Community

December 2022

New video celebrates Tucson’s seventh anniversary as UNESCO City of Gastronomy

Non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy (TCoG), in partnership with Pima County and Visit Tucson, unveiled a video in honor of Tucson’s seventh anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
The video, “A Heritage Grain Revival”, highlights Sonoran White wheat, a distinctive part of southern Arizona’s food culture. It is the first in a new series funded by Pima County Attractions and Tourism through an American Rescue Plan Act grant for tourism recovery.
“This series will shine the spotlight on southern Arizona’s deep and unique culinary heritage,” said Catherine Strickland, Deputy Director of Pima County Attractions and Tourism and Vice President of TCoG. “As the first-ever UNESCO City of Gastronomy designated in the United States, Tucson’s unique and ever-growing food scene remains a major driver in attracting visitors to our region.”
The video series is just one of several efforts by Tucson City of Gastronomy to amplify the reach of our culinary scene. This year, TCoG launched Pueblos del Maíz, an international festival celebrating the importance of maize through food, art and culture.The non-profit is busy planning an expansion of the event for next year, while also continuing its work with local chefs to further its mission of growing a sustainable desert community by supporting our creative food cultures.
“When we started this journey seven years ago, we had no idea how much energy it would add to the local food movement and how much it would inspire the creativity of our chefs and entrepreneurs around heritage ingredients,” said Jonathan Mabry, Executive Director of TCoG.

August 2022

MAP Dashboard: Tucson among most affordable home markets

Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Despite a run-up in home prices, Tucson remains among the most affordable among Western peer cities, according to the Making Action Possible Dashboard, a project of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

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July 2022

KB Home Commits to EPA’s Highest Water-Efficiency Standards in Drought-Stricken States

Every home in future Arizona, California, and Nevada communities will be WaterSense labeled and rated using the RESNET HERSH2O system.

By Symone Strong

KB Home announced that every home built in future Arizona, California, and Nevada communities will be WaterSense labeled, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) highest standard for water efficiency and performance.

These homes, in some of the most drought-stricken areas of the country, will be rated using the RESNET HERSH2O system, which is said to help homeowners use less water as well as spend less money on utility bills.

“In many areas of the U.S., the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought events have been increasing. Water is not something we can take for granted,” says Jeffrey Mezger, chairman, president, and CEO of KB Home. “In 2010, KB Home delivered the first WaterSense-labeled home in the nation because we understood that this approach would help reduce the use of a precious natural resource, save our homeowners on utility costs, and mitigate drought conditions.”

According to the EPA, WaterSense-labeled homes use at least 30% less water than a typical home and can save a household 50,000 gallons of water annually, on average. To date, KB Home has built over 18,000 WaterSense-labeled and water-smart homes and installed over 900,000 WaterSense-labeled fixtures. The company estimates that these homes, together with the fixtures within them, conserve approximately 1.6 billion gallons of water annually.

“Water is an essential part of our daily lives, and EPA’s WaterSense program helps residents and businesses conserve this vital resource,” says Radhika Fox, assistant administrator for water at the EPA. “KB Home is a long-time WaterSense partner and seven-time recipient of the WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award. Their commitment to build homes in the Southwest that meet WaterSense criteria will help combat the megadrought in the West.”

More recently, KB Home implemented EPA’s new WaterSense Labeled Homes Program, Version 2.0, which was released in February 2021. The program was piloted in the Las Vegas area, and preliminary field data collected by the EPA confirms that homeowners are seeing significant savings. These homes built by KB had a median water use of just 44,000 gallons of water per year compared with the 97,000 gallons per year or more used by typical homes in the region—a 55% reduction in use.

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June 2022

Tucson’s Don Guerra Named Best Baker at America’s Culinary Oscars

By Dan Shalin, patch.com

TUCSON, AZ — A chef in Tucson picked up a prestigious culinary honor as a winner in the James Beard Foundation’s 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards, presented Monday at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Don Guerra of Barrio Bread was named Outstanding Baker. Guerra is the owner and baker of the restaurant, located at 18 S. Eastbourne Ave.

On its website, Barrio Bread is described as “a true neighborhood bakery that showcases the art and science of Don Guerra’s passion for baking and his commitment to community.”

Guerra is from the Phoenix area and grew up baking with his mother and eating his nana’s tortillas, according to the website.

He previously opened a bakery called The Village Baker in Flagstaff in 1995. A few years later, he opened The Village Baker of Ashland, in Oregon. Barrio Bread began in 2009.

According to the bakery’s website, Guerra is committed to working with local farmers, chefs and other food producers to strengthen the local grain economy and grow the local food network.

In 2016, Guerra was named one of the Top Ten Bakers in America by Dessert Professionals magazine.

However, the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards are regarded as the Oscars of the culinary industry.

The industry remains in a recovery phase after lost business during the pandemic and “still needs support,” James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach said at the ceremony, according to a news release.

The awards honor not only individual winners but also “our entire industry — and the incredible resilience, fortitude, talent, and leadership so many have shown over the past two years,” Reichenbach said.

The awards had been on a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. During that time, the awards program “underwent a full audit of its policies and procedures, continuing the work to remove bias, increase transparency and accessibility, and make the program more aligned with the Foundation’s mission and values.”

Read the full article.