Thursday, January 10, 3:30-4:30, The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Did you know that agriculture in the Tucson area has been thriving for more than 4,000 years? And that the original 4-acre garden of the San Agustin Mission has been recreated on its original site in west Tucson? The walled Mission Garden Project, on Mission Road near “A” Mountain, cultivates heirloom fruit orchards and vegetable gardens that interpret the agricultural history of our region. It is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In his lecture, Kendall Kroesen, Community Outreach Coordinator for Mission Gardens, will describe today’s cultivated enclosure and the historical eras and ethnic groups that it represents.

 At the turn of this century, archaeological excavations at an ancient site that the O’odham called S-cuk Son (pronounced Chuk Shon) revealed that this special floodplain along the Santa Cruz River represents a 4100-year history of agriculture, the longest known history of cultivation in the United States. The major prehistoric cultures, the O’odham people, the Spanish colonists and missionaries, and Mexican, Anglo, and Chinese populations all contributed to the development of agriculture here. An offshoot of the Friends of Tucson Birthplace organization, the Mission Garden Project seeks to interpret that timeline in a living garden, whose development is still underway, constructed on a former landfill west of I-10.

 Kendall’s Kroessen’s rich background makes him uniquely qualified to interpret the significance of the Garden. Doctoral research in Cultural Anthropology at UC San Diego involved almost two years of research in Mexico, and led to post-doctoral research positions at UCLA and the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center. Prior to joining the Mission Garden staff, Kendall worked with the Tucson Audubon Society, performing a wide variety of tasks including communications, habitat restoration, and urban outreach. He enjoys gardening, birding and walking dogs with his wife Mary Beth Tyndall, a cellist and music teacher.

 —Written by Nancy Green, Academy Village Volunteer


Jan 10: 4,000 Years in 4 Acres: Tucson’s Mission Garden