This year marks the 10th year of Crow Canyon’s innovative Pueblo Farming Project, and our researchers are marking the occasion by showing off some of their latest research in a new eBook that’s now available for free on the Crow Canyon website.
The Pueblo Farming Project: A Collaboration between Hopi Farmers and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, by Crow Canyon educator and researcher Paul Ermigiotti; with Executive Vice President of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon Mark Varien; Crow Canyon research associate Kyle Bocinsky; Montezuma School to Farm Program educator Erin Bohm; the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office; and the Hopi Cultural Resources Advisory Task Team.
The eBook was made possible through a grant from the History Colorado State Historic Fund. The eBook presents the methods and results from the Pueblo Farming Project, as well as a set of unique lesson plans developed for middle school students to learn about Hopi agriculture.
“Learning about the interconnectedness between farming and the landscape from the Hopi farmers has been really powerful,” says Ermigiotti. “I find myself walking over the landscape noticing places—drainages, soils—that might have been good places to farm.”
“The Hopi have taught me how to be a better gardener,” he says.
The Pueblo Farming Project, or PFP, is an ongoing collaboration between the Hopi tribe and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. The PFP examines traditional Pueblo Indian farming techniques to help understand ancient farming in the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado.
The project conducts research, develops educational programs, and pursues Hopi interests in corn and corn farming as an essential element of their culture. Starting in 2008, Hopi farmers visited Crow Canyon in the spring and fall to teach the Center's researchers and educators about Pueblo Indian farming, food storage, and food preparation. Together, farmers and staff have planted and harvested several experimental gardens on Crow Canyon's campus, testing farming techniques and varieties of seeds used by the Pueblo farmers in their own fields.
The Hopi farmers say that the project helps address concerns with preserving knowledge about traditional farming and ensuring that this knowledge is transmitted to younger generations. Varien says that he is especially proud of the PFP as it integrates all three of Crow Canyon’s mission areas: research, education, and Native American initiatives
“Learning about the importance of corn to the Hopi people and Pueblo culture has helped me better understand ancestral Pueblo society in the Mesa Verde region,” said Varien. “It has helped me respect how corn was and continues to be essential components of Pueblo subsistence and ceremonial life.”
“Everything the Hopi do related to corn has value, and corn farming reflects the values of the Hopi people,” says Crow Canyon archaeologist Grant Coffey, whose family participated in the research by hosting one of the experimental gardens.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center thanks the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office and Hopi Cultural Resources Advisory Task Team for their collaboration on this project. Components of the Pueblo Farming Project have been funded by The Christensen Fund, History Colorado–State Historical Fund, the National Geographic Society Genographic Legacy Fund, the National Science Foundation, and the Qwest Foundation.