"It's so rewarding to be able to feed myself from the land."

Raymond's Story

I had the same mentality as other people—you can just go to the grocery store, why grow food? It didn’t occur to me that the Tohono o'Odham were agricultural people, that growing food is part of my culture. I never thought about it until the garden workshops with the Food Bank.

The Garden Program workshops are really comfortable and the people who teach them are very friendly and knowledgeable. You can learn a lot—not just from the people teaching but from everybody around. People get to know each other—they share recipes and ideas. They’ll come to your house and help you install your garden.

It’s hard work, but it feels good when you plant a seed that’s so small, and then next thing you know it has fruit on it and you think, wow! I raised that, and now we can eat it.

The health benefits are the most important thing that is coming out of the garden. It’s not processed. It’s fresh. And for me, it’s a way of connecting with my roots and with the land—I can grow traditional foods, foods people have been growing for thousands of years.

Raymond learned about the Food Bank’s Garden Program through an environmental biology course at Pima Community College. The program helps people interested in growing their own food by providing resources and know-how. After attending some workshops, Raymond was rooted in the program.