AJO REGIONAL FOOD PARTNERSHIP

Sponsored by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

  • The Ajo Regional Food Partnership (ARFP) is a remarkable collaboration of several organizations in Ajo and nearby working to create a truly local food system in Ajo and the surrounding region. Active ARFP members include:
    • Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture (ACSA)
    • Ajo Community Garden Consortium (ACGC)
    • Ajo Unified School District (AUSD)
    • Desert Senita Community Health Center (DSCHC)
    • Hia-Ced O’odham Alliance
    • International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA)
    • KAWO
    • Loma Bonita Orchard and Garden
  • ISDA has been a leadership team member in the formation and operation of the Ajo Regional Food Partnership (ARFP) since its beginning in 2010.
  • One of ISDA’s projects as an ARFP member has been the development and operation of the commercial kitchen which is part of the new Sonoran Desert Conference Center on the Curley School campus. ISDA’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs start and grow food businesses.  The kitchen is available to the community by the hour with technical assistance available in obtaining licenses, permits, etc.  ARFP members use the kitchen at a discounted rate.
  • ISDA manages the Get Going, Get Growing (4Gs) youth internship program that provides garden interns to ARFP members – young people are able to help and to learn gardening (and sometimes cooking skills) from older ARFP members.
  • ISDA also provides land at the Sonoran Desert Conference Center for ACSA’s Many Hands Urban Farm and for their chicken coop (fondly called the “chicken palace”).
  • Among ARFP’s accomplishments are:
    • By October 2015, ARFP had increased the area of land in cultivation to 48,400 square feet and the amount of produce harvested the previous year to 7,342 pounds.
    • An additional increase is projected for 2016, to 59,460 square feet in cultivation and 8,050 pounds of produce harvested.
    • In 2014, ARFP hosted the first annual Authentically Ajo Food Festival which grew in 2015 and is now to be held every spring in the Ajo Plaza
    • Every year, ARFP has leveraged the contributions from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, at least doubling the resources they have provided to Ajo with grants from USDA, private contributions, and a Kickstarter campaign.
  • ARFP is such a successful, long-term collaboration because partners have worked from the beginning in a Systems Change framework and with a Collaborative Impact model. The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona provided ARFP with truly invaluable training and support to work with these frameworks and helped us build a collaboration that has persisted through growth pains and conflicts and is even strong today.

ARFP-logoCreating gardens & health - interns photo

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