Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace: Mission Garden

Support Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace


Mission Garden is a living agricultural museum of Sonoran Desert-adapted heritage fruit-trees, traditional local heirloom crops and edible native plants. We are a non-profit, volunteer-based educational organization. Our primary mission is to preserve, transmit and revive the region’s rich agricultural heritage by growing garden plots representative of more than 4000 years of continuous cultivation in the Tucson Basin.

Open Wednesday – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon
(October – March, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
$5 per person suggested donation.

Guided tours available Tuesday through Saturday (and Sunday with advanced notice) with a reservation (parties of 5 or more). $5 per person requested. For tours contact us at 520-955-5200 or

See photos of Mission Garden work and volunteers here.

EVENT SCHEDULE: More details on News and Events page.


Tai Chi in the Garden
Saturdays at 8 – 9 a.m. (cancels on mornings with temps below 50 F.)
Scott Risano from Wind River Tai Chi Chuan gives classes in the garden every Saturday.

Vermilion flycatcher

Vermilion flycatcher

Birding in the Garden
Second Thursday of each month, 8 – 10 a.m. 

Wander the garden and adjacent “A” Mountain Landfill in search of birds with Kendall Kroesen, Mission Garden Community Outreach Coordinator and Tucson Audubon Field Trip Leader.

Herbalist in the Garden
Third Saturday of each month, 8 – 10 a.m.
An expert from the Tucson Herbalist Collective will be at the garden to answer questions about the Mission Garden’s herb gardens, and the traditional uses of herbs.

Mano and metate

Mano and metate

Traditional Technologies in the Garden
Fourth Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Preservation Archaeologist Allen Denoyer gives visitors hands-on experiences with the kinds of ancient technologies archaeologists find evidence of in local excavations. These include atlatls, groundstone, “flintknapped” stone tools, and much more.

More details on these events can be found on our News and Events page.


Agave Heritage Festival Events at Mission Garden
Tuesday April 23, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.Panel Discussion: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation? Get different takes on the question of when it’s appropriate to use another culture’s traditions. Tickets. ($5)

Thursday April 25, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Live Demonstration: Agave Roasting and Agave Fiber Crafts. See agave hearts put in the rock-lined pit oven, and learn about extracting and using fiber from agave leaves. Jesus Garcia, Paul and Suzanne Fish. Tickets. ($45 adults)

Saturday April 27 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Agave Roasting Live Demonstration. We take the agaves out of the oven, learn about agave as a key food source, and understand better the Native American use of agaves. Paul and Suzanne Fish, Jesus Garcia, Carolyn Niethammer. Tickets. ($45 adults)

May 18, 2019, 8 – 11 a.m.
San Ysidro Festival
Join us to bring back to life the San Ysidro wheat harvest festival in Tucson. Join the procession, enjoy the music, and help us harvest, thresh, winnow, and mill white Sonora wheat, one of the first varities of wheat brought to the New World. Sample the feast dish for this traditional event, pozole de trigo. Bring your friends to this family-friendly event. Free!

August 21, 2019–TENTATIVE DATE
Tucson’s Birthday at Tucson’s Birthplace
Help us celebrate all that Tucson was and is at its birthplace.

September 21, 2019–TENTATIVE DATE
Pomegranate Festival
Help celebrate our harvest of white pomegranate. What’s a white pomegranate? Come see and taste!

October 19, 2019
Membrillo Fest
The quinces are ripe in October. Yum!

More details on these events can be found on our News and Events page.


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Important news about FOTB and Tucson Origins Heritage Park

More stories at the Press and Media page

New York Times article on 36 Hours in Tucson

AZ Daily Star article on grading of the Convento site

KVOA story about the same event:

Welcome, New York Times Readers!

Tucson was featured on the front page of the New York Times in celebration of our designation as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World City of Gastronomy. Mission Garden and FOTB played an essential role in gaining our home town that prestigious title, so we got both a photo and a nice nod in the article by Kim Severson.

Front overview

Mission Garden contains orchards and vegetable gardens representing Tucson’s 4,000 years of agricultural history. Credit Chris Hinkle for The New York Times

Not far from downtown, a nonprofit group is recreating a Spanish colonial walled garden like the ones Father Kino built. The Mission Garden project is a history lesson on four acres, tracing agricultural practices that began on the site with the Hohokam and Tohono O’odham tribes.

USA Today

“Chasing the sources in Tucson’s budding food scene,” by Ashley Day (August 19, 2016).

The Guardian

“Tucson, Arizona, cultivates its foodie reputation – with a nod from UNESCO,” by Kate Eshelby (July 17, 2016).