The Community Food Bank’s Youth Farm Project Hosts an “Introduction to Urban Agriculture”

June 18 through June 22, 2012

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s Youth Farm Project will host a one-week intensive training program for youth ages 14 to 18 on sustainable farming in the city.  The program runs from June 18 through 22, 2012, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily. Each session will begin and end at Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Farm, 2405 S. Cottonwood Lane.

What Will the Intro to Urban Ag Participants be Doing?

  • Intro to Urban Ag members will take field trips to local urban farms, back yard gardens and school gardens to explore different methods of growing food within the city.
  • Member will participate in a variety of hands-on work projects
  • Members will participate in group activities, discussions and reflections.
  • Members will learn about harvesting and cooking techniques, chicken care, composting and seed saving methods, aquaponics and how to install a garden from start to finish.
  • Members will learn about industrial and regional food systems, food justice, hunger and nutritional poverty.
  • Members will receive all materials for both a worm bin and container garden for their home.

For more information on how to join this one-week Youth Farm Project,  e-mail, or call Lauren Sullender at (520) 820-4513 or Zotero Citlalcoatl at (520) 869-3623.

Southern Arizona Salsa & Tequila Challenge

Best chefs in the region compete at the Southern Arizona Salsa Challenge charity event

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance present a benefit event featuring delicious salsa, live music, activities and silent auction – Aug. 25

Sample some of the most delicious traditional and inventive salsa recipes, right in the region of the world where this flavorful sauce was first stirred up.

Food, fiestas and fun for all ages will fill up the Southern Arizona Salsa Challenge on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 5 to 10 p.m. at the La Encantada shopping center, northwest corner of Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue. This second annual event, presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, celebrates Hispanic heritage in the Southwest and was a sell-out event last year.

The Salsa Challenge features more than 30 different salsa recipes to sample, live mariachi and flamenco music, a silent auction and activities, all set in La Encantada’s beautiful garden courtyard.

An amateur salsa competition will add spice to the challenge, giving up to 10 finalists from the Art Institute a chance to win awards for their unique recipes without competing against professional chefs. This will be a great opportunity for culinary students to showcase their gifts and talents and network within the community.

During the event, a judging panel will select winners of the amateur and professional salsa competition, which will be awarded at the main event. Attendees will also place their own votes for the People’s Choice awards.

Tickets are $20 per person, which includes chips, salsa tastings and access to all the festivities. Proceeds will benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and SAACA’s community and educational arts programs.

Participating restaurants

Restaurants will serve their most delicious recipes to compete for the 2012 Southern Arizona Salsa Challenge, bringing some of the area’s most famous chefs to the table.


Chef Albert Hall of Acacia is an Arizona native, well-known for his unique culinary style and caustic outlook on the world in general. “Gabacho” has lived in Tucson for 16 years and has burned food at several prestigious Tucson eateries. His infamous Gabacho Salsa is the perfect example of true Latin flavors gone to hell in a hand basket. Years in the making, Chef Hall has gabachoized many classic family salsa recipes to arrive at the perfect blend of Latin ingredients imported from Canada and other exotic locations. He is known as the “Godfather of Haut Sonoran Cuisine” by the ladies that make the tortillas at Mission San Javier.

El Saguarito Mexican Food

Albert and Blanca Vasquez and their children Jacqueline, Albert Jr. and Emilio, have brought healthier Mexican dining to Tucson since 1989. The family’s roots in Mexican cooking span generations. Blanca grew up in a Douglas, Ariz., at a restaurant where her mother, Maria Herrera, cooked what was voted the best Mexican food in the state. Blanca learned to cook alongside her mother, and her love of making hungry customers happy was born. Albert, a native Tucsonan, loved home-style Mexican food. Because Mexican food is often prepared with lard, it was a challenge to find restaurants where Blanca, who was vegetarian, could eat. So in 1989, Albert and Blanca opened El Saguarito Mexican Food. Maria was behind the stove again, helping create El Saguarito’s signature dishes. The Vasquez family prepares their dishes with only the freshest ingredients, using canola oil instead of lard, and are pleased to share their authentic and healthy Mexican cuisine with the community.

Lodge on the Desert

The restaurant at Lodge on the Desert offers one of the best dining options in Southern Arizona, with new American cuisine. The decor is intimate and richly historic. Executive Chef Ryan Clark blends flavors from America’s melting pot with cooking techniques both traditional and unconventional. A native Tucsonan, Clark’s farm-to-table concept and slow-food motif is an ideal complement to the casual elegance of Lodge on the Desert. After initially working as Sous Chef at Fuego Restaurant, he went on to graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Graduating the dean’s list near the top of his class, Clark was selected by The American Culinary Federation as one of the top 16 junior chefs across the nation. After stints in New York City, Clark returned to Arizona where he worked under Iron Chef America winner Chef Beau MacMillan at Elements Restaurant at Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley. He ventured back to Tucson where he seasoned his culinary background at Canyon Ranch Health Resort and The Dish Bistro.

Blanco Tacos + Tequila

Boca Tacos Y Tequila

Brushfire BBQ

California Pizza Kitchen

Fini’s Landing

Jax Kitchen

La Fuente Restaurant

Las Cazuelitas de Tucson

Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen

R&R Family Kitchen

Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain

Royal Café

Salud! at JW Marriott

Tequila Factory at Casino       Del Sol

The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol

Wildcat Grill


Live performances from Ballet Folklorico La Paloma and flamenco sensation Tesoro will entertain audiences as a silent auction, giveaways and dancing fill the garden courtyard.

Recently performing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Ballet Folkorico La Paloma is a non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating the native folk dances of Mexico. By doing so, they hope to arouse pride and heritage in the Mexican-American community, through their colorful and entertaining performances. Ballet Folklorico La Paloma has responded to the need of positive and responsive programs for young people in our community since 1982. The group has performed throughout Tucson, surrounding towns, the United States and Mexico as well as participated in the Summer Olympics in Sydney Australia.

Tesoro, meaning “treasure” in Spanish, has a unique sound that captivates even the most sophisticated flamenco purists and enthusiasts. With rock, blues and jazz influences, the group takes flamenco fusion to a new level. Their sound is dynamic, energetic and romantic. Each member brings many musical influences to create the unique sound that has made Tesoro a must see. Some major influences include Paco de Lucia, Vicente Amigo, Mana, The Gipsy Kings and The Buena Vista Social Club.

The Southern Arizona Tequila Challenge will also take place during the Salsa Challenge, presenting the regions’ most creative chef’s presenting unique interpretations of original tequila-based mixed drinks.

Tequila tastings will take place in the upstairs courtyards, where attendees can overlook beautiful city lights. Tickets are $70 per person, which includes admission to the Salsa Challenge, tequila cocktails, Latin-inspired food pairing from more than 20 restaurants and tequila samplings award-winning distilleries.

2012 Southern Arizona Salsa & Tequila Challenge

When: Saturday, Aug. 25 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Where: La Encantada Shopping Center, northwest corner of Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue
Salsa Challenge tickets: $20 per person – tickets include salsa tastings, chips (free admission to courtyard concerts)

Tequila Challenge tickets: $70 per person – tickets include salsa tastings and chips (for the Salsa Challenge), unique tequila samplings, cocktails and Latin-inspired appetizers

Phone: (520) 797-3959


About the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for both the young and the old.

Organization History
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) grew out of the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (GOVAC), an organization established in 1997 to provide artistic and cultural opportunities for residents of northwest Tucson. GOVAC eventually became one of the largest arts organizations in the region. In 2009, owing to its success, the group expanded its mission to include creation of partnerships with business, governments, and communities throughout Southern Arizona that would encourage innovative, creative cultural expression in the arts for years to come.

For more information about programs and events produced by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, go to


Free Vegetable Gardening Workshops

  • Garden Basics, Quincy Douglas Library, Saturday May 26th
    12-2:30 pm (English),  2:30-4:30 pm  (Spanish)
  • Garden Basics, Woods Memorial Library,  Saturday July 14th 1:30-3:30 pm
  • Container Gardening, Flowing Wells Library,  Monday July 16th 3:30-5:30 pm Build your own container to take home! Contact 594-5225 to register
  • Garden Basics, Mission Library, Saturday July 28th 9-11 am (Spanish)
  • Garden Basics, Joel Valdez Main Library, Saturday August 4th 10:30-12:30

Garden Basics classes will cover basic drylands vegetable gardening including designing your garden, wise water use, preparing the soil, home composting and how to plant and maintain your healthy garden.

For questions or registration contact Melissa at or 882-3303

  • Jardinería Básica, Biblioteca Quincy Douglas, sábado 26 de mayo
    12 -2:30 (ingles), 2:30-4:30 pm  (español)
  • Jardinería Básica, Biblioteca Woods Memorial, sábado 14 de julio
    1:30-3:30 pm (ingles)
  • Jardines en Contenedores, Biblioteca Flowing Wells,  lunes 16 de julio 3:30-5:30 pm (ingles),Construir su propio contenedor para llevar a casa! Contacte con 594-5225 para registrarse
  • Jardinería Básica, Biblioteca Mission, sábado 28 de julio  9-11 am (español)
  • Jardinería Básica, Biblioteca Joel Valdez, sábado 4 de agosto 10:30-12:30 (ingles)

Las clases de Jardinería Básica, cubrirán el básico de cultivar vegetales en tierras áridas incluyendo: diseño de jardines, conservando agua, preparando la tierra, haciendo composta, y como sembrar y mantener un jardín saludable.

Para preguntas o para registrarse contacte  Melissa o 882-3303.


Southern Arizona’s Biggest Business Technology & Construction Expo to Benefit Food Bank

June is fast approaching and it’s hot Come cool off at the NEW BEAUTIFUL
Del Sol Resort
5655 W. Valencia Rd.

Join us Friday June 8th & Saturday June 9th
10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Admission $7
(Portion of Admission to be Donated to the AZ Diaper Bank and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona)

Learn remodeling ideas, business technology and construction needs plus attend our free seminars
Plus a chance to win $1,000 just for attending
(need not be present to win)

Click on for more information, seminars times and subjects.

Mario Batali Food Stamp Challenge: Chef Spending $31 On Food For One Week

Huffington Post, Mario Batali Food Stamp Challenge: Chef Spending $31 On Food For One Week
May 14, 2012

The chef, his wife and their two teenage sons are eating for a week on the equivalent of a food stamp budget in protest of potential cuts pending in Congress to the benefit program used by more than 46 million Americans.

That’s $31 per person for the week, or about $1.48 per meal each.

Goodbye restaurants, free nibbles on his talk show “The Chew” and all the luxe offerings at Eataly, the high-end New York City market he co-owns. Hello Trader Joe’s, Jack’s Dollar Store, Gristedes and Western Beef, a low-cost supermarket chain.

The Batalis have been joined on the weeklong challenge by wholesale meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda, who has a new Food Network series, “Meat Men,” Margarette Purvis, who heads the food bank, as well as more than 200 others who registered to complete the challenge. And anti-hunger groups in Las Vegas, Philadelphia and parts of Maryland and Ohio have led similar challenges over the last several months.

“Nearly 3 million New Yorkers have difficulty paying for the food they need,” Purvis said. “They live in every single neighborhood. We’re not trying to compare the food stamp challenge to the very real challenges people face. We’re just trying to raise awareness that it’s no longer just the homeless. It’s working families who use the food stamp program. It’s seniors. It’s a lot more children, in every single neighborhood.”

“Concert in the Courtyard” to benefit the Community Food Bank

Sunday, May 20, 7-9 pm

Folk musicians Kevin Pakulis and Amy Langley and Michael Dues, Ray St. Clair and Bill Ronstadt.
Tickets: $10/person to benefit the Community Food Bank.

Blue Raven Gallery & Gifts in Tucson, Arizona, is located in Many Hands Courtyard at 3054 N. 1st Ave. between Ft. Lowell and Glenn on the east side of the street, south of the CODAC Center. The Gallery is through the gates and on the right.

Tucson Street Rod Association’s Swap Meet and Car Show to benefit Food Bank

on May 19 and 20, 2012

 The Tucson Street Rod Association’s Swap Meet and Car Show will be held on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday May 20, 2012 at the S.I.R. Dragstrip off Houghton Road, south of I-10 exit 275.  The Swap Meet and Car Show are open Saturday from 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM and Sunday from 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM.

Participants may swap/sell new and used autos, trucks, boats, bikes and relates items.

Contact Nick at (520) 887-5642 or Chuck at (520) 883-5229 or log on to for more information on purchasing space for the two day event.

Action Alert: Post a Public Comment on the House Agriculture Committee Website!

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is partnering with Feeding America in support of the Farm Bill and we need your help:

Help us generate 20,000 comments in support of strengthening and protecting hunger-relief programs!

On April 26, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the Farm Bill out of committee.  The House must do the same.  Right now, members of the House Agriculture Committee are working on developing their version of the Farm Bill and seeking public comments to inform their decisions.  In April, that same committee approved a proposal to cut SNAP by $36 billion as part of the budget reconciliation process.  The full House is expected to vote on this measure later this week.  While the budget reconciliation votes are non-binding, they show how serious the threats to hunger-relief programs like SNAP and TEFAP really are, particularly in the House.

As a result, we need to send a strong message about the importance of protecting and strengthening these programs by generating comments from anti-hunger advocates throughout the country.  If every food bank can mobilize 100 people to make a comment on the House Agriculture Committee’s website, we can generate more than 20,000 public comments and show real grassroots support for hunger-relief programs.  Urge your volunteers, donors, partners, board members, social media followers, and other community supporters to post a comment and help us show Congress that Americans want their elected officials to stand up against hunger in America!

For more information please see the Farm Bill’s Website.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Go to the House Agriculture Committee Website

2. Post a comment:  You can post your own comment or use our sample.  The more local and personal your comment is, the more impact it will have.

I am a supporter of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.  Right now, many families in our community are struggling.  With increased demand for emergency food assistance, high food and gas prices, and declines in TEFAP commodities—a major source of the food we distribute—our food bank is having difficulty meeting the needs of our community.  We need a strong Farm Bill to make sure that struggling families can put food on the table.  I ask that you pass a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens programs like SNAP, TEFAP, and CSFP.  Our community cannot afford cuts to these programs.

3. Spread the word:  Help us reach our goal of 20,000 comments by sharing this call to action.  If every food bank successfully mobilizes 100 people, we can generate 20,000 comments!

If you have questions, please contact Brett Weisel at

Community Food Bank Adds One New and One Returning Member to its Board of Directors

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona has announced that one new member and one returning member have been added to its Board of Directors.

Susannah Myerson, Director of Strategic Initiatives with Watermark Retirement Communities was elected to the Board at the March 23, 2012 meeting and will serve a two year term.  Ms. Myerson heads the strategic planning team at Watermark Retirement Communities and is responsible for budgeting, operational analysis and product positioning for Watermark communities throughout the country. She holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona.

Andres Valenzuela was re-elected to the Community Food Bank Board at the February 24, 2012 meeting and will serve a two year term.  Mr. Valenzuela previously served on the Board from October, 2011 to February, 2012.  He earned both BS and MS degrees in Nutritional Science from the University of Arizona.


“The Community Food Bank is very excited about the return of Andres Valenzuela and the appointment of Susannah Myerson to the Board of Directors,” said Bill Carnegie, Food Bank President/CEO.  “Both will bring exceptional expertise to the Board and will help guide the future direction of the organization.”

For more information, contact Jack Parris at (520) 882-3297 or cell at (520) 444-5412.