Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace: Mission Garden

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Mission Garden logo Seed


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. – 2 p.m.
CLOSED FOR HOLIDAYS on Wednesday December 26, 2018 and Wednesday January 2, 2019.
(April – September, Wednesdays – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon)
$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 call 520-955-5200 or email

See photos of Mission Garden work and volunteers here.

EVENT SCHEDULE: More details on News and Events page.


Tai Chi in the Garden (Thursday and Saturdays, 8 – 9 a.m.)
Teachers from Wind River Tai Chi Chuan give Tai Chi classes in the garden. $10

Birding in the Garden (second Thursday of each month, 8 a.m.)
Wander the garden in search of birds with Kendall Kroesen. Free. 

Herbalist in the Garden (third Saturday of each month, 9 – 11 a.m.)
An expert from the Tucson Herbalist Collective answers questions about our herb gardens. Free.

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


Teparies & mesquite, by Jesus Garcia

Teparies & mesquite (photo by Jesus Garcia)

Saturday December 1, 9 am – noon
Cooking Holiday Treats with Teparies and Mesquites
Tepary and mesquite beans were a major part of the Native America diet. Join us at Mission Garden to learn how to use these ancient foods in both savory and holiday baked goods. Sonya Norman of the Desert Museum will cover nutritional value of these foods, where to collect or purchase them, and their natural history. Includes lunch. This class is taught by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum at Mission Garden. Sign up here (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum).

Saturday December 15, 9 a.m. – noon
Christmas Tree Ornaments in the Garden
Learn to make Christmas tree ornaments from garden products like dried devil’s claw pods and dipper gourds.

Saturday February 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Pruning, Propagation and Grafting Workshop
Learn from expert Jesus Garcia how to prune deciduous fruit trees like pomegranate, fig and quince, and grape vines, and grow new trees from the cuttings. This year’s workshop will include information on grafting as well. $50.

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


dena-pomegranates2Teosinte 2squash 2ripening-grapes 2Figs cropped 2 - 2017

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).