Mission Garden in Tucson hosts a monthly talk that teaches community members how the Tohono O’odham people thrived thousands of years ago through agriculture.

The Traditional O’odham Culture event is a collaborative effort by the garden and the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and it’s hosted every third Saturday of the month free of charge.

Executive Director Alyce Sadongei (Kiowa/Tohono Oodham), who’s been with the nonprofit for about a month, said she attended a talk before assuming her position and was happily surprised at the turnout of 15-20 attendees.

For her, Mission Garden is a place where gardening and culture come together, celebrating over 4,000 years of history.

Some of these methods are tried and true. And its geared towards planting food in dry climate, she said.

Its so unique to have that [perspective] here, in this place, rooted to this ground, where our people came from. And to have that I mean if you want authenticity, this is where you come on Saturday.

The O’odham section of the garden is divided into two sections to represent the agricultural practices of certain time periods.

One side represents how native people traditionally grew crops and the other side incorporated other methods influenced by the arrival of the Europeans.

The event is an opportunity for the group to connect with ancient tribal practices that still apply today.

The group shares share plant seeds, recipes and gardening tips from the indigenous perspective.

It’s all to celebrate the rich history of Tucson.

Long-time volunteer Mark Albrecht hadn’t stepped foot inside Mission Garden until six years ago when his retirement began. Now, he comes to help at the mission garden a couple of times per week.

He said has always been interested in the Oodham culture and found a lot of value in the event.

Its just been an honor to work in this section of the garden and help it come to life a little bit more and make it more real for people,” Albrecht said.

“So, when they come to the garden, its not reading a book about how things used to be. Its actually getting to walk through.

Sadongei agrees, adding that it’s important for people to understand where they live and how that connects to everyday life.

And Im hoping that people are not only about the plants but the culture as well. Because it goes hand-in-hand,” she said. “It all goes life, land, culture, language, ways of being. All of that is for all people. Thats what Mission Garden is about.

The next event is on Saturday from 8-10 a.m.