Reviving Native Foods
Native Americans rediscover native foods for better health.
In 1996, Johnson co-founded Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA) in an effort to reacquaint members of the impoverished tribe with disappearing native foods—such as squash and tepary beans. In the heart of the Sonoran Desert, 60 miles west of Tucson, he successfully re-established two working farms to grow and sell traditional native foods in the community and also teach O’odham members how to harvest and prepare them.
But habits are hard to break and Johnson worries: “We’re on a time schedule. The elders are dying. We’re working hard to get as much information from them about their traditional culture as we can.” For details on all of TOCA’s programs, go to tocaonline.org.
By Edie Jarolim