Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace: Mission Garden

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 Saturdays:
April through November 8 am to 12 pm
December through March 10 am to 2 pm

See photos of Mission Garden work and volunteers hereFor guided tours call 520-955-5200 and leave message or email

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

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Birding Mission Garden
Wednesday March 21, 2018, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Join Mission Garden Outreach Coordinator Kendall Kroesen for a walk around Mission Garden to see what birds are using the garden! Suggested donation for visiting the garden is $5. Contact Kendall for more information:, 520-971-2385.

Cotton and Wool Spinning Demonstration
Saturday March 24, 2018, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Gayle Hartmann demonstrates how to spin cotton into thread. She will talk about the differences between modern cotton and the Native American cotton that is grown in the garden. You can participate by separating seeds from cotton and learning how to card both cotton and wool. Suggested donation for visiting the garden is $5 / person. The garden will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Adobe Brick Workshop
Saturday March 24, 2018, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Our adoberos (adobe brick-making team) will be making bricks again for a new wall in the garden. Come help them and learn the subtle art of making bricks from mud! Suggested donation for visiting the garden is $5 / person. The garden will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Culinary and Medicinal Herb Open House
Saturday March 31, 2018, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Expert on Southwestern medicinal herbs, Donna Chesner, and native food maven Martha Burgess, will be at the Mission Garden talking about traditional Southwestern herbs. Martha will prepare healthful treats before your eyes and provide tastes of native foods and teas. Donna will give tours of the healthful herbs and foods in various parts of the garden, including our two herb gardens. Suggested donation for visiting the garden is $5 / person. The garden will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tour of Hohokam Agave Plantation
Friday April 27, 8 – 11 a.m.
Paul Fish and Suzanne Fish, professors of anthropology and curators of archaeology at the Arizona State Museum, lead a guided tour of a Hohokam agave field complex on the slopes of the Tortolita Mountains north of Tucson. Learn about the history of ancient Tucson agave cultivation and the role it played in Hohokam settlement and economy.  Bring desert walking shoes, water, and a hat. Space is limited. $30. Purchase tickets here.

Opening of the Agave Roasting Pit
Saturday April 28, 5 – 8 p.m.
Celebrate the opening of the agave roasting pit and taste roasted agave fresh from the earth oven! Paul and Suzanne Fish, professors of anthropology and curators of archaeology at the Arizona State Museum, will explain the prehistoric use of the agave plant. Jesus Garcia of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum opens the earth oven, demonstrating the ancestral practice of agave roasting. Carolyn Niethammer will demonstrate how to cook agaves at home. There will also be agave spirit tasting interpreted by Doug Smith from Exo Roast Co. Space is limited. $45 ($15 under 21). Purchase tickets here.

San Ysidro Festival
Saturday May 19 (time TBA)
Come celebrate our harvest of White Sonora Wheat. See the harvested wheat, threshing and winnowing. More information coming soon.


Recent news about FOTB and Tucson Origins Heritage Park:

AZ Daily Star article on grading of the Convento site

KVOA story about the same event:

Welcome, New York Times Readers!

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, 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).