Our Devonian and Mesozoic Neighbors We are fortunate to live in a vibrant and diverse barrio of people, art, food, community, and urban ecology. It’s not hard to miss... and be a part of! Even in our back yards, we host plants and animals native to our world-renowned Sonoran Desert: a desert of neo-tropical origin. Our desert is only a baby at 5-8 million years old. If you’ve walked your dog, sat on your porch, watered your garden, ridden your bike, or simply looked out your window, you’ve very likely observed a lizard, a toad, or (if you’re lucky) a snake. I’d like to think we have one of the most herp-diverse barrios in Tucson.
This year's mesquite milling and pancake brunch went very well. The weather that was hard on the previous day's El Tour de Tucson participants cleared for a beautiful day on Sunday. Many hundreds of people came out in the morning with over 1000 pancakes consumed and large quantities of mesquite pods turned into tasty and healthy food.
The afternoon PorchFest also was also a great success with a lot of fun and enjoyment had by all. Over 30 bands participated and many hundreds of people took over the streets of Dunbar/Spring to listen.
Please join the historic Dunbar/Spring neighborhood for an afternoon of celebrating local musicians, food trucks, and the incredible fall weather in conjunction with the annual Mesquite Milling Extravaganza located in our one and only Dunbar/Spring community garden.
Tucson Porch Fest celebrates local neighborhoods and musical talent in a family friendly environment.
Here are some suggestions for enjoying Tucson Porch Fest:
This is a leave no trace event. Please pack all of your trash and bring your own reusable water bottle! Bring warm clothes!
RAIN HARVESTING: Harvesting rain is a passion for many residents living in the Dunbar Spring neighborhood, north of downtown Tucson. Brad Lancaster and his neighbors share a few innovative ways to make the most of the rain that does fall in the desert. They also offer compelling perspectives on why rainwater harvesting is so important.
Over the Summer, with a small grant and help from Ironwood Tree Experience (and many neighborhood volunteers), a group of residents was able to fix several serious and ongoing issues plaguing the community garden.
Our initial efforts were to clean up garbage, weeds, and invasive bermuda grass. Our second effort was to fix irrigation problems. We spent a very long day digging trenches and replacing aging, leaking irrigation lines. These efforts will save water resources as well as money for the neighborhood, community garden, and the Dunbar Project.
Brad Lancaster describes the strip of vegetation beside the sidewalk outside his Tucson, Arizona home as “an orchard and a pharmacy.” The desert ironwood tree has peanut flavored seeds and blooms that make a delicious salad garnish. Creosote is good for athlete’s foot. Chuparosa has a red flower that tastes like cucumber. The barrel cactus’s yellow fruit can be used for chutneys or hair conditioner. Mesquite pods make nutritious flour. And many more. Depending on the season, Lancaster gets 10 to 20 percent of his food from this sidewalk garden, and another in his yard.
Lancaster grew up in the desert outside Tucson. He and his brother often played in the sand until, one day, the suburbs of nearby Tucson engulfed his neighborhood and there was no more desert to play in. Now, he’s trying to integrate a desert playground into the city.
“We’re trying to bring the desert into the urban core. Not a survival desert or desert of scarcity, but a thrival desert of abundance,” he said.
By we, Lancaster means the Dunbar Spring neighborhood, home to about 900 people dispersed over six urban blocks in Tucson. Through rainwater harvesting, Dunbar Spring is reaping sustenance—both caloric and communal—from a landscape that others see as stingy.
Water-harvesting, traffic-calming chicane clean up party - this Saturday, August 10 at 8am. Meet at the intersection of 9th Ave and 1st Street. Bring water, pruning shears, and gloves.
We will work together to spruce up some of our streets' chicanes and circles. Brad Lancaster will show you how to identify the plants we want to keep (native wildflowers, native grasses, and good trees) and the plants we want to take out (weeds, invasive grasses, weed trees). We'll also show you how to prune and replant. We can also help provide new plants where needed.