Mission We are dedicated to creating and supporting regenerative local food systems. Through community engagement, education and project-based assistance, we intend on empowering low-income communities and creating equitable, affordable food access throughout Arizona.
Increase food security in low income communities and mitigate food deserts by creating and supporting projects that provide low-income communities with equitable, affordable, convenient access to healthy foods.
Provide education to Arizonans on best practices for growing, eating and recycling healthy foods
Provide support to local farmers, distributors and vendors to strengthen the local food economy by increasing the amount of food that is grown and consumed locally
Creighton Community Foundation
Alhambra School District, Phoenix
Fowler Elementary School District, Phoenix
Los Ninos Elementary, Tempe
Kyrene del Norte Elementary, Tempe
Broadmor Elementary, Tempe
The Urban Farm
City of Phoenix
Current and Planned Projects
Broadmor Learning Patch (Fall 2020)
AZSA began working at the Broadmor Learning Patch in cooperation with the Garden Committee, PTA, and Broadmor faculty and staff to coordinate garden workdays with AZSA volunteers through our Help-A-Farm program; recruit, train, supervise, and evaluate AZSA interns from Arizona State University to assist with garden maintenance and garden-based learning; and coordinate schedules and train garden volunteer educators to facilitate DIG IT! Outdoors garden curriculum with Broadmor classes.
Food Tech for the Future: Growing Digital Farmers Program The Food Tech For the Future: Growing Digital Farmers Program introduces students, teachers, volunteers and the community to the world of food computers. The innovative nature of this project will inspire local engagement from tech industries, and also global support from giants like Google. This program will be highly interactive and students will have the chance to build their own food computer, conduct plant growth experiments, share the data globally and learn about biology, genetics, technology and robotics through first-hand experience.
Students will continue studying food technology in college and continue on to ensure that global food needs are being met. This program is meant to educate, engage, and inspire young adults into thinking critically about sustainability issues and creating solutions based on well founded science, research and technology.
Sow It Forward: Vertical Garden Program This is an expansion of the vertical garden projects. The goal of the program is to create opportunities to expand access to healthy foods beyond the classrooms that have vertical gardens. This will be done through creation of farmers markets within the schools and increased vertical gardens within individual schools. Check out ourSow it Forward Resource Guidefor step by step guidance on how to start a vertical garden program in your school
Help-A-Farm AZSA hopes to not only support local farms, but to also strengthen the local food culture, and therefore economy, in Maricopa County. The overall goals for this project include:
Helping one farm a month for the first months with farm productions labor
Learning more about what type of help AZSA is able to provide to farms
Create relationships with local farms to build on in future projects
Connect our community to local farms and gardens to strengthen local food culture
This project aims to strengthen our local food community through farm support. We will not only be providing support to farms in the form of labor, but we will also be providing an experience to volunteers, who will be able to learn about the farms, food, and the process it takes to grow it. We hope that we can engage people from our community to take part in the program and learn more about their local food system.
By connecting our community with local farms, and teaching people more about what it takes to grow food, we hope we can create a greater perceived value of locally grown food among our volunteers. This will ideally inspire volunteers to source more of their produce from local farms, in support of all the work that they do.
Fowler Elementary School District – Sow it Forward: Vertical Garden Project This project aimed to increase food education and security in Fowler Elementary School District (FESD) through the use of vertical, aeroponic Tower Gardens. The project created and supported a food growing curriculum throughout an entire school district located predominantly within Maricopa County food deserts, thereby also strengthening food access for the students and teachers. The aim of this project was to teach kids how to grow food through alternative gardening methods, to create the space and access for students to experiment with growing and eating nutritious food, and to provide the schools with a source of fresh produce for students, staff, and family.
Kyrene del Norte Elementary – Sow it Forward: Vertical Garden Project This garden was funded by FIGG Community Gardens. Two first-grade classes helped us set up and install the gardens, creating food education and access for over sixty students.
Los Ninos Elementary – Sow it Forward: Vertical Garden Project Funded by The City of Tempe, this garden also supports a first-grade class in Tempe. Our first two classroom gardens convinced us of the value of Tower Gardens as an educational tool and source of fresh, healthy food for students.
Grow-My-Own Partnering With a local refugee assistance organization, AZSA supplied a garden to two local refugee families in need of food assistance. The food in the gardens was chosen by the families to help provide for their individual family food needs.
Memorial Union Restaurant at ASU – Sustainable Tower Gardens Engrained in Memorial Union at Arizona State University- AZSA assisted this sustainability-focused restaurant in securing ten tower gardens for the patio of their restaurant. These gardens not only provide fresh food access to local college students, but also promotes the concept of urban agriculture and food sovereignty.
This month’s Backyard Garden Spotlight focus is Anne Till. However, both backyard and garden are understatements—it’s more like a food forest surrounding her house! Needless to say, I didn’t need a GPS to find her