You are Here! Welcome to the Sonoran Desert, one of the most unique places on the planet! The beautiful saguaro cactus only grows here and bears delicious edible fruit, a staple and sacred food to indigenous people for thousands of years. The Sonoran Desert is the lushest and most biodiverse desert!
The Sonoran Desert region is located in the southwest US / northwest Mexico borderlands, and spans five states and two countries. There are seven distinct plant community subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert. Learn more about these subdivisions and the 5 seasons of the Sonora Desert here.
The Sonoran Desert region includes Sky Islands, isolated mountain ranges in a "sea" of low-desert valleys. Native Sky Islands plants grow at elevations between ~3000-9,000' and include riparian habitat species. Sky Island native foods include acorns, manzanita and juniper berries, wild grapes, mushrooms, greens, herbs.
The Arizona Uplands Subdivision of the Sonoran Desert has not 1 but 2 rainy seasons, which support the growth of food-bearing bean trees, columnar and segmented cacti, and other delicious and nutritious native plant foods. Arizona Uplands includes the city of Tucson, where Desert Harvesters is located, and surrounding areas.
Re-wilding urban spaces with food-bearing, drought-tolerant, native plant food forests, grown on harvested rainwater and greywater, increases food and water security in the community, one of Desert Harvesters main goals.
Appreciating the past: an ancient rain-filled bedrock mortar hole in the Tucson Mountains reminds us to honor the long, rich legacy of indigenous traditional knowledge, including wild food-harvesting, processing , and preparation practices.
Our Future: As "sunbelt" development continues beyond the survival capacity of drylands communities facing climate-change challenges, awareness is growing that sustainable solutions are needed. Local communities and organizations are empowering themselves and their youth to grow and harvest seasonal native and cultivated foods to enhance community health, connection to place, and to acknowledge and value traditional knowledge.
Five Seasons of the Sonoran Desert: The intense heat and aridity of Dry Summer (May-June) sends many residents off to cooler locales. However, this is one of the most abundant times for harvesting delicious foods from bean trees and cactus. Saguaro fruit harvest celebrates the coming monsoon with gratitude for the bounty of this place and prayers for rain.
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