Hiv[h]ai is the O’odham word for sunflower. Kai means seed.
For Addy, teaching kids in the GuVo district of the Tohono O’odham Nation about growing food is about more than just having something fresh to eat.
“It’s about investing in long-term food sovereignty,” says Addy, “and reasserting our traditional food systems, our culture, and our language.”
Addy is the Garden Coordinator with the Native American Advancement Foundation (NAAF), an organization working in the rural GuVo district to improve education, health and wellness, and food sustainability. Today, local kids are
harvesting massive sunflowers and sharing their protein-rich seeds.
As a recipient of our Thriving Communities Grant, the NAAF has been able to build Ruth’s Garden, a community space named for an honored elder, where the community comes together to grow foundational Tohono O’dham foods like bawi (tepary beans), hun (corn), and ha:l (squash).
“It has really kicked off energy in the community for growing and cooking and working together to be healthier,” says Addy.
“My favorite thing is evening time in the garden,” says Addy. “The way the sun sets on the plants, and the way it all smells. You look forward to tomorrow. To the future you’re growing.”