We are involved in a number of community-based participatory planning efforts and creative placemaking initiatives, on various scales. We believe in building equity with artists and traditional culture bearers and the power of cross-sector partnerships with organizations and entities of all kinds.
We bring expertise in cultural assets mapping, ethnographic documentation and storytelling, community dialogue facilitation, and strategic and adaptive planning for non-profit organizations and small heritage businesses to support economic development in our region.
Current projects we are working with include:
Can urban gardens, farmers’ markets, cooking, and food heritage celebrations reinvigorate and nourish an economically impoverished community on the U.S.-Mexico border? SFA is working with La Mujer Obrera, an El-Paso, TX-based organization dedicated to creating communities defined by women, to create the “Chamizal Food, Health and Culture Master Plan.” The plan explores ways local food production, heritage food programs, and farmers’ markets can bring new opportunity, improved health and economic opportunities to the El Paso neighborhood of Chamizal.
What is the relationship between justice, culture, sovereignty, and an ancestral variety of Sonoran wheat? SFA is working with the traditional authorities of Pueblo Vicam in Yaqui Ancestral Homeland, Rio Yaqui, Sonora; the Yoem Pueblo in Marana, AZ; and the town of Guadalupe, AZ to find out. This collaboration is exploring how the cultivation and preparation of wheat in Yoeme/Yaqui holds clues about the tribe’s resiliency and cultural preservation. The project is also working to develop a strategic plan for its economic recovery using oral histories, test planting sites, and artisanal cooking workshops.
Anthropology students at the University of Arizona worked with SFA scholars to map the cultural assets of South Tucson. The project helped hone students’ skills and also laid the groundwork for an archive of assets that can be used to leverage increased economic opportunity and perhaps the development of a South Tucson Cultural District.
La Doce is innovative collaboration between community members, non-profit organizations, grassroots organizations, schools, businesses and civic leaders to preserve traditional knowledge and support community-led development work. We are working with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Tierra Y Libertad Organization, and Community “Citizen Folklorists” to learn more about local cultural knowledge and foodways within communities along the South 12th Ave corridor. By documenting food-related activities or neighborhood greening efforts, the project aims to learn local strategies to strengthen the area’s food economy and support its existing culture.