network, and after the second year applying, Tucson’s application to be recognized as a gastronomic site was approved.

As hashed out in last week’s Tucson Weekly cover story, Tucson’s application for the honor hinged largely on the region’s 4,000 years of continuous agriculture, progressive native seed line preservation programs and the huge impact food-related jobs and businesses have on the local economy. Those reasons, among many others, were enough for the global organization to add Tucson to the network.

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