Jean Groen serves up plants for Community Ed classes

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist

SADDLEBROOK & CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Jean Groen, a self-described graduate home economist, will teach two sections of Edible & Medicinal Plants this fall 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 SaddleBrooke Center on Tuesdays, running Oct. 11-25. In addition, CAC's Corporate Center in Casa Grande will enjoy the course on Thursdays, Oct. 13-27. Each class will take place 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.

Jean Groen has helped write six books about the plants of the Sonoran Desert, including two 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 their medicinal uses. Groen writes about how to prepare it for food, if it is edible, by researching old recipes and writing new ones.

Together, Groen and Wells lead the monthly Curandero Walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, give PowerPoint presentations at the Superstition Mountain Museum each month, and are often requested to speak at events in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Groen's paternal great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian from West Virginia, while her maternal great-grandmother was a Delaware Indian from Pennsylvania. She loves cooking and to invent new recipes. Her motto is that she eats anything that doesn't eat her first - which explains her more than 700 cookbooks.

For more information or to register for CAC's array of community education courses, please contact Muriel Thomas (520-494-6616 /

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