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Experimental Gardens

Native Cultivars Gardens 

The Native Cultivars Garden at ARI was inspired by the resilience of plants in the ever-changing landscape shaped by human movement and cultural shifts. In 2020, we collected seeds from plants that belonged to the Eastern Agricultural Complex (EAC), a group of plants that were consistently utilized and sometimes cultivated in the Eastern Woodlands region for thousands of years prior to the introduction of corn. The EAC includes plants like goosefoot, maygrass, sumpweed, and erect knotweed.

Thanks to our partnership with the Southeast Indiana Community Gardens and a generous grant from the United Way, we constructed four raised garden beds in 2021 and successfully grew 11 different plant species. This year and beyond, we are expanding our garden to include sunflowers, corn, beans, and squash. We make an effort to source our plants from small growers and aim to make our crops accessible to descendant communities for their own use.

Our Native Cultivars Garden aims to bring the past to life through living plants. Here, you’ll find species similar to those unearthed from the archaeological soils of the Guard Site, as well as plants that are still cherished and passed down through generations by Native Peoples.

We warmly welcome volunteers, as well as existing and new partnerships, to join us in this endeavor. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to us at

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