Food Bank a Lifeline for Many

I read with interest comments from PRT readers objecting to my use of the term “Food Desert” in a PRT interview on food insecurity in our community

I am not interested in engaging in an argument about labeling or parsing definitions. My reality, as president of the East Santa Cruz County Community Food Bank, and the reality of our many client families in Eastern Santa Cruz County, is that there is a food crisis that makes support from our organization for the elderly, disabled, single parents, low-income adults and families essential to their wellbeing. 

We support a host of people from all walks of life that have one thing in common. They and their families don’t have enough food to eat each month. Demand for our services has increased dramatically in the past few months as inflation has taken a toll on our clients’ incomes. 

As their discretionary income has gradually disappeared (if our clients ever even had any) our food bank has become a lifeline.

Yes, there are farmers’ markets selling local food and there is grass fed beef available for those middle- and upper-class citizens who can pay a premium for it. 

Those are not the people we provide food for. 

We provide food for single mothers working two or three jobs and trying to keep their old car running so they can make it to Nogales once a month for inexpensive groceries. 

We provide food for the working poor, who may have a functioning car but not enough money to put gas in it. 

We provide food for the elderly and disabled through our partnership with the Senior Citizens of Patagonia. 

We provide food for our youth and their families through our partnership with the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center. 

We provide food for churches in the northern part of our county who partner with us on outreach to make sure the isolated elderly and low-income workers don’t fall through the cracks and have the food so essential for wellbeing. 

I find it curious, and a bit elitist, for letter writers Gary Nabhan and Annie Sager to criticize the food bank when neither one has donated a nickel or volunteered an hour of their time to the food bank to see the breadth and depth of our services and the food insecurity problem in East Santa Cruz County. 

I welcome them to come volunteer and experience the real scope of food insecurity in our county as well as the smiles and gratitude that comes with personally serving our community. 

James Staudacher

President, ESCCCFB 


Impressed by the Community

I am unable to identify individuals worthy of this award [The PRT’s Good Neighbor Award], however groups of wonderful, caring locals impress me on a daily basis. 

I am referring to our Senior Center and the dedication of the folks who provide meals Monday thru Friday. And how about the hard working group of folks at the Patagonia Regional Aquatic Center? The couple at the Lumber Company have done lots for the town. Velvet Elvis reopening in the spectacular Mission building, Queen of Cups offering such tasty meals.

I am a new homeowner here in Patagonia and am constantly impressed and pleased by the effort I observe from the above mentioned groups.

While perhaps not an individual, they certainly qualify as good Patagonia neighbors.

Chris Gore


Kudos for Martin

Recently, my wife and I spent seven days in Patagonia and happened to read your PRT newspaper, the October edition.

We found the articles to be very interesting, well written and informative for such a small community.

In particular, Martin Levowitz’s “Life Among the Humans: Shalt Thou Not Kill?” was extremely well thought out for such an explosive topic. Martin did an excellent job of walking a tightrope and asking questions that no matter which side you want to stand on should give pause to reflect (unless you no longer have a brain). Martin should be commended for tackling the topic with careful thought and asking simple but yet brilliant questions.

Gary Andrews

Austin, TX

Seeking Input

My name is Ron Ochoa. I am an Arizonan with an environmental, health, and safety background. Our family has an Arizona legacy that predates the Arizona Territory. My father, David Ochoa, a purple heart veteran of WW2, and former Taliesin West employee, is buried in the old Patagonia cemetery. The Ochoa family has a deep, local history that stretches back generations to the guards of the original Tucson presidio. Like most people who live in Patagonia, we value and appreciate the Patagonia area not only as a beautiful place but also as part of our past / present heritage. 

We are fortunate to be stewards of a large parcel of native land that overlooks Patagonia. 

We propose building a ‘Taliesin-West’ style environmental lodge integrating modern green technology harmoniously with people and nature. Paseo Verde will be a small nine-room lodge and will eventually have four or five additional casitas, an existing gravel road, plus numerous hiking and bike trails on-site. 

Our plans calculate less than 3% of the acreage would be under the roof. We have an extraordinary piece of land and the desire to see people hike, bike, and enjoy it.

We seek to form a local Environmental Advisory Committee to guide and advise the project. If you want to become involved and serve on the Paseo Verde Environmental Lodge’s Advisory Committee, please get in touch via email at

The Advisory Committee will be influential, and some details of our plan will undoubtedly change as we receive input. 

We want to share Patagonia’s vision for a sustainable future. 

Ron Ochoa