CAC’s Jean Groen teaches trio of classes all about Edible & Medicinal Plants this summer

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - Jean Groen, a self-described graduate home economist, will teach three sections of Edible & Medicinal Plants this summer through Central Arizona College's community education program. Tuition for each section is $55 for the three-week course.

The first section will be held at CAC's Superstition Mountain Campus on Thursdays, June 23-July 7. CAC's SaddleBrooke Center will enjoy the course on Tuesdays, July 5-19, while the San Tan Center will be holding a section on Thursdays, July 21-Aug. 4. Each class runs from 9 a.m.-Noon.

In the class, students will learn how desert plants have fed, healed and clothed Native Americans for more than a thousand years. Students will be able to discern between edible and non-edible plants and identify medicinal procedures used by Sonoran Desert peoples.

Plants found in the books Plants of the Sonoran Desert and Their Many Uses and Cat's Claws to Cow's Tongue and Other Lesser Known Plants of the Sonoran Desert will be discussed. Samples of food from the plants studied will be provided.

Groen has helped write six books about the plants of the Sonoran Desert. Two of these are children's books. Her partner, Don Wells, writes about what the plants look like, where they are found, what Native Americans have used it for, and medicinal uses. Groen writes about how to prepare it for food, if it is edible. She researches old recipes and writes new recipes.

Together, Groen and Wells lead the Curandero Walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum monthly, give monthly PowerPoint presentations at the Superstition Mountain Museum, and speak at many events in the Valley of the Sun.

Groen's paternal great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian from West Virginia. Her maternal great-grandmother was a Delaware Indian from Pennsylvania. She loves to cook and to invent new recipes. Her motto is that she eats anything that doesn't eat her first. Groen owns more than 700 cookbooks and helps to teach classes at the arboretum in the summertime.

For more information about this or other C.A.L.L. programs, or to register for this class, please contact Joel Beck at 480-677-7721 or by e-mail at

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814