Mission Garden Project
MISSION GARDEN PROJECT
Mission Garden is a re-creation of the Spanish Colonial walled garden that was part of Tucson’s historic San Agustin Mission. Located on its original site west of downtown Tucson at the corner of Mission Road and Mission Lane, the Garden features heirloom Sonoran Desert-adapted fruit orchards and vegetable gardens interpreting 4,000 years of agriculture in Tucson.
For the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace establishing, completing and operating Mission Garden is the first step towards creating Tucson Origins Heritage Park.
At the turn of this century archaeological excavations at the foot of Sentinel Peak, a sacred site the O’odham knew as S-cuk Son (pronounced Chuk Shon), and now popularly called “A” Mountain, revealed a fascinating story: this special floodplain along the Santa Cruz River represents a 4100-year history of agriculture, the longest known history of cultivation in the United States. We are immensely proud of this history and believe it deserves widespread recognition.
Following the initial planting of the Spanish Colonial Heritage Fruit Tree Orchard, in February and March 2012, Mission Garden is expanding to interpret the timeline of our remarkable agricultural story – starting with the Early Agricultural period and continuing with Hohokam, Pre-contact and Post-contact O’odham, Spanish, Mexican, Territorial and Statehood Chinese, Yaqui, Anglo and Afro American farming, and ending with Tomorrow Gardens to combine all the ancient knowledge with modern experimental solutions to the challenges we now face. There is also a Native Plant area–soon to include a Michael Moore Medicinal Garden–interpreting the wild edible and medicinal plants that local peoples have utilized for many millennia; and dedicated pollinator gardens providing habitat for beneficial insects, bats and birds. The Garden is a unique living agricultural museum that provides a singular outdoor learning experience for all who enter – students, residents, and tourists from around the world.
Mission Garden is a jewel in the necklace of historic sites surrounding Tucson’s downtown. As a truly extraordinary educational and tourism facility, Mission Garden is an increasingly significant local and regional amenity, an important contributor to Tucson’s designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, and a major player in Tucson’s economic development.
Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace is nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.