BENEFITING: TOHONO OODHAM COMMUNITY ACTION
EVENT DATE: Nov 23, 2013
this November, we (Rebecca, Cissi, Stephanie, and Brian) will be cycling 60 miles of El Tour de Tucson, one of the largest road bike races in the United States, to raise money for TOCA's school gardening and cooking program at Indian Oasis Elementary School!
The school oidag (the O'odham word for garden or field) is going into its 4th season and serves 500 Pre-K through 5th grade students. It is an educational space that connects students to their himdag (the cultural traditions of the Tohono O'odham) and agricultural history, encourages healthier eating habits, cultivates an appreciation for the earth, and introduces them to more complex thinking about food. The oidag also serves as a space for parents, staff, students, and community members to share knowledge in order to create positive changes in the Tohono O’odham Nation’s food system.
The Tohono O’odham currently have a diabetes rate of over 50 percent, the highest in the world. Predictors indicate that if current trends continue, 75% of Tohono O’odham children born after 2002 will develop Type-II diabetes. Teaching and growing traditional O'odham foods in the oidag and gathering wild foods from the desert is a way to provide essential nutrition education to young O’odham that can influence eating habits and help prevent diabetes and obesity in the long run. Additionally, we teach healthy eating habits and promote eating more fresh fruits and vegetables while growing and cooking non-traditional crops in the oidag in the winter season. Within the context of strengthening O'odham culture, our nutrition curriculum emphasizes a holistic view of healthy foods and wellness that also includes physical, spiritual, and emotional components.
We are raising money to strengthen and expand our school gardening programming. Everything raised will go directly toward infrastructural development of the oidag and for supplies and ingredients to continue our many cooking classes that we teach to students and their parents. This includes everything from permanent seating and a drip irrigation system to new portable butane burners and supplementary fruits and vegetables to cook with. Every contribution, no matter how small, will help us continue TOCA's mission of creating a healthy, culturally vital and sustainable community on the Tohono O'odham Nation!
Hi! I am currently a FoodCorps service member serving my second year in Sells with TOCA. Transplanted from upstate NY/boston, I now call Tucson my home. With FoodCorps, I get to be on the ground implementing all the great garden programming at the elementary school, including my favorite-- our after-school program for K-2 students.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, I moved to Tucson a little over 2 years ago to serve with TOCA through FoodCorps. The IOES garden was a huge part of my year of service so I’m excited to ride to continue its growth! Currently, I am the Food Services Development Coordinator at TOCA, working to improve school meal programs serving the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Ske:g Tas (Good Day)
My name is Cissimarie Juan. I come from the Community of New Field located on the Tohono O'odham Nation. TOCA, has always been a second home for me and definitely a huge piece of my foundation since the age of 8 to now being 24 years old. Im honored to have been apart of creating an organization that has become even stronger and that continues grown beyond my imagination. Thank you for the support and encouragement!
I come from the community of Cold Fields located on the Tohono O'odham Nation. I have been part of TOCA for 4 years and I am very happy and excited to ride and help the oidag grow bigger. Thank you for the support.