the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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our land 2: moving towards an autonomous food system, NM, nov 9-15

November 9-17th, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe New Mexico.
This will be the second Agrarian Trust OUR LAND symposium, and once again we’ve got speakers from around the country and around the region focusing our attention, analysis, activism and collective agency on issues relevant to your regional foodshed.
This event is presented by Agrarian Trust and has a focus on Land access, land transition and the issues underlying ownership and management of the territory required for an autonomous and sovereign food system.
The central themes of this symposium center on land-use and governance regimes of the southwest region.  We will learn about the acequias, a system of irrigation ditch commons brought by the Spanish. The history, management regimes and future prospects of this system represent a powerful curriculum for other commons-based systems. Can these ditch commons be explained to include their uplands and headwaters, or will ditch rights be lost to privatization and sold to developers?

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eeee, acequias! our land symposium, northern NM, nov. 9-17


OUR LAND 2: Tracing the Acequia Commons

A Symposium about land transition, continuity, and commons.

NOVEMBER 9-17th 2016
Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico

Films. Talks. Exhibit. Acequia Walk.

  • Can our regions shift towards food sovereignty?

    Can our agrarian systems become more harmonious with their wild habitat?

    Can we maintain our traditional commons?

The complete program, speakers bios, schedule and locations are all on the website (or scroll down to see the full schedule of events)

You can learn about the work of the speakers at the event’s facebook page, where we’ve posted videos, articles, and links.

Speakers include:  Mary Wood, Ruth Breach, Rick Prelinger, Kim Stringfellow, Sylvia Rodriguez, Allyson Siwik, Tezozomoc, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Miguel Santiestevan, Devon Pina, Stanley Crawford, and Alex Pino.

Artists include: Sharon Steward, Kim Stringfellow, Emily Volger, Ildi Carlise-Cummings, Kaitlin Bryson, Nancy Dewhurst, Erin Fussell, Bill Gilbert, Andrea Gohl, Ryan Henel, Catherine Harris, Jeanette Hart-Mann, Cecilia McKinnon, Sarah Molina, Hollis Moore, Hamshya Rajkumar, Kacie Smith, Molly Zimmer, Rachel Zollinger, and more!

OUR LAND 2 has a focus on the lessons of the acequia irrigation commons, a 400 year old system that supports dryland agriculture.

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Agrarian Trust Symposium speaker Kim Stringfellow’s cool ass project!

The Mojave Project is really just kind of the bomb-diggety. But don’t take our word for it: to learn more, we recommend this absolutely gorgeous video. The project is an “experimental transmedia documentary led by Kim Stringfellow exploring the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert.” Browse the current projects here.

And while we’re talking about the Mojave Project, they’re asking you to
WHAT: We pleased to send you this SAVE THE DATE announcement about our autumn program OUR LAND 2: Tracing the Acequia Commons, a series of talks, exhibits and happenings to advance the broadening discourse on land commons and farmland futures.

WHERE: New Mexico! Most events Free and open to the public.

WHEN: November 9-17th in close association with the Quivira Coalition and Biodynamic Association annual conferences, Agrarian Trust invites you to join us in fine company  to approach topics of Public Trust, Acequia traditions and commons culture, emergent urban commons, water enclosures and new topographics; through lectures, documentary films, open archive exhibits and an walk along an Acequia irrigation ditch, flowing continuously for four centuries.

WHO: Mary Wood, Rick Prelinger, Kim Stringfellow, Tezozomoc, Devon Pena, Ruth Breach, Stanley Crawford, Wes Jackson, Emily Vogler, Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, Eric Holt Gimenez, Kate Levy… and more


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This April, as the communal irrigation ditches known as acequias run with spring melt and farmers carve new furrows into their fields, many northern New Mexico villages will celebrate their annual homecoming. This is the time of the limpia –– the cleaning of the acequia, when water-rights holders and their families gather to haul rocks, dig mud and clear brush, honoring a tradition so old that its followers can only guess at its roots. In some villages, the tradition has died out as young people move to cities in search of employment and the elderly pass on. But in El Cerrito, a small agrarian community on the Pecos River 60 miles southeast of Santa Fe, more people come home to attend the limpia every year.

El Cerrito has been photographer Sharon Stewart’s creative ground for two decades. Now based in Chacon, N.M., Stewart grew up among canals and pump houses in southern Texas. Her great-grandfather was a photographer, and her father a water district attorney. She earned a degree in economics at the University of Texas, and after an uninspired fling with business school, helped found the Houston Center for Photography. Her work has been featured in galleries across the United States and in Europe. To read more about the Acequia tradition in the high country news, click here!

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how rural new mexico shares water during drought

“We have the wrong world view here in the West, the idea of unlimited expansion, and it just doesn’t work,” she says. “I think land-based people who generally live on a small scale know that there’s a limited good. The basic idea is that shortages are shared.” Sylvia Rodriguez, professor emerita of anthropology at UNM


Photo credit J.R. Logan/Taos News

Norbert Ledoux beams with pride when he sees his acequia brimming with spring runoff on a sunny May morning.

Ledoux, a young farmer from Talpa, has 2 acres of beans, peas and other vegetables planted. Water in the ditch likely means a bountiful harvest. Enough crops to feed his friends and family, with plenty left over to sell at his roadside farm stand.

“This year, we have a such an abundance that we can’t possibly use it all,” says Ledoux. “Everybody is content.”

Three years ago, things weren’t so cheerful.

On this same day in 2013, there was less than one-fifth the flow in this stream, the Río Grande del Rancho, which feeds more than a dozen other acequias — community-operated irrigation ditches that double as political subdivisions in New Mexico. By the middle of June, there was almost no water at all. Amid that devastating drought, acequia leaders revived a water sharing agreement originally drafted to weather the brutal drought of the ‘30s.

At the time, Ledoux was a mayordomo – a ditch boss who monitors and manages an acequia. He says that first deal was struck to help the whole valley get through the dry spell.

“Everybody was losing their crops,” Ledoux explains. “So a few ancestors of mine – uncles of mine and my grandfather – got together with the mayordomos and implemented this water share project.”

Read the whole High Country News article HERE!


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the best time to plant a tree is now

So get some good advice from the experts! This is one of the best youtube planting tutorials that I’ve ever seen.

Tooley’s Trees is a retail and wholesale nursery in the beautiful Truchas, NM, on the highroad between Santa Fe and Taos, at 7,960’. They are also tree whisperers. If you don’t live in New Mexico, you maybe have never heard of them, but– as you can probably tell from the video– they are worth knowing about. Using native soil in fabric bags and root maker pots, Toooley’s Trees grows a large variety of shrubs, trees, and fruits. Being in the high desert of the Southwest, they focus on growing varieties that are drought-resistant, can tolerate high pHs, and can thrive at high elevation. They use holistic management and organic practices, which they say, “is time consuming and labor intensive, but results in healthier plants, soils, water quality and beneficial insect populations.”