Southwest Agroforestry Action Network

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 To comply with restrictions on large gatherings of people due to the spread of COVID19 (the coronavirus), we have canceled the current SWAAN Tucson conference dates. SWAAN will track coronavirus news and government advisories, and—as soon as feasible—will reschedule the conference and field trip and post the revised conference dates and agenda at this website.   



Location: University of Arizona, ENR2 Building, Room 107, 1064 E Lowell St, Tucson, AZ

One day registration fee $40, lunch provided

Parking garage available east of the ENR2 building, $8 fee to park


8:45 – 9:15  

Dr. James Allen, SWAAN Chair and Professor and Executive Director, School of Forestry, College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences, Northern Arizona University

An Introduction to SWAAN and Agroforestry in the Southwest

9:15 – 10:00  

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Morning Keynote Speaker, Director, Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainable Food Systems in the US Southwest

10:00 – 10:30  

Susan Stein, Director, USDA National Agroforestry Center 

The National Agroforestry Center, an Information Resource

10:30 – 10:45 BREAK

10:45 – 11:15  

Jeb Minarik, Acting ASTC-Programs, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Opportunities for NRCS Financial and Technical Assistance to Support Agroforestry Practices

11:15– 11:45  

Denise Purvis,  Mary McKay, Co-Founders, Harris Heritage Farm, Sonoita, Arizona

Developing and Sustaining a Family Farm in Southern Arizona

11:45 – 12:30  

Dr. Ursula Schuch, Professor and Specialist, Environmental Horticulture, UA School of Plant Sciences

Best Practice Solutions for Increasing the Success of Agroforestry in Semi-arid Environments of the US Southwest

12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH AND NETWORKING (Lunch is provided)

1:30– 2:15   

Brad Lancaster, Afternoon Keynote Speaker, Author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond

Best Practices for Providing Sustainable Water Supplies to Urban Trees

2:15  - 2:45  

Kendall Kroesen, Community Outreach Coordinator, Mission Garden/Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace

Mission Garden: Tucson's Agricultural Origins

2:45 – 3:00 BREAK 

3:00 – 3:30   

Jacobo Marcus, Program Director, Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute

High Desert Food Forests

3:30 – 4:00  

Ann Audrey, SWAAN Co-Chair; Steering Committee Chair, Linking Edible Arizona Forests (LEAF) Network

Resources for Growing Edible Trees in Agroforestry Systems in Arizona

4:00 – 4:30  

Cori Dolan, Urban and Community Forestry and Forest Health Manager, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Resources Available to Help Support Trees in Arizona

4:30 – 5:00  

Dr. James Allen, SWAAN Chair; Professor and Executive Director, School of Forestry, College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences, Northern Arizona University

Facilitated group discussion of Agroforestry Potential in the Southwest

Tuesday, March 17, Informal gathering 

6pm to 8pm, Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co. 865 E. University Blvd, dinner and drinks available for purchase

Field Trips

 One day registration fee $40, lunch provided

Location: 946 W Mission Lane, intersection of Mission Road and Mission Lane

Park northeast of Mission Garden wall in the large dirt lot

Tour buses will load from here after the Mission Garden tour 

9:00 – 10:30  

Mission Garden tour

Kendall Kroesen,Community Outreach Coordinator, Mission Garden/Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace

Time line gardens covering 4000 years with extensive tree and garden plantings


10:45- 12:30  

Dunbar-Spring Neighborhood tour

Brad Lancaster, Author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, and Co-Founder of Desert Harvesters and Neighborhood Foresters Program

Neighborhood Foresters tree-planting program in public rights-of-way supported by water harvesting and a permaculture homestead with water harvesting, solar power and edible trees

12:30 - 1:30  TRAVEL TO SONOITA, sack lunch provided on the bus 

1:30 – 3:30  

Harris Heritage Growers tour

Denise Purvis,  Mary McKay, Co-Founders of Harris Heritage Growers

Tour of U-Pick Family Farm in southern Arizona with trees, crops and animals


SWAAN Business Meeting

Registration fee is included in conference registration

Location: UA/Pima County Cooperative Extension Office, 4210 N Campbell Avenue, Tucson

Parking is free at the site

9:00 – 12:00 

Meeting will be facilitated by Andy Mason and Dr. James Allen

A virtual meeting link will be established to allow people to participate remotely

All conference participants are invited to attend in person or remotely

kEYNOTE Presenters


Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Director, Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan helped write the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. As the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013, she managed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative to support local and regional food systems. She became the first female chair of the ‘Ministerial Conference of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009 and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” in 2010. Prior to coming to ASU’s Swette Center, Dr. Merrigan was the executive director of sustainability at George Washington University, leading their Sustainability Collaborative and Food Institute.

Brad Lancaster, Author of the book series Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond

Brad Lancaster is a dynamic teacher, consultant, and designer of regenerative systems that sustainably enhance local resources and our global potential. Lancaster has taught water harvesting and sustainable design throughout North America as well as in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. His hometown projects have included working with the City of Tucson and other municipalities to legalize, incentivize, and provide guidance on water-harvesting systems, demonstration sites, and policy. In Tucson, with just 11 inches of annual rainfall, he and his brother harvest around 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on an eighth-acre urban lot and adjoining vegetated right-of-way.


who should attend

Join us if you are...

  •  Agricultural producers, Tribes, ranchers, community gardeners and orchardists, permaculturalists, water harvesters, and others who produce food for themselves;
  • Representatives of government agencies, cooperative extension, universities, and nonprofit organizations who support sustainable solutions for agriculture, forestry, and communities through their programs; and
  • People interested in community food forests and forest-agricultural activities including alley cropping, forest farming, riparian forest buffers, silvopasture, windbreaks, and shelterbelts.


Register to Attend!

The Arizona Community Tree Council is providing our secure registration site.  It is $75 to attend.  Register at the link below

Parking Information

Parking at UofA:

  • Closest parking garage is the 6th Street Garage, which is just East of the Environment and Natural Resources 2 (ENR2) Building at 1064 E. Lowell St, Tucson
  • See attached file for a doctored parking map that outlines the 6th St. Garage.
  • Parking home page:
  • Rates for 6th St. Garage: $2/hour or $8/day