An Indigenous Community Deepens its Roots in San Xavier Farm
May 8, 2019 9:50 AM   Subscribe

After securing much-needed water rights, the co-op farm on the Tohono O’odham reservation is honoring thousands of years of the tribe's farming history.

In a quiet part of Tucson, Arizona, only a few miles southwest of the city center, the San Xavier Cooperative Farm honors the agricultural legacy of the Tohono O’odham, a Native American tribe that has farmed the land for over 4,000 years. Located on the ancestral village of Wa:k, the 860-acre operation, one of the few farms on an Indian reservation at last count, is a lush green oasis in the otherwise dry desert.

posted by poffin boffin (4 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Wow! this is such and uplifting read, thank you. the older I get (and tbh I'm not that old), there are fewer and fewer things that I think really matter, but heritage and farming are on the very short list. I have southern farming roots on my mothers side, but unfortunately due to several generations of addiction, it's all been lost to me. With advice from AskMe I'm trying to rebuild that, using seeds from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. A co-op network of mid-atlantic and southern small farms who prioritize heirloom and organic cultivars that grow best in southern weather. They work directly with small farms and the grassroots seed network to keep rare cultivars alive and teach new people how to harvest seeds from their crop. The co-op, at the end of season, buys back seeds from these small farmers to sell to people like me, who keep a garden in the yard.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Related: the annual Tohono O'odham saguaro cactus wine-making festival will happen a few weeks from now. If you are at all interested in plants, I highly recommend a visit to Tucson.

Also: the indigenous origin of the place name "Tucson."
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:59 PM on May 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ohhh, some of my relatives belong to this tribe. This is great news. I'm glad they won their water rights back, and I hope the farm can put more tribe members back in touch with their land.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2019

This was a great read - and so cool to learn how they're collaborating with so many groups, from the compost program to the food banks and the schools.

Wonderful photos, too, especially the thriving trees and the mural at the end.

Thanks for posting this, poffin boffin!
posted by kristi at 10:19 PM on May 9, 2019

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