December 13, 2022

This Community Was in Danger, Until One Simple Tool Helped Make a Change

An Arizona town faced a health threat they didn’t know if they could battle.

This piece originally appeared on

On the border of Arizona and Mexico lies a sleepy, rural town called Nogales. Located in Santa Cruz County, town residents say Nogales prides itself in a sense of community — many families have lived there for generations.

The population of Nogales is 85 percent Hispanic, and the town’s name comes from the Spanish word for the walnut trees that used to grow there. In the years since those once-abundant trees graced the landscape, Nogales has become a food desert. This means its 20,000 residents, many of whom are considered low-income, are among the 23.5 percent of Americans with limited access to fresh or affordable food. The town also has no public transportation — and extremely limited access to healthcare.