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 – October 8 am to 12 pm. $5 per person suggested donation.

New hours starting October 2018
Wednesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Guided tours available Tuesday through Sunday 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.

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


Mission Garden Open to Public
Saturdays 8 a.m. – Noon
(Starting in October 2018, we will be open Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Birding in the Garden (second Thursday of each month, 7 a.m. [8 a.m. starting November])
Wander the garden in search of birds with Kendall Kroesen.

Herbalist in the Garden (third Saturday of each month)
An expert from the Tucson Herbalist Collective answers questions about our herb gardens.

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


September 22, 8 – 10 a.m.
Dedication of the Michael Moore Medicinal Herb Garden
Four expert herbalists from the Tucson Herbalist Collective will have demonstrations and will be available to talk about the native Southwestern herbs in this part of Mission Garden. John Slattery, author of Southwest Foraging, will sign copies of his book.

September 29, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Tomato Workshop: Growing Tomatoes and Saving the Seeds!
Get some helpful tips and tricks to have a successful fall/spring harvest from your tomato plants.

September 29, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Borderlands Restoration Network Fundraiser at Mission Garden
Join Borderlands Restoration Network for an evening with author and ethnobiologist Gary Nabhan. Copies of Gary’s newly released book Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands & Communities will be available for purchase and signing. Food, drinks and music–suggested donation $20 at the door. R.S.V.P. requested by September 19th: or (520) 216–4148. More information on this Event Flier.

October 6, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mission Garden is Growing: Celebrate New Hours and Fall Events at Tucson’s Birthplace
Join us for this celebration of new hours and new opportunities in the garden. Music, snacks and the launch of Mission Garden exploration app called Agents of Discovery. Download Agents of Discovery at the App Store or Google Play. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

October 21, 3 – 5 p.m. (Date has changed from October 27–now on Sunday October 21)
Membrillo Fest
Join us again this year for our festival about all things quince! Membrillo Fest celebrates the return to our cuisine of this wonderful fruit! Fun for the whole family!

October 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (repeats November 17, 9 – 11 a.m.)
Rainwater Harvesting Class at Mission Garden
Join Watershed Management Group to learn about rainwater harvesting & why it’s important to our environment.

November 24 -26
Río Sonora Heritage Tour–TRIP NOW FULL, CALL (520) 955-5200 TO BE ON WAITING LIST

Rio Sonora Panorama, by Bill Steen

Rio Sonora Panorama, by Bill Steen

We are offering another of Mission Garden’s very successful Mexico trips, which combine wonderful sights, fascinating history and culture, and good food. For more information and itinerary, go to our trips page, or contact Mission Garden at (520) 955-5200 or
$750 ($100 extra for single supplement, availability is limited–call 520-955-5200 to confirm availability).
To register for the trip, download the Rio Sonora Tour registration form and waiver, print it out and send it to the address on the form. To pay for the trip, send in a check with your registration form or pay by clicking below.

Rio Sonora Trip: $750
Single Supplement: $100

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.

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

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).