News & Events

Sunflower fiesta

August 20, 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

Bebidas, Botanas
and Birthday Cake

Celebrate Tucson’s 242 Birthday with Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace


Thanks to your support our annual fundraising event is more and more delightful as our Garden grows! Don’t miss it this year! Spend an evening in the Garden enjoying traditional foods, drinks and birthday cake. Support Mission Garden, Tucson’s Agricultural Heritage Museum.


Adults: $40
Under 12: $12



Sonora Tour to Benefit Mission Garden – Cultivating the Desert – Nov. 17-19, 2017

Join The Mission Garden on a fabulous weekend exploring the fertile Magdalena and Altar river valleys in Sonora.


MG sonoran orchards tour 16


Led by multi talented biologist, horticulturist, musician, anthropologist and storyteller Jesus Garcia.
Also sharing her wisdom and expertise will be enviro-ethno-historian, archeologist and nature conserveteur, Diana Hadley.

Trincheras aerial pic

We’ll follow into the footsteps of legendary Jesuit missionary, explorer, cartographer, and agriculturist Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. Taking a road less traveled through pristine Upland Sonoran desert to the beautiful pueblitos of Tubutama and Oquitoa.

We overnight in Heroic Caborca. Early evening cocktail party with Jesus serenading us with his favorite corridos, followed by dinner.


The following morning we’re up early to visit an impressive collection of petroglyphs just outside Caborca.
Afterwards, we explore the archeological site at Trincheras where a distinct desert culture existed in the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. A.D. 800 – AD 1450. We visit the newly constructed Interpretation Center before ascending the site. We discover the distinct stone terraces covering small mountainsides and providing living and garden spaces as well as defensive fortifications.

We finish the day at Jesus’ family home in Magdalena de Kino. We’re treated to an authentic Garcia family dinner party. We spend the night at one of Magdalena’s newest hotel properties.


Sunday morning we’ll spend time in the bustling Plaza of Magdalena, featuring Father Kino’s Mausoleum and the chapel of St. Francis Xavier.

Enjoy wonderful pastry from the bakery and a delightful Sonoran morning in the public square.
Afterwards, we travel to San Ignacio for a visit with Casimiro Sanchez who operates a small-scale orchard near the Río Magdalena, a veritable oasis in the desert. Jesus will share the seasonally ripe fruit.





Our lunch is traditional carne con chile in the backyard of Doña Chata Gallegos, whose family has been hosting groups since the 1960s. We’ll take time to visit the plaza and church before retuning to the border and Tucson.

ETA Tucson 6:00 pm
Departure is from the Mission Garden at 7:30 am. Mexican pastry and coffee served.

Tickets: $495
Single Supplement: $50

Limited space available. Reserve yours now!
Questions? Write to

Oaxaca Tour October 3-10, 2017

7-day tour of Oaxaca with Mission Garden

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 20, 2017! Contact Phil Hall at

October 3-10, 2017


Travel to Hidden Oaxaca – a unique learning journey

With Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace


Jardín Etnobotánico

This exquisite garden in the former Templo de Santo Domingo, features native
plants from throughout the state of Oaxaca, with staggering varieties of cacti
and ancient medicinal plants. A demonstration of Oaxaca’s biodiversity,
the garden portrays 10,000 years of civilization through plants.line-star-line4oaxaca15-2



TOURS: Monte Albán, Teotitlán del Valle, Cuajimoloyas, Mitla, Tlacolula, Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, El Tule.
VISITS: regional local markets, carving village, weaving village, art exhibitions, indigenous villages.
TRIP INCLUDES: transportation from Tucson, lodging, breakfasts, 5 lunches,
3 dinners, local transportation, cultural & agricultural expert guides & fees.
Gratuities not included. Alcohol not included.
COST: $3500/person; single supplement $300 extra; a portion will be tax deductible.
“This is the most amazing week of travel I’ve ever experienced,”
“I can’t imagine that my memories of the trip to Oaxaca will ever fade.”
“The food alone was worth the trip!”

Testimonials from previous trips

Dear Fellow Garden Lover:

What a great year we’ve had this year. Here is a list of our accomplishments in a nutshell:

• Our brand new Garden map and brochure shows all our progress and we’ve mailed copies to many of you. You’ll read that this year we have:

• Hosted educational programs for Tucson’s multiplicity of student and public groups, conducting workshops on:

  • Heritage Fruit Tree Pruning and Propagation;
  • Cholla Bud Harvesting and Preparation;
  • Orange Marmalade Cooking and Canning;
  • Agave History and Hohokam Trinchera Construction;
  • Identification of Orchard Birds; and
  • Heritage Seed Selection and Saving.

We’ve hosted students and the public for Latino Conservation Week, Salpointe Impact Week, Archaeology Underneath the Garden, Edible Baja Arizona, the Society of Ethnobiology Conference – partnering with many organizations including Tucson Audubon, Tucson Meet Yourself, Tohono O’odham Community College for their Youth Agriculture Day, Envisioning Sustainable Tucson, the TENWEST Festival, TUSD’s Fig Fest; and the National Phenology Network for site monitoring, Community Foodbank, Las Milpitas atl Cottonwood Farm, the Himdag Ki Tohono O’odham Cultural Center, Native Seeds/SEARCH, the Chinese Cultural Center, the Environmental Education Exchange, the Ironwood Tree Experience, Arizona State Museum, Pima County Public Seed Library, Goodwill Good Futures, and Iskashitaa Refugee Network.

• Constructed our new Education Center, new Demonstration Kitchen, new Event Ramada; and best of all new Flush Toilets and Restrooms. We’ve also re-constructed the historic Chihuahuan granary, expanded our irrigation system, installed electricity and sewer systems. And we’ve dedicated our first of five species-specific pollinator gardens.

• Celebrated traditional agriculture and foodways: In May – the San Ysidro Planting Festival; in August – Tucson’s Birthday; in September – Pomegranate Preparation; in October – the Membrillo Fest, and we even had time to organize another of our now-famous Learning Journeys to Historic Oaxaca. Join us next year and every year to honor Tucson through these traditional celebrations, and to go on some of our Learning Journeys to Sonora and historic farms in Arizona.

• Last but not least, Mission Garden was a major inspiration for Tucson receiving the honor of being designated the very first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, a wonderful recognition of how we have celebrated the amazing longevity and the historical depth of our agricultural heritage at Mission Garden

We’ve worked so hard, we’re exhausted just reading about it, but we did receive a number of awards for all our successful work. So here’s our quick request to you. Please help us pay for all this expansion, beautification, increased efficiency. This year we received generous funding from the Rio Nuevo District for infrastructure construction, but it’s not enough to complete some of the most important historic reconstructions, like the acequia and the final Timeline Gardens. We rely on your volunteer work and donations to continue our planting, pruning, seed collection, maintenance and operations, and we count on your donations to complete our ambitious Garden design.

Please donate today!