After spending a lot of time learning about Tohono O’odham traditional agriculture in class and for my research paper, I finally got to listen to Arizona locals talk about personal experience and recent efforts in the field. Nina and Sterling from Ajo CSA came to talk to us about desert farming and desert foods, as well as show us what the small town of Ajo has been doing to try to revamp and restore the local food system. I surprisingly enjoyed the white tepary beans very much, even with the fact that we were eating them at 8:30 in the morning. Touring a dry field, I still do not understand how ANYTHING grows out here in the desert. I wonder how easy it would be to feed the whole world if all crops could grow without any water or reach harvest in just 60 days…
With the afternoon to explore and the evening to interact with locals, Ajo became my favorite place of the whole trip. The town has an impressive history, but one that unfortunately ended abruptly with the demise of the mining industry. With historical sites such as the Curley School and its accompanying art movements, the town has the potential to be something great again – something that locals and groups such as the ISDA are working hard to make come true. Hopefully this small southwestern town will find itself back on the map one day.
Maybe this is a stretch and would not be something that locals would like, but I think Ajo could be a great film site, just saying.
Ajo street murals