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Famine-Stricken Tarahumara Reunited with Native Seeds from NS/S Collection

The Tarahumara Indians occupy remote slopes and deep canyons of the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, where they have retreated from the oppression of the modern world. Also known as the Rarámuri, or “foot-runners,” they are renowned long-distance runners with incredible endurance often fueled by consuming pinole made from their traditional popcorn and energy-boosting drinks from their native Chia seeds. They are also highly proficient dry-land subsistence farmers growing diverse crop varieties from seed handed down through generations.

Tepary Bean Recipe Handout Page 1
Tepary Bean Recipe Handout Page 2

Tarahumara families grow nearly all their own food, relying on the beneficence of nature for their survival. However, a decade-long drought combined with unseasonable cold snaps has challenged even the resourcefulness of these indigenous farmers and their hardy seeds. These climate extremes have taken a toll on the Tarahumara, who are now facing serious food shortages after repeated crop failures. As the crisis deepens, desperation has set in. Some villagers are beginning to leave their traditional lives to find work in the cities, while others struggle to survive on dwindling reserves.

The Story of Glass Gem Corn: Beauty, History, and Hope

If you’ve spent any time online recently, you might have noticed a striking photo making its rounds. Feast your eyes on Glass Gem corn: a stunning, multi-colored variety that has taken Facebook and the blogosphere by storm. With its opalescent kernels glimmering like rare jewels, it’s easy to see what the buzz is about. This is some truly mind-blowing maize.

For the staff here at Native Seeds/SEARCH, the viral explosion of interest in Glass Gem has been thrilling—but not surprising. As the proud stewards of this variety (along with the bioregional seed company, Seeds Trust) we are lucky enough to have grown and admired this extraordinary corn ourselves. Rest assured, this is no Photoshop sham. It is truly as stunning held in your your hand as it is on your computer screen. When you peel back the husk from a freshly harvested ear to reveal the rainbow of colors inside, it’s like unwrapping a magical present. And this is a gift that is meant to be shared far and wide.

Upcoming Events

Native Seeds/SEARCH Events

2-Day Introduction to Seed Saving

March 24th-25th, 2018
9 AM - 4:30 PM
NS/S Conservation Center, 3584 E. River Rd. Tucson, AZ
Two-day course on all things seeds! This course is for gardeners, farmers, herbalists, nurseries, CSAs, non-profits, government agencies and everyone concerned with regional, sustainable and diverse agriculture.
Details here.

Spring Plant Sale

April 6-8th, 2018
10 AM - 5 PM
NS/S Retail Store 3061 N. Campbell Ave. Tucson, AZ 85719
Spring plant starts available for sale! We will have tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, herbs and much more, both from our collection and staff or vendor favorites. As always, members get 10% off their whole purchase. If you sign up the day of the sale, you will get a one-time 15% off deal. Stay tuned to our Facebook page or stop into the store for plant variety lists as they become available from our growers.
**Members-only hour from 9 AM - 10 AM on Friday, April 6th.
Event Page

Container Gardening Workshop

April 15th, 2018
2 PM - 4 PM
NS/S Conservation Center, 3584 E. River Rd. Tucson, AZ
This hands-on workshop will show the simplicity of gardening in containers, whether you have limited space or wish to enhance a large garden. For the avid cook, create a mixed herb garden to provide fresh seasonal herbs throughout the season; veggie gardeners with limited space can find compact varieties ideal for container growing; delight butterflies and other pollinators as they visit a profusion of colorful plants in a container. We'll discuss what type and size container to use, soil recommendations, proper care and maintenance, and planting native perennial plants in containers for year-round color and fragrance. This workshop is hands-on; be prepared to get dirty! Wear comfortable gardening clothes, bring gardening gloves and a hat. Water will be provided.
Reserve your spot.


Where to find Native Seeds/SEARCH in the community

Come visit us at community events throughout the Southwest. Contact us at if you are interested in hosting NS/S at a community event such as a public talk, festival, or farmer's market.  Please include location, time, possible honorarium, and details about the type of audience and expected number of individuals. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

Desert Native Bees Workshop

Saturday, March 17, 2018
9 AM - 10 AM
Phoenix Public Market (see below)

Saturday, March 24, 2018
2 PM - 3 PM
Saguaro Library Meeting Room, 2808 N 46th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Event Page

This workshop empowers you to create an environment that fosters successful native bee populations in gardens, orchards, and natural spaces. Learn about these vital pollinators by reviewing basic information about native bees and their contribution as pollinators, focusing on key species and their life cycles, and reviewing best plants for native bees. Information and examples of how to make your own native bee nest from repurposed materials will be presented so that you can start attracting native bees in your area. Facilitator is Bill McGuire, a desert gardener, and native bee enthusiast. Bill is on the Board of Directors for Native Seeds/SEARCH, a regional agricultural seed conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona.

Basics of Saving Seeds in Your Vegetable and Flower Gardens

Saturday, April 21st
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Agave Public Library, 23550 N. 36th Ave, Glendale, AZ
Have you wanted to learn more about how to save seeds from your garden but not sure how to get started? Then join us for an introduction to the basics saving seeds including reasons why you should, basic botany for gardeners, tool and equipment recommendations, and tips and tricks to get the most out of saving seeds. Saving seeds from your delicious and best producing vegetables and beautiful flowers provides locally adapted seeds for your own garden needs and a nearly limitless supply to share with your community.
Event Page

An Evening with Janos: Celebrating Tucson's Culinary Master

Saturday, April 27th
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
The Carriage House, 125 South Arizona Avenue, Tucson
A fundraising dinner brought to you by the Native Seeds/SEARCH celebrating renowned Tucson chef, Janos Wilder and his 25+ year commitment to the Tucson culinary and non-profit scene. Pulling from the Janos recipe archives, a selection of Tucson's local chefs who have worked alongside or draw inspiration from Janos collaborate on this heritage dinner. Enjoy an agave inspired cocktail happy hour, 4 course wine dinner, & silent auction.
Purchase Tickets

Phoenix Public Market - Pop-up Shop and Workshop

Every 3rd Saturday 
8 AM - 1 PM
721 N Central Avenue (Central and McKinley)
Join us for a pop-up shop during the weekly Saturday farmer's market. We will have seeds for our favorite varieties to plant in the Phoenix area, heritage food products, and information for you to succeed with your garden. Occasionally we will also have seasonally appropriate plant starts. Facebook Event









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