News + Updates April 2024

Hopi Corn Planting, Olive Updates, Wildlife Monitoring, Clay Pit-Firing Weekend, and More!

Arco Farmer's Market, Hopi Corn Planting, and desert lupine

Photos: David Tollas, Jen Thornton, Linn Williams

Dear Cosanti,

Arcosanti and Cosanti have been very busy in the last few months: We've launched a new tile-making class at Cosanti and Clay Pit-Firing Weekend at Arcosanti, we've started to fill our calendar with events including HATCH this month, and larger music festivals on the horizon (stay tuned for more details). Our construction/maintenance crew has revitalized our Sun and Sky Suites and are currently working on renovating Camp. Of course, a major focus of the Foundation has been our agriculture and land stewardship initiatives.

Arcosanti Agriculture: From Farm to Table


Photos: Nadia Bégin

Our agriculture department has been hard at work growing food in various locations around site, from the Food Forest in Camp, to the greenhouses, and high tunnel beds we've produced a great variety of produce including everything from tomatoes and onions to herbs and leafy greens like chard and kale. 

With the help of our staff, volunteers, and the Farm-to-Table workshop, the produce is harvested and delivered to our Café, then sold to residents and the public in a variety of seasonal dishes. To have a complete food system, from growing to harvesting to consuming and finally composting the waste on site, removes the need for traditional wasteful distribution networks. While we don't yet produce everything we need at Arcosanti, it is something we will be working towards in the coming months and years.

Partnerships: Hopi Corn Planting

Greg Foster of UArizona Foundation, Alexandra Payne of The Rockefeller Foundation, UA Indigenous Resilience Specialist Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson, former Director of Experience & Operations Nikki Check, and Agriculture GM David Tollas on the single row planter. Photo: Jen Thornton

L to R: Greg Foster of UArizona Foundation, Alexandra Payne of The Rockefeller Foundation, UA Indigenous Resilience Specialist Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson, former Director of Experience & Operations Nikki Check, and Agriculture GM David Tollas on the single row planter. Photo: Jen Thornton

We've partnered with Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson, whose grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supports his efforts to revitalize indigenous foodways, including helping to preserve drought-resistant seeds. Arcosanti is one of three sites growing Hopi corn and beans using traditional methods that require little to no irrigation. The corn was planted in small "communities" of seeds, and two separate heirloom varieties were split among our one-acre plot. When harvested in late summer, half of the corn and beans will rejoin the Hopi community, and the other half will be used by our café or for planting. 

Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson and Agriculture General Manager David Tollas planting Hopi Corn

Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson and Agriculture General Manager David Tollas planting Hopi Corn on April 9, at Arcosanti

Learn more about the Hopi method of planting and preserving seeds described by Dr. Johnson in this short piece by Arcosanti resident, Ana Catalina

Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson

Olive Tree Project Update

Olives trees at Cosanti

Olive Trees at Cosanti | Photo: William Warren

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, we've begun the project to stabilize and preserve our historic olive trees. Many thanks to alum JC Miller for putting many hours into writing the grant, providing drawings for the olive irrigation, and generously matching funds. 

The grant covers a new solar-powered irrigation system, which should cover all 225 olive trees between Cosanti and Arcosanti and is already 1/2 complete. 

The trees have been drought-stressed, but we were able to harvest enough fruit last year to produce a small batch of olive oil. We are very excited to see the return of our seasonal olive production!

Land Stewardship

For a long time, we've needed to focus more on the "ecology" part of "arcology," and to that end, we are proud to announce the addition of Linn Williams, a trained ecologist to our staff. Linn will studying our current ecological impact, evaluating new projects and initiatives as well as building on the educational components of our workshops. 

Project: Wildlife Monitoring

 gray fox, red-tailed hawk, coatimundi, and bobcat

Pictured: gray fox, red-tailed hawk, coatimundi, and bobcat

Wildlife monitoring activities began as a partnership with Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument to study the wildlife along the Agua Fria river. These pictures show us what animals we share this land with and allow us to make informed decisions on how we treat and steward our shared home. Funding for the equipment was donated by the Agua Fria Solar Project.

Restoring Our Riparian Habitat

Walking in the river

A NRCS grant provides partial funding to help restore our riparian habitat. This includes money to remove invasive species such as giant reed Arundo donax and tamarisk, construct new wildlife-friendly fencing to keep the cattle out of the river, and money for planting of native trees and other native vegetation along the river bank. The grant also funds thinning of the mesquite bosque for tree health and for thinning of the encroaching acacia shrubs in the second agricultural field. The grant provides funding until 2026, and this year, the activities planned include building the remaining fence line and preparing the Agua Fria river bank for pole plantings of cottonwoods and willows. Although the NRCS grant does not cover fencing of the northern side of the Agua Fria, the Agua Fria Solar Farm is estimated to start construction next year and is going to be built on the land that is currently being used for cattle grazing on the north side of the Agua Fria. 

Upcoming 5-Week Workshops


Harvesting and radishes

An immersive experience where you can actively engage in a closed loop food system, experiment in organic and sustainable farming techniques, and collaborate with the café team to create imaginative seasonal dishes while engaging with a live-work community.

Upcoming Dates for 2024:

September 9 – October 4

October 14 – November 8

November 18 – December 13

More Info

Click here to see news coverage of our Farm-to-Table program!


Construction workshop in Camp

Work with our construction and maintenance team to repair and restore the structures around Arcosanti, and help build new structures as part of our urban experiment.

• Learn resource-conscious architecture.

• Assist in tiling, framing, plumbing, electrical, and other skill-learning tasks.

Upcoming Dates for 2024:

June 17 – July 12

September 9 – October 4

October 14 – November 8

November 18 – December 13

More Info



Work within our Archives, the largest repository of Arcology thought and design. Discover and document past work for posterity, including art, sketches, text documents, construction documents, architectural models, drawings, and photographs.

• Help disseminate archival information to the public via displays and exhibits.

• Catalogue and digitize past work.

Upcoming Dates for 2024:

June 17 – July 12

September 9 – October 4

October 14 – November 8

November 18 – December 13

More Info

Upcoming Experiences

Clay Pit-Firing Workshop

Clay Pit-Firing Weekend

Learn and participate in an ancient form of firing pottery that uses natural materials and requires no gas or electricity during this two-day program.

You choose a small pre-made (bisque) clay vessel to decorate with different colorants, as well as learn the process of burnishing surfaces on some leather hard clay. After filling the earth pit with various natural combustibles and the pots, we begin the firing process. Typically, this lasts a few hours, then the pit is covered and left overnight. In the evening, all participants can attend a potluck style dinner followed by a short presentation on the history of pit firing, particularly its significance in indigenous communities of the Southwest.

Next Class: Saturday & Sunday, May 11th – 12th

More Info

Please Give for Earth Day and Beyond!


Native Plant Fundraiser

Planting native plants provides shelter, nectar, pollen, and food for a wide variety of birds, insects, and other wildlife. One of our land stewardship projects is to increase biodiversity at Arcosanti. Small pockets of native pollinator gardens have been established on-site, and currently, blue flax, desert lupine, California poppy, and Mexican gold poppy can be seen blooming in the Keystone. More wildflowers will pop up as the season continues. We are seeking funds to plant more sites, including around the amphitheater and along the tour path, with native vegetation such as the beautiful desert willow, fairy duster, and penstemon.


Cherry tree

Fundraiser for Trees

We hope to plant more trees in our Food Forest in Camp to provide an additional food source for residents and guests, create habitats for wildlife, and provide shade and cooling effects for Camp. Of course, trees also help combat climate change by sequestering carbon. Please consider donating to help us purchase more trees for Arcosanti. 


Archives Fundraiser

With the help of archive workshop participant and volunteer Hannah Buhr, 

we completed the digital files for a set of 14 exhibition panels of the ‘History of Construction of Cosanti.' 

This is an amazing story: Each building at Cosanti was a summer project

for EARTH CASTING - SILT PILE workshops offered by 

the ASU Architecture Department. The programs were taught by Paolo Soleri and the students received credits for their participation.

Each building at Cosanti was constructed with different techniques. 

This collection has one panel for each of the buildings, with photos and text describing 

the process.

We hope to have the panels printed on 24 x 36 inches Ultra Boards. We received a quote for $ 1014.92 and appreciate any help with this cost.

These panels are the first step towards a larger exhibition in the Pumpkin Apse, hopefully this fall.

Any help is very much appreciated!!


Plan your trip to the Arcology!


Arcosanti Tour
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Cosanti Tour
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Our Suites & Greenhouse Guest Rooms

Looking to extend your visit to Arcosanti? Enjoy our quiet and restful accommodations on the mesa. Our Suites & Greenhouse Guest Rooms feature handmade furniture and accents, as well as unique views of our high desert property.

Suites & Greenhouse Guestrooms

About the



Vaults after a monsoon 2021

Since 1965, The Cosanti Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has advocated for the built environment to be created in harmony with nature through the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), through our Arizona demonstration projects, Cosanti and Arcosanti. Join us in our mission to inspire a reimagined urbanism that builds resilient and equitable communities sustainably integrated with the natural world.

Today's Gift Makes Tomorrow Possible

Text: Ivan Fritz, Jen Thornton, Linn Williams, and Taylor Morgan

Additional Photos: Jessica Jameson, Taylor Morgan

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