Mission: At the international sonoran desert alliance, we design and implement environmental, cultural, real estate and business development projects intended to preserve and enrich the environment, culture and economy of the sonoran desert. We are committed to fostering communication, understanding and cooperation among the diverse cultures residing in the area.
Programs: Isda works to improve sonoran desert communities through housing and community economic development projects. Isda restored and converted the historic curley school in ajo, az to 30 affordable live/work apartments for artists and artisans as a strategy to create a new arts-based economic niche in ajo. This is now called "creative placemaking- and isda has become a leader in implementing this approach in rural america. Isda also renovated historic buildings on the curley school campus to a clay studio and wood shop, a gallery, and a commercial kitchen business incubator. Additionally, isda has renovated nearly half of ajo's historic town plaza, restoring the extraordinary historic buildings in the heart of the community to productive use. Isda operates a business support service center and co-working space. Isda also produces extensive programming in community arts, seeking to bridge cultural divisions through creative activities and to create and strengthen community. Isda operates a continuum of programs in workforce development, including abe, esl, ged, work-study, internships,and a 4,000 hour apprenticeship program in building maintenance and repair which uses isda's own building renovation sites for on-the-job apprentice training. Isda produces environmental education programs including a bi-annual tri-national symposium "celebrating the sonoran desert" working in partnership with land management agencies in the sonoran desert. Isda also organizes field trips to sites in the sonoran desert including the pinacate biosphere reserve in sonora, mexico as well as and volunteer projects in desert restoration and conservation. Isda is a leadership member of the ajo regional food partnership, working with ten other local and regional organizations to create a healthy local food system. Finally, isda sponsors regional tri-national festivals and events, working with members of the tohono o'odham nation and residents of sonora, mexico to build community across borders.