Monday, April 30, 2012



Tara ImageIn 2008, Tara Pullano was introduced to Iskashitaa Refugee Network through a University of Arizona independent study in anthropology. She quickly found her niche! Serving as an AmeriCorps member, Tara was Iskashitaa's Volunteer and Resource Coordinator and launched large scale sewing and crafts classes held at TIARC.

A look back at Tara's tenure with Iskashitaa shows Iskashitaa's growth over the years. Tara served as volunteer coordinator, resource coordinator, and sewing and crafts organizer. These duties now represent three different staff positions - two half-time and one full time as well as a multitude of volunteers (with room for more). In order to sustain our staff, we need continued donor support. Please donate today!

Tara left our staff team to return to Pima Community College and pursue her paralegal degree. She graduated with this degree in December 2011. Throughout this time, Tara continued as our newsletter editor in a volunteer capacity. We are grateful for her volunteer service to help us raise awareness, generate interest, recruit volunteers, and encourage donors. We wish Tara the best of luck in her new career, and hope she will find ways to continue to remain connected to Iskashitaa.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eat Local This Spring!



Be part of the local food system, know your farmer, cook creatively eat healthily, support local sustainable farming, be kinder to your environment, and have fun!

Visit or volunteer with Iskashitaa at the Tucson CSA (Community Supported Aggriculture). Iskashitaa has a table on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 4pm and 7pm. Come learn about CSA food shares or visit Iskashitaa's table and enjoy live music. Meet us in the courtyard of the Historic Y in downtown Tucson.

To volunteer or get more information, email Lizbeth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Have You Seen It?

Have You Seen It?

With a little help from our friends, Iskashitaa has gone viral!

Check out our website calendar, and sign up to attend our events in one click or visit our beautifully redesigned Facebook! Let us know if you have suggestions or ideas on how we can keep you up to date and connected!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome Lori! Our NEW Staff Addition

Welcome! Lori!
Our NEW Staff Addition
Our New Staff Image
Lori Coletta has become Iskashitaa's Community Program Coordinator.
Lori originally moved to Arizona in 1982 to attend Prescott College, and has lived in Tucson since 1986. An avid gardener most of her life, she has studied Permaculture and herbology, and has worked at farms and gardens as well as with schools installing organic gardens with children and teachers.
She is presently an Americorp volunteer, and graduate student at the University of Arizona in the Global Health and Development program.
Working with Iskashitaa will give her the opportunity to work with international people while contributing to a community that has given so much to her!
Lori is excited to be helping grow our partnerships with community donors and organize the redistribution of produce to families and organizations. She is searching far and wide for volunteers who are interested in delivering produce to families and organizations. Volunteers should be able to drive and excited to make a difference! Please contact Lori if you are interested in helping out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

HCET Blog 4-22

This has been such a whirlwind week for me! On Friday morning we received an unexpected location to harvest.  It was a huge grapefruit tree in the middle of a lush green backyard complete with fountains and a real-life 40-year-old tortoise! Luckily we had some fantastic spur of the moment volunteers who could come and help us out.  We picked over 13 crates full of grapefruit and with each crate weighing about 50 pounds that’s over 650 pounds of grapefruit!  On Saturday I attended an earth day event that Iskashitaa was tabling at.  We had all our beautiful clothes, baskets, water-bottle holders, jams and other preserves out for display.  The event was a huge success and people especially loved the pomegranate lime jelly (I tried some and it was Delicious).  People once again responded enthusiastically to our mission and hopefully we’ll have some more fruit trees and volunteers coming our way thanks to our efforts!  This Friday is the last HCETer harvest so if you haven’t had the chance to volunteer with us come on out!


Friday, April 20, 2012

For All You Do

For All You Do

For their donations, resources, and assistance, these organizations deserve a special THANKS!

  • Catalina UMC Youth group for organizing independent harvests that yielded 1500 citrus in one day's haul
  • Bentley's Coffee and Tea House for consistent support and encouragement
  • Borderlinks collaboration on educational community service and support of local food system
  • La Cocina for sustained support and venue for meetings and fundraisers
  • Up with People for community service and complimentary show tickets
  • Church Women United for contributions to Amani International Day Care
  • First UCC for financial support
  • St. Andrews and North MinisterPresbyterian Youth groups for helping to redistribute gleaned fruit, local pecans, bread, and vegetables to refugee families

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
zest from 1 large grapefruit
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

For the glaze - mix powdered sugar and grapefruit juice until desired consistency is reached. Pour over the cake while it is still warm.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Laughing at Ourselves

Laughing at Ourselves

By Kelsey Rivers

B.A. Student in Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Arizona
Honors Civic Engagement Team Intern - Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network

Laughing Together Image

As a student at the University of Arizona, I have been taking a number of classes on language learning. In one of these classes, we have been discussing Mikhail Bakhtin's "The Problem of Speech Genres". What he means by "speech genres" is simply the difference between language in a scholarly journal as opposed to speaking with a small child.

This got me thinking about the speech in our ESL class. I think Taylor and my speech is a lot of talking, but not a lot of content. Actually, there is a great deal of content, but most is lost in the process of crossing language barriers. If anything, the main mode of communication would be gestures and drawings.

There is also a lot of swapping, both in terms of language and culture. This swapping often leads to "Spanglish" or "Franglais" type situations; most sentences come out a mixture of many languages.

However, instead of the typical frustration that occurs in other multilingual settings (like my more formal French class) our class is far more light-hearted. This is possibly because of my poorly executed drawings but I feel like we are always on the verge of laughter.

This laughter extends to the linguistic front as well; on a mechanical level we, the teachers, often can't accurately produce the sounds of their language, and the same applies to them. For us, we constantly mess up the length of our vowels, for them the fricatives appear to pose problems.

Although we all laugh, we persevere and finally nail the pronunciation, and our students are excited for us to have finally managed it. I wish all language learning experiences could be as rewarding as this.

Are you ready to share your skills and passion in Iskashitaa's English classrooms? We would love to have you as a lead teacher or assistant. Please contact Lizbeth for more information!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kadu, Let your Mouth be the Judge

Kadu, Let your Mouth be the Judge
by Mike Parelskin,
Harvesting and Preservation Coordinator
We had another epic day in the St. Francis kitchen!

We preserved a wonderful batch of strawberry-tangelo marmalade, created a lime marinade, juiced grapefruit and oranges, cracked pecans, and one of our refugee cooks, Nargis, made Kadu- all at the same time! Thanks to some great help from Borderlinks volunteers, we had a wonderfully successful day.

Kadu, a dish probably unknown to most of our readers, is something you must try! Kadu is an Afghan savory pumpkin dish made with pumpkin (Nargus used three different varieties), tomatoes, onion, spices, and more. I will let your mouth do the watering while I tell you it is the tastiest pumpkin recipe I have ever had and the pumkins were picked locally by Iskashitaa volunteers and refugees at Bukelew Farms!

Are you interested in trying out this yummy dish? You can try Nargis's Kadu hot off the stove and other dishes from all over the world at Iskashitaa's benefit dinner on Friday April, 20th. To join us for this fantastic dinner, contact Natalie.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Ongoing Events

Winter Harvests: Wednesday - Saturday

Please contact Mike Parelskin (925-330-8775), our harvesting coordinator, if you are interested in harvesting grapefruit, calamondin limes, and other citrus. Check our Facebook page and our website for more details, or email for more information.

Food preservation workshops:

2nd Thursday & Last Friday of the month

Pumpkin chutney, apple butter, marmalades, & more! Learn about new foods, techniques, and cross- cultural traditions. Come for an hour; come for half the day! If you are interested in volunteering please email

St. Francis Crafts' Market:

2nd and 4th Sundays each month

Every second and fourth Sunday, our refugee-made products are for sale at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road. Come browse and buy our refugee-made crafts and local preserves! Recycled materials sewn, crocheted, and woven into great new rugs, bags, jewelry, baskets, and clothes.

Upcoming Events
GreenFest 2012

Saturday, April 7 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

Tucson Village Farm, 4210 N. Campbell Ave.

Join Iskashitaa for this FREE family event with music, food, and activities for the whole family! Look for the Iskashitaa table with sustainable foods, refugee-made crafts created from sustainable materials, and more!

Jefferson Park Neighborhood Tour

Sunday, April 15 (12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Jefferson Park is having its 3rd annual home tour. This is where Iskashitaa was born! Come take a tour of our roots or volunteer to help out! The playground of the Tucson International School will be the initial site. The tour theme is sustainability. Look for the Iskashitaa table!

Iskashitaa's International Culture Benefit Dinner

Friday, April 20th

Join us at 6pm for a tour of the world through the foods and arts of refugee countries! Tickets are only $25 but the memories will be priceless. To buy a ticket or for more information, contact Natalie. Hurry before tickets sell out!

Tucson Earth Day at Reid Park:

Saturday, April 21 (9 a.m. - 2 p.m.)

Although Iskashitaa celebrates our Earth's resources everyday, Earth day is a free event where you can share and celebrate our earth with all of Tucson! To volunteer at this event, contact Lizbeth.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


No Fruit Left Behind
Iskashitaa is hoping to leave no fruit behind this spring.

You have probably seen trees full of luscious tangelos, grapefruits, and oranges.

Help us pick and make use of these resources!

Tell a homeowner about Iskashitaa!
Volunteer to harvest!
Come cook with us!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

HCET Harvesting

The flyering and database phone calls of last week paid off and we got a new location to harvest grapefruit. The last time I harvested grapefruit was the very first harvest I did with Iskashitaa about three months ago and I was excited to go back and test out my skill with the fruit pickers on something bigger than an orange. Annie and I met our two new volunteers at the home and quickly got to work harvesting the huge yellow grapefruits on the tree. I was happy to see that my skill with the picker had improved greatly and I was able to tug down the grapefruits fairly easily—maybe I’ve gained some muscle from all this harvesting! The new volunteers were great; they easily pulled the grapefruits out of the tree with their pickers (putting my first attempt to shame) and weren’t afraid to risk a few scratches to grab grapefruit that had rolled under the tree. We left with four crates full of grapefruits to redistribute to refugees around the Tucson community. It was another successful harvest to end a great week!