The Northern New Mexico Young Farmers Alliance, (affiliate of the National Young Farmers Coalition and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union) is hosting a “Farmer Fundraiser” next week in support of a greater-Santa Fe Tool Lending Library next week. There will be a local food supper, beer and entertainment provided and it takes place on Thursday, October 12th from 6-9 pm at the Santa Fe Farmers Market Building in Downtown Santa Fe. Tickets are $35 for non-members and $15 for members of National Young Farmers Coalition and/or Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.
In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.
“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.”
The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.
He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”
Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”
After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”
He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet. Continue reading →
Mountain West Seed Summit “Honoring Origins and Seeding the Future” March 3 – 4, 2017 Santa Fe, New Mexico – Hotel Santa Fe
Join Seed Stewards from the Mountain West and beyond for three days of seed knowledge and networking in beautiful Santa Fe.
The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the McCune Foundation, presents a two-day summit and one-day field trip focused on training and inspiring seed producers across the Rocky Mountain region. The Mountain West Seed Summit will include presentations, demonstrations, hands-on activities, lively discussions, seed exchanges, art, music, and more!
Additional local partners include SeedBroadcast which will be capturing and sharing seed stories and hosting a seed poetry slam, and Squash Blossom which will be providing incredible local food and cuisine.
The Quivira Coalition, a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience by fostering ecological, economic and social health on Western landscapes, seeks a coordinator for their New Agrarian Program (NAP). Now, we can’t even tell you how awesome the Quivira coalition is in less than 500 words, so we’ll just like to some of the other times we’ve told you, like here, and here, and here, to name a few. Or just take our word for it. They’re hiring for a part-time coordinator, a position that requires living in sunny Santa Fe, and which offers excellent benefits.
Full position description below!
NAP offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture in partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community in the West. It aims to provide the next generation of food producers with hands-on, on-the-ground mentoring from seasoned mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and are skilled and dedicated teachers. Continue reading →
Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming
Offered through The Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program on partner ranches and farms in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and California
The Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program (NAP) partners with skilled ranchers and farmers to offer annual apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture. Together, we create opportunities for comprehensive, full-immersion experiential learning from expert practitioners in professional settings. This program is designed to support the next generation of food producers and specifically targets first-career professionals with a sincere commitment to life at the intersection of conservation and regenerative agriculture. NAP mentors are dedicated stewards of the land; they practice intentional, regenerative methods of food or fiber production, provide excellent animal care, and are skilled and enthusiastic teachers.
In 2017, we are offering seven paid apprenticeship opportunities including:
San Juan Ranch (Saguache, CO): San Juan Ranch is a certified organic, grass-fed beef ranch operated by George Whitten and Julie Sullivan. The apprenticeship curriculum includes Holistic Management, low-stress animal husbandry, Continue reading →
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?
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.
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
SAVE THE DATE!
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
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!
“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.”
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.”