Nurturing Generations Through the Garden

YRPC members Cruz Lasiloo (left) and Tizoc Lopez (right) hold garden tools that they were using to plant seeds in the garden.

Several groups of seniors and youth gathered for a multi-department collaboration event at the Scottsdale Community College (SCC) Indigenous Cultural Center (ICC) and Garden on March 9 called Nurturing Generations Through the Garden.

Staff from the college’s American Indian Program Center for Native and Urban Wildlife and garden volunteers worked side by side at the garden with staff members from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community departments and divisions Health & Wellness, Senior Services, Young River People’s Council (YRPC), Nutrition Services, Diabetes Prevention Services, Public Health–Health and Human Services and the Cultural Resources Community Garden program.

The event was held at SCC because there is construction currently going on near the Salt River Community Garden, according to community health educator Karina Watson with HHS Diabetes Prevention Services.

“March is National Nutrition Month. And with that we wanted to do something more intimate with our Community members in a small group to get more of the reflecting and teaching one-on-one,” said Watson.

The groups began the morning by exploring the different garden plots, learning from both Community Garden staff and SCC garden volunteers about how to plant and harvest a variety of vegetables.

“First we went to one of these gardens and picked beets and carrots,” said 13-year-old Tizoc Lopez, a YRPC member, who said that he wants to now start a garden for his mother. “They said it was good to eat, so I was eating it a lot, like a llama.”

Lopez said that he also learned about trapping animals in the garden, what time of year to plant different veggies, and some valuable lessons from elders.

After spending time in the garden, the groups traveled back to ICC for a nutrition and recipe-making session led by Watson along with River People Health Center dietitians Derek Vidinha and Katherine Latour. Next was a cultural presentation and meal sharing led by Kahneena Jones of the Senior Services Vitality Team, Health and Wellness Program Director Celinda Joe, and Senior Services Vitality Team recreation coordinator James Nunez.

In the cultural presentation, the group learned vocabulary words in O’odham and Piipaash for the different foods planted in the garden.

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