David Pecusa grew up on the Hopi Reservation in Northeastern Arizona, where his earliest memories are of being part of the corn planting line, walking in the steps of his father and grandfather, dropping tiny kernels of corn into the evenly spaced holes they had made in the soil, and then covering them up with his hands. Farming, and being one with the earth, has remained the crux of David’s life. After finishing high school, he became a certified cook and went on to manage a local elementary school cafeteria. There he worked to reintroduce local foods, such as blue corn meal and native bean varieties, into the school menu.
David will spend his FoodCorps Service Term in his native Arizona, where he will work with young Navajo and Hopi tribe members at local schools to plant, maintain and harvest an edible school garden. He will teach science-based gardening, work on community based agriculture and nutrition promotion, and assist local elders and farmers who come to the classroom once a month to teach lessons. “I feel this program is one way that our native communities can perpetuate the healing process to put their hands back in the Earth to remember who we are as dryland farmers of the southwest,” David says.
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