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Contact: Sue Walter, 520-387-6849
Ajo, Arizona - Jesús García, Director of the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project will present a program on the establishment and interrelatedness of the agricultural history of the Kino Missions. The free program will be held at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center on Tuesday November 15 at 10:00 am.
The Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project (www.desertmuseum.org/center/kinofruittrees.php), based at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, aims to research, locate, propagate, and re-establish historically accurate fruit cultivars from the mission era. From a cultural history perspective, the establishment of European-style orchards and fields by Spanish missionaries catalyzed a process of agricultural transformation for native Tohono O’odham and Mexican farmers. These trees represented a critical part of the fusion of cultures that took place on mission lands around the Southwest.
During the 17th and early 18th centuries, Jesuit missionaries such as Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and later Franciscans introduced European fruit trees to New Spain, now the United States–Mexico borderlands. These trees included pomegranates, figs, quinces, and olives. Together, they were a significant part of the mission community’s agriculture, which also included grape vineyards, grain fields, vegetable and medicinal gardens, and livestock.
The story of these trees is already helping people appreciate the interrelatedness of the agricultural history of the Kino Missions network and the oasis culture along the US-Mexico border in Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora.
Jesús García was born and raised in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico. Since 1991 he has been associated with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where he is an Education Specialist, teaching natural history and cultural programs throughout southern Arizona and northern Sonora. He holds a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. He has been Director of the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project for over ten years and his many interests include conservation biology, art, cultural ecology, language, music and gardening.