The University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies has issued the second annual report on Tucson's food system, focusing on the role of the "edible biodiversity" of more than 2,020 varieties of 340 food plant species in the local economy. This report documents how Tucson is an international leader in conserving and providing access to food biodiversity uanews.arizona.edu learned.
"Tucson has become the model for how metro areas can grow and distribute a more diverse supply of fresh fruits and vegetables that reach low-income households."
Tucson's creative strategies for conserving and disseminating food biodiversity was a major factor in its designation as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S. Innovations include the proliferation of free "seed libraries"; publicly responsive seed banks, nurseries and botanical gardens.
In addition, Tucson's innovative strategies for using water harvesting and desert trees to cool and shade cityscapes are now attracting interest from other cities.