By Joy Hought, Executive Director. Published March 28, 2018.
Did you know that southern Arizona is home to the earliest documented agriculture in the United States? For over 4000 years the farmers of this region have sustained their communities by growing nutritious, desert-adapted crop varieties and using water-wise farming practices that respect the Sonoran desert’s delicate ecosystems. Today, agriculture in Arizona is highly productive, but places a priority on crops like cotton and alfalfa that consume large amounts of water in a time and place where water is an increasingly scarce resource.
At Native Seeds/SEARCH our mission is to ensure that regional farmers have access to locally-adapted crop varieties that can both nourish our communities and make more efficient use of limited water. Farmers like Jacob Butler, a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community who is teaching young people how to grow and prepare traditional foods; or La Plazita Institue, a non-profit organization in Albuquerque that trains future farmers in organic growing practices using both traditional seeds and modern crops. The NS/S collection houses nearly 600 diverse types of nutritious heirloom corn, 300 varieties of beans, and hundreds of hearty winter squashes- each of which has the potential to contribute to more sustainable water use on farmlands.Please remember to support Native Seeds/SEARCH on Arizona Gives Day, and vote with your dollars for a more sustainable agriculture. YOU can help us achieve a more water-wise future for our state by supporting the effort to grow and share more heirloom, desert-adapted seeds for Arizona’s farmers!