LOCATION | New Mexico

TYPOLOGY | Desert Farming
SYSTEM | Waffle Garden

For thousands of years in very dry desert climates, indigenous cultures supported large populations with agricultural practices augmented by their ability to capture, store, and manipulate rainwater and runoff. The cultures of the American southwest and Central America inhabiting these areas developed a variety of techniques to capture rain. The Zuni live in the western New Mexico landscape where limited water shapes lives. Before the invasion of the Spanish in the 1500s, the Native American tribes of the Southwest United States had managed to thrive in the harsh, unforgiving landscape by understanding and respecting all that it had to offer. The waffle garden method for farming is successful for arid, dry climates and its formation is unique to the Zuni. A successful agricultural typology seems highly unlikely in this ecoregion but examination of the deployment of the basic principles of indigenous gardens the basic principles can be deployed in a modern approach to a desert garden.

Illustrations by Jaqueline Budz and Despo Thoma