Best Of Tucson®

Best Use Of Federal Funding

Southside Food Production Network

STAFF PICK: Funded by all of us with a USDA Food Security grant, The Southside Food Production Network is a community development project that works with southsiders to promote urban agriculture, increase food distribution, and educate kids about rural agriculture. It's a fresh, vital project with tremendous grassroots support in an area that has been systematically ignored by the big grocery chains that provide the fresh produce so many of us take for granted. The network has a lot of projects going, including the community garden at the Food Bank; work with women's groups to promote home gardening; and a community garden in development at the Quincie Douglas Center. Before long they'll have a mobile produce market that will cruise southside neighborhoods like an ice-cream truck, buying and selling produce grown by neighbors. They're also active in southside schools. At Pueblo Gardens School garden, the kids have interviewed neighbors and created a neighborhood resource map showing who grows what. Youth teams of high schoolers are organizing to teach gardening to their peers, and taking middle- and high-school students on field trips to rural farms in the area.