History of the Sonoran Desert
Contrary to popular belief, the Arizona Sonoran Desert grows amazing fruits, vegetables and other plants, with its year round sun, irrigation systems and hundreds of years of history in agriculture know-how. Aside from the ancient natives of this region that took up residence from centuries past, the first modern settlers used the area’s natural flooding cycles to reap the benefits of the irrigation and rich mineral deposits left behind. In fact, during a visit to the Sonoran desert in the mid 1800’s, Jack Swilling, later to become known as the founder of the modern town of Phoenix (a town born from the ashes of an ancient civilization), saw this region as a perfect place to grow citrus and other agriculture, utilizing the Ho Ho Kam long gone ancient canal system. Settlement flourished near the nexus of the Gila and Sal River.
Today, with area rivers dammed to control the annual flooding, irrigation systems, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, and Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct bring the lifeblood of farming (and life itself) to the Valley of the Sun.
The Ho Ho Kam (translated, “all used up” or the “vanished”) and now widely interpreted to mean, “those who have vanished” date back more than 2,000 years, occupied the region that would become Phoenix, now the State Capital of Arizona. They, and their ancestors, used early irrigation systems to grow their crops.
As suburbs flourish around the modern ciy, most citrus, agriculture and farms vanish at an alarming rate, we as a society rely on non-local farms. A resurgence and need to return to our ‘roots’ has begun. We ought not be dependent upon others for our survival. We ought not lose the knowledge and practice of local agriculture, farming, carpentry, masonry, and other necessities rooted in past cultures.
Urban Farming is catching on as the economy suffers, the weather patterns change, government turmoil throughout the world, and people fight to hang on to their way of life. We must still eat and provide shelter for ourselves and loved ones.
Anyone can start Urban Farming: in a suburban backyard, a patio, balcony, courtyard, or even an apartment window. Our goal at BluGill Urban Farming is to share our stories, photos, and not-so-know-how to inspire others to try to do what we, and so many other like minded people all over the country are trying to do, to bring a sense of community, togetherness, and pride in returning to our roots.
We have no special skills, we don’t have any background, training, or experience farming, gardening, carpentry or masonry, we only have a desire to improve our land, become more self-sustaining, and learn techniques that we can hopefully pass on to our family members, future generations, and people that are willing to listen, such as you who have taken the time to read this post.
The BluGill Urban Farmer