Tucson’s South 12th Ave (La Doce) is celebrated locally as a natural “Cultural and Culinary Corridor,” complete with Sonoran cuisine, colorful signage, family businesses, and expressions of heritage. SFA has been working since 2016 to help the community document and celebrate their foodways through innovative collaborations between community members, non-profit organizations, grassroots organizations, schools, businesses and civic leaders.
The project engaged over 200 La Doce residents and visitors in researching how food and foodways contribute to community identity and resilience. Research led by Nelda Ruiz, a community activist from Tierra Y Libertad Organization, and anthropologist Rebecca Crocker, Ph.D.,consisted of training a cohort of local “citizen ethnographers,” primarily youth from Pueblo High School and several adult mentors, to map green spaces and informal food practices in 40 residential blocks, administer questionnaires, and conduct in-depth interviews with 25 La Doce residents. Through inventories of fruit trees, backyard gardens, food memories, and the skills of home cooks, the project collected data that will be used to craft possible alternative food economies for the area, from farmer’s markets to artisanal food small businesses and micro-enterprises.
La Doce Barrio Foodways: A report on community knowledge and recommendations for sustainable change shares findings from the project and includes a call to action to create a new model of governance and wealth creation in the area.
The La Doce Barrio Foodways Project is a partnership between the City of Tucson, the Tierra y Libertad organization, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Southwest Folklife Alliance. It was funded through a grant from the national Sustainability Funders Network and Partners for Places, with matching local support from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.