Tag Archives: Champions’ Network

On a bright, sunny day, Tucson took an important step toward Resilience

On a bright but windy day, 46 people from all over Tucson met to share delicious local food, share ideas, and take the next step to make Tucson more food resilient.

If you missed it, don’t worry. You’ll get other chances. There will be more.

After a tour of the garden of our host, Gary Vender, three members of the Food Resilience Project’s Champions Network outlined the objectives of the Food Resilience Project.

Paula Schlusberg gave a brief overview of the program and why it is important. Because companies around the world have adopted a “Just-In-Time” inventory system, Tucson has only a few days of food in all our stores. But we know that we can produce a lot more local food and build a strong community in the process. Food resilience can also allow us to tackle other problems, like aging in place and climate readiness.

Gary Vender gave a brief overview of how easy it is to grow lots of food in Tucson.

In a few hundred square feet of garden he grows hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and lettuce. Not only does he grow enough for his own family, but he shares it with many neighbors and provides lots of fresh food to the Community Food Bank. And the water bills are only $30-$40 per month.

Donya Meggs related her path to creating the first Neighborhood Resilience Team.

Even though she didn’t feel she had the time, her neighbors were able to help her dig and water her initial garden. Now that 5×5 garden is providing lots of vegetables and which she is now able to share. Their NRT started with a dozen people, and now they are planning a potluck, and garden exchange. And sharing the load makes it possible, even with her busy schedule.

After these initial presentations, and over the delicious food that people brought to share, there was a lively discussion of the many ways that we could work together to make Tucson more Food Resilient. The answers ranged from

  • * Seting up a garden exchange to share extra produce from neighborhood gardens, to
  • * Doing an inventory of food trees in the neighborhood, to
  • * Organizing a tour of some gardens in your neighborhood.

A more complete list can be found here.

The next step will be to find new Resilience Champions who want to take on the task of creating their own Neighborhood Resilience Teams. And to continue to develop the resources needed to help them succeed.

If you want to join us, our next meeting will be during the week of April 10-16. Contact Tres English <tres@feedingtucson.org> to get the details.

Next Step – Learning to Grow, Eat, and Share more delicious, local food

What if you could live in a neighborhood where

  • a rain-watered, Permaculture food forest shades our streets and makes them beautiful?
  • you know your neighbors because you often share delicious locally grown food in neighborhood potlucks and garden exchanges?
  • kids play and adults gather in neighborhood micro-parks created by the traffic-calming chicanes that create the space for that food forest?, and 
  • community gardens and commercial market gardens are widespread, and thousands of people are employed in creating a resilient local food supply?


The first steps to transforming Tucson into this Beautiful, Delicious, Safe, and Fun home starts with Learning to Grow, Eat, and Share lots of delicious, local food. You can take that first step on March 25 at the kickoff Community Potluck of the Food Resilience Project of Feeding Tucson /Sustainable Tucson .


The Food Resilience Project of Feeding Tucson is an initiative to encourage and help small groups of neighbors to form Neighborhood Resilience Teams that share local food, help each other garden, and much more. You can start one in your neighborhood, or help others who are willing to take the plunge now.


On Saturday, March 25 from 4:00 to 6:30, people from all over Tucson will gather to share locally grown food. You can bring something from your own garden, or check out these links to local Farmers Markets). You will find out how you can either start your own Neighborhood Resilience Team or join the Resilience Champions network to help others who want to try. You hear about the experiences of the first NRTeam. And you will enjoy a friendly meal made with lots of fresh local ingredients on a beautiful spring evening. (The potluck is near 22nd St and Country Club.)


Please let us know that you are interested by using this Doodle link. Or if you prefer, you can use this FaceBook event page. Even if you can’t attend, it will let us know you are interested. We will send you the actual address when we hear from you.

Resilience Champions Network – meeting notes

Meeting NOTES
Resilience Champions Network
Date: 10/5/2016
Location: Rincon Market
With: Josefina Cardinas, Javier Lopez, Jim Lootens, Donya Meggs, Jack Strassberg, Dusty Jacobs
Discuss w/ Champions: What are you hoping to do? And how can we help?
Organize ETSFestival signup

Two Food Resilience Champions groups attended: Josefina Cardinas, Donya Meggs/Dusty Jacobs.
* Josefina has a neighborhood group with almost all pieces for a community garden, but there are internal conflicts that need to be overcome, in order to move forward.  Rcmd: Resolve internal conflicts (become NH President from VPres) and approach Ward 1 office to ask for assistance to move forward.
* Donya has a neighborhood group that is starting.  They are organizing a work party on Monday and can provide their flyer as blank form for other groups.  Their primary need is a cheap/free source of compost.  Work party on Monday (Oct 10) at 4pm at 2208 E 17th St.
Action: Javier L will connect them with source of sheep manure.  Jim L is master composter and will conduct training at later date.
* FRP will have a table at the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival on Oct 16 to recruite potential Neighborhood Resilience Teams and Resilience Champions.
Action: Most people plan to participate.  Tres has prepared Doodle <http://doodle.com/poll/c27htrz5gcpqzn59> for people to choose times.

Jim: Develop list of composting resources (TOG pamphlet, video on composting, etc.) and send to Tres
Tres: Create/add to FRP Information Portal information on how to compost in desert.
Javier: Will provide contact info on sheep manure

Raw notes:
Q: Is there interest in gardening in your NH?
JLoo: Not really.  Used to be.  Some discussion about restarting.  There may be a piece of property that could be used.

Q: Champions – What do you need?
JC: There is a garden on City property, but we need a NPO to sign lease with City.  Was working with CGT, but they have withdrawn.  Has talked with Regina Romero, but there are internal politics within NH.  Need to restart garden under NPO and it will get going.  There was conflict over gardening policy with CGT.  There are a lot of resources in place, but there is personal conflicts that are preventing someone from signing contract with City.
TE: Clear up NA issues and go to Regina’s office and ask what is next?  Send letter to NEST.

DM: 3 households, 4 people.  (DM, DJ, John Jorgenson)  On Monday, we are starting with a planting party.  Will purchase NS/S seeds and plant garden.  Are working on flyer.  Will be a distributed garden group.  Goal is to share work.  Distribute flyers and invite neighbors to see gardens.  A few kids and an elderly couple in area.  Can offer flyer.  Need compost.
Sources of compost: Tank’s Green Stuff will sell 1CY (you pick up) for $38.  Beryl Baker has small sheep herd and will gladly donate sheep manure.  TOG prepared a video on desert composting, and Jim is a Master Composter.  Javier has a 7 HP tiller that could be used.  Also a small tractor.
JLoo: ** There is a video and pamphlet on composting.  Could do class on composting, once DM are farther along
JLop: **  Will help ID manure sources.

DJ: Our neighborhood group is holding a work party at 2208 E 17th St, on Monday at 4pm

Food Resilience Project meeting notes (9/22/2016)

If you are interested in the next Champions Network meeting, fill out this Doodle link <http://doodle.com/poll/wkd2t3zhkzr9i5kp> and let us know your availability.  I will post the final date on the Feeding Tucson FB page.

The global Just-In-Time supply system has left us entirely unprepared for disruptions to our local food supplies, and Global Climate Change threatens long term global food supplies.  Communities will have to produce a significant fraction of their food in the future.

Metropolitan Tucson receives roughly 85 billion gallons of harvestable rainfall and has over 100,000 acres of land without structures. In theory, we could harvest more water than utilities pump from the ground and produce more food than Tucsonans eat.

As a result, neither water nor land impose the least upper limits on the amount of food we can produce.  We do.  The process of increasing our food resilience will allow us to create a more cohesive community, beautiful neighborhoods and lots of delicious food.

Twenty four people from all over Tucson and surrounding communities participated in the kickoff meeting of the Resilience Champions Network.

Five individuals/groups volunteered to be the first Neighborhood Champions and try to organize Neighborhood Resilience Teams in their neighborhoods.

Winston Larkins – Needs information in how to set up community garden
Josefina Cardinas – Needs to form or partner with 501(c)(3)
Donya Meggs/Dusty Jacobs/John Jorgenson – Wants guidance on how to contact neighbors
Gary Vender – Volunteered after meeting
Steve French – Volunteered after meeting

Initial information/services to help initial Neighborhood Resilience Teams
Winston – Assistance in setting up community garden
Josefina – Set up NPO to allow to keep community garden.  (NEST Inc could be fiduciary agent)
Donya/John/Dusty – Ways to meet neighbors & organize teams
Information Portal – Community contacts
Develop FAQ
Sources of free compost – may be course in how to do NH composting (TOG has DVD on composting in Tucson)
How to set up harvest potluck
How to set up work exchange
How to set up determine group’s capacities
How to set up buying co-op
How to set up community garden
Create template for flyers to announce kickoff meeting
Develop skills assessment tool for new groups – may be able to get ideas from former PRO Neighbors staff (Judith Anderson, Joanie Sawyer)

Additional issues
We need to set up several ways to communicate with people – email, FB, phone
Potential information source – FoodIsFree.org
Ask for answers to questions about what we want to do to help NRT

Future tool kit elemets
Need video on Gardening 1 (not even 101) – DM will check CFB
Develop tools for networking contacts

Market garden in central Tucson

By Brandon Merchant, with Tres English

The most recent gathering of the Feeding Tucson Champions’ Network took place on July 20 at Dreamflower Gardens located in the heart mid-town Tucson. Nearly two dozen peoplDreamflower Gardens - Urban market garden in Central Tucsone gathered for the tour guided by proprietors Lorien and Dale Teresy. Lorien and Dale have taken advantage of their ¾ acre location by creating a thriving market garden where they grow vegetables that they sell at farmer’s markets and at their own food stand located at the rear of their property. In addition to fresh produce, Dreamflower also grows and sells a variety of herbs and potted plants as well as seasonal flower arrangements. Some highlights of the tour included the newly expanded vegetable growing area located on the western edge of the property, both Lorien and Dale say that this added space will allow them to bring even more produce to market. Continue reading Market garden in central Tucson

UA Garden Kitchen – Seed to Table training

By Nick Quaglietta

The most recent meeting of the Feeding Tucson Champion’s Network took place on the morning of Saturday, June 28th and was devoted to an orientation and tour of The Garden Kitchen, which is located in South Tucson at 2205 S 4th Ave. This facility was opened two years ago and is a joint venture of Pima County and the UA Cooperative Extension service, which is part of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and is responsible for operating the Kitchen.

Ms. Louisa O’Meara, a first-year UA public health graduate student, provided the group with an IMG_0276overview of the history of The Garden Kitchen, a description of its educational programs, as well as a tour of the facility and garden. She also talked about their vision, which is to reduce the incidence of obesity and diabetes in adults-primarily those living in low-income areas. They strive to accomplish this by promoting a “seed-to-table” approach to Continue reading UA Garden Kitchen – Seed to Table training

Can we create a Food Oasis in the Sonoran Desert?


Tucson doesn't have any food.
Click to see video

Can we create a Food Oasis in the Sonoran Desert?  Do we care? Yes!

Check out this short presentation on why and how we can create a Secure Food Supply for Tucson — by making Tucson more beautiful!

Tucson receives over 85,000 gallons of useable rain per person in an average year.  The total is roughly 85 Billion gallons.  And essentially all of it is wasted!

Check out this short Powerpoint presentation and then join the Feeding Tucson Champions’ Network.

Join the fun! And help create a Tucson we can live with.