Borderlands Heritage Foods Field School

Learning traditional methods of harvesting and cooking the foods of Baja Arizona.

September 12, 2013

GleaningsIssue 2: September/October 2013

Looking for hand-on lessons in traditional methods of harvesting, cooking, and preserving the abundance of foods found in the Baja Arizona foodshed? Look no farther than the Borderlands Heritage Foods Field School, where you can travel to sites where these methods are practiced and work alongside farmers, growers, gleaners, and gatherers.

The field school is the brainchild of J.P. Jones, the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. “We want to reinforce the land grant mission of the University,” says Rafael de Grenade, a post-doctoral research assistant who is working on the project with Jones. “We want to make sure that the resources of the university are brought to the people of the surrounding region so that they are able to feed themselves.” Lydia Breunig, Director of Community Outreach and Special Projects at the college, is also a part of the project, as are several non-profits.

De Grenade adds, “[We’re] bringing together the science, the technology, the innovation, the human capital, the human capacity; connecting people with farmers and ranchers.” The field school is about making connections between traditional practices and modern living.

Monthly classes will include field trips to the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace Mission Garden, the Tumacacori Mission orchard, Sonoita Vineyards, as well as other regional farms and gardens. Participants will learn about food unique to the area including White Sonora wheat, mission grapes, Pima lima beans and tepary beans, mission figs, and other fruits and vegetables, as well as field research methods such as mapping, interviewing, photography, and ethnography. ✜

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