Farmers, Ranchers, and Gatherers of the Southwest Arizona

Project Overview

The food heritage of the Southwest is as wild and rich as the imagination can conjure. Yet, surprisingly, many residents and visitors to Pima region aren’t familiar with the heritage practices, cultivation or sourcing associated with the key ingredients they enjoy in local products and restaurants.

The aim of the “Farmers, Ranchers, and Gatherers of the Southwest Arizona” project, promoted by Pima County and supported by ITKI US, Visit Tucson, Tucson City of Gastronomy and the University of Arizona, is to highlight and support the farmers, ranchers and native food gatherers (Knowledge Keepers).

Building awareness through stories of the Knowledge Keepers – Farmers, Ranchers and Native Plant Food Gatherers – who keep this region’s food heritage activities alive, can expand appreciation of their contributions to the regional food economy and more directly, to the critical roles they play in supporting community resilience.

Outcome of the project

The main outcomes of the project will be:

  • the production of “The Farmers, Ranchers & Gatherers of the Southwest (FRGSW)” Book, which will utilize and repurpose content loaded into the Creative Knowledge Platform (CKP), a digital library established for the larger umbrella project of the same name. This platform was developed by the non-profit, Institute of Traditional Knowledge in the U.S (ITKIUS), who manages and curates the content;
  • the production of a series of e-Booklets on food heritage traditions in the Southwest, which can serve as stand alone volumes or be assembled into a larger compendium for a limited edition print run.

The Book and e-Booklets will be available online, but may also be printed and placed for sale in the Southern Arizona Heritage Visitor Center for visitors to Tucson and the surrounding region interested to the project, newcomers to the territory, desert gardeners and growers; food artisans; and culinary enthusiasts from around the world.

Are you a knowledge keepers interested in participating in the project?

If you are a farmers, ranchers and native food gatherers and you are interested in participating in the project, click on the button below and fill out the contact form. 

Additional information

Process & Deliverables of the booklet

A project writer/editor, photo editor, digital designer, and production manager will all work together to select, assemble, and edit previously loaded Knowledge Keeper materials including audio transcripts. The designer, using Adobe Publisher, will develop a template and style guidelines that can be standardized and reused for each booklet produced. Once a number of booklets have been completed, they may be assembled into a larger compendium coffee table-style book and published in a limited edition print run. Since the booklets are produced digitally, they maybe updated annually or biennially to refresh the content and images to reflect the anticipated increase in participation of farmers, ranchers and gatherers in the Creative Knowledge Platform.

Project Team

Giuseppe Biagini, ITKIUS
Julie Robinson, Pima County
Mario Mazzeo, Tech Gap Italia
Felipe Garcia, Visit Tucson
Jonathan Mabry, Tucson City of Gastronomy


Pima County
Visit Tucson
Tucson City of Gastronomy
University of Arizona
Tech Gap Italia
Along with the support and involvement of a number of Knowledge Keeper
Advisors, such as Don Guerra with Barrio Bread.