Iskashitaa Refugee Network hosts monthly educational demonstrations at the Tucson Botanical Gardens on how to identify and use various edible landscapes found in Tucson. These tours are focused on increasing the community’s knowledge of local food resources, learning about the abundance of edible trees, both native and nonnative; their nutritional values, uses and cultural significance.
2020 brought many surprises to Iskashitaa Refugee Network, the most pleasant one being the enthusiasm and receptiveness to their programming at the University of Arizona community garden. IRN has had plots at this garden in the past, but this year was the first where there was such an overwhelming positive response from volunteers and refugees.
Typically, IRN would lead 2 weekly harvests that involved meeting at the office and carpooling to fruit tree locations. These harvests would consist of large groups of refugees and volunteers ranging from 10-25 participants. Modifications to the gleaning approach were made to limit size and interaction of participants while still diverting viable and nutritional produce from landfills.
Iskashitaa is promoted in a variety of ways in order to reach the full scope of the clientele involved in their organization. This includes focusing attention on the various modes of communication necessary to be visible in refugee communities and other Tucson interest groups.
The generosity of donors can be classified into three categories for IRN. Donations received include monetary donations, fruit donations, and donations of miscellaneous supplies; solicitation of all these donation types are leveraged online.
Iskashitaa relies on volunteer efforts in every aspect of their organization. From gleaning fruit, to answering the office phone, and serving on the Board of Directors, Iskashitaa could not operate without the robust inclusion of volunteers.