— This is where you select your tour group
The Urban Farm Tour is organized into three different groups. You will need to pick one. (Each is described below.) All groups converge on at the Mission Garden for a locally-sourced lunch catered by Caridad Community Kitchen and a discussion about “What do we need to do to produce and eat a lot more local food?”
Please decide which tour group you want to join. Tours will start at the designated point, carpool to the other sites in the tour, end at Mission Garden, and then carpool back to the starting point.
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All roads lead to Mission Garden
Mission Garden – Tucson has nearly 4000 years of history growing food in the Santa Cruz valley, including at the base of A-Mountain. The Feeding Tucson Urban Farm Tour will end at Mission Garden and a locally-sourced lunch and a discussion of “What does it take to produce and eat lots more local food?”
Tour group 1
This tour starts at Rattlebox farm, which is next to the Pantano Wash near Houghton Rd. If you live in the east side of Tucson, you may want to join this group. Rattlebox Farm is at 4300 S Audrey Rd.
Rattlebox Farm – A true urban farm on the city’s SE side. Paul Buseck and Dana Helfer and their two children make their living farming this 1 acre urban farm (which they are gradually expanding to 4 acres). Find out about water, labor, capital, and marketing issues from successful urban farmers.
Home Aquaponics – One of the best examples of a home aquaponics system in Tucson. The house exhibits a compact greenhouse, edible landscape, solar collectors, and strawbale insulation. Find out about costs, production, labor, and eating what you grow.
Tour group 2
This tour starts at Garden Kitchen, which is on the southwest part of Tucson. If you live in the southwest part of Tucson, you may want to join this group. Garden Kitchen is at 2205 S 4th Ave.
Garden Kitchen – A combination of a commercial kitchen and demonstration garden organized by the Cooperative Extension Service. The Garden Kitchen offers seed-to-table, gardening and cooking education. Families learn about every step of bringing a healthy meal to the kitchen table — from growing and purchasing to preparing and storing.
Garden’s Best Hydroponics – This backyard hydroponics system produces thousands of pounds of tomatoes from January to June. A family project that involves the whole family, this hydroponics system generates about $10,000 income on $2000 expenses. Find out about learning curve, time management, control of growing environement, water.
Desert Courtyard Garden – A community garden on a commercial apartment site. This garden supports 49 families from three apartment buildings. The garden receives technical support and materials from Iskashitaa Refugee Network. Find out about experiences of refugees who grew food in their native lands, working with a commercial property owner, and the need for outside support.
Tour group 3
This tour starts at La Oeste Gardens, which is in the northwest part of Tucson. If you live on the northwest part of Tucson, you may want to join this group. La Oeste is on 7360 N La Oesta.
La Oeste Gardens – This 1/4-acre market garden on two urban lots provides regular produce for the Heirloom Farmers Market throughout the year. The family has a history of providing their own food, since Monty Brown grew up in Laos where they provide their own vegetables. Find out about conventional gardening in Tucson, the impacts of heat and climate change on their operations, labor, water.
Desert Treasure Orchard – The oldest orchard in Tucson (on Orange Grove Rd – where else). This family run orchard provides 25 different types of citrus and dates. Changes in climate are impacting their growing practices. Find out about marketing, water, climate change, labor.
Keeling Community Garden – A community garden that is part of the Community Gardens of Tucson network. There are 20 plots that service 17 families. Find out about garden organization, growing practices, and neighborhood participation.