the irresistible fleet of bicycles


Leave a comment

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

image-1.jpeg

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!

 


Leave a comment

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.”


Leave a comment

acequia poem

La_Canova_Acequia_North.jpg

Anyone who has farmed in New Mexico can tell you any myriad of stories about the acequia  culture that exists there. Acequias community-managed irrigation ditches that, when stopped up, flood fields along their length. This practice is centuries old and integral to the traditional ways of farming in the high desert of the region, and it closely dictates the yearly, weekly, and daily rhythms of agriculture.

First thing in the Spring, before they even think of planting, farmers across New Mexico go out with spades to participate in a ditch cleaning. They elect a majordomo (from the same root as mayor) to manage the flow of water to each farm, and they irrigate only on their allotted day. Sometimes, in the heat of noon, your majordomo will appear out of no where waving his arms frantically yelling that Ayy! There are gophers in the ditch, and you’ll grab your boots and a shovel, and drive out right quick to plug those holes up. It’s a beautiful, sometimes comical, and sometimes dramatic (seriously, they could write soap operas about this stuff) practice in which citizens co-manage their common resource of water.

In Taos County, NM, however, some believe the practice to be under threat from corporate and state infringement on water rights. The following poem was written in response to the Abeyta Settlement of 2012, which you can read more about here. You can see the original post of this poem and read the poet’s notes, on Robert Mirabal’s website.

Acequia Poem 
By Chris Pieper

I am water, I transport the light of the heavens into the earth into all
I am the transporter of delight, I am Acequia,
I am not owned or to be taken prisoner for foreign minds,lands,

Behind master-locks, concrete walls and the pegged barb-wire strands,
Beneath tall laws and secret negotiations,
you lock me up
is this your meaning of autonomy?
to me its a meaning of captivity, locked up tonight once again
You can explain to children’s, children how we lost our fight;
that is the cuento’s you will recite to-night

They’ll never know the shame that brands–
Dark-shame on mocking the gifts from the heavens,
One day maybe they’ll get those draggin’ days all right,
Sent from foreign commands from our future children,
to set me free once again and hopefully the men who turned the keys and sold me’s children will recognize me still. 

I am water i transport the light of the heavens into the earth into all
I am the transporter of delight, I am Acequia,
I am not owned or to be taken prisoner for foreign minds,lands,


Leave a comment

for your pod bud ears

CREAR1985

“And one of those farmer’s said, ‘you know we can do this work. This is our lives. We have pride in what we do, this is hard work: building these terraces year after year for a thousand years. This is a part of our culture and that’s why we can do it.’ Now, the whole world is going to have to do that pretty soon. Where are we going to  build these resources? So those resources are only going to come out of people who are accustomed, only going to come from farmers, farming families, people accustomed, campesinos, people who work, the small farmers, the millions and millions of small farmers all over the work. The farmers are going to have to reshape the earth and we are going to have to support those farmers to do that.”

-Mark Freeeman, found of CREAR on the Agricultural Innovations podcast. A fascinating conversation about climate change, rural infrastructure in the Dominican Republic and New Mexico, skepticism of new technology, distrust of institutions, and the difficulty of finding hope.


Leave a comment

2016 apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture in the american west

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Starting a career in regenerative agriculture? Want to develop technical skills in grassfed beef production, dairy management and cheesemaking, or heirloom fruit tree cultivation and holistic orchard management?

The wonderful folks at the Quivira Coalition are seeking applicants for their New Agrarian Program‘s eight-month (March to Nov 2016) on-site apprenticeships at San Jaun Ranch in Alamosa, CO; James Ranch Artisan Cheese in Durango, CO; and Tooley’s Trees in Truchas, NM. All of these positions explore sustainable agriculture in the new American West and include a monthly stipend, housing, some food, and an education fund.
For more info contact: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program Coordinator at sarah@quiviracoalition.org. Full position descriptions are available after the break.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

seed week

cat_desc_seeds_1
Join us for SEED WEEK — a 5 day long convergence, teach-in and training for seed advocates. As land and seed stewards, we have a special responsibility to the seeds we’re growing. We recognize seed as both global, and highly localized commons — a common ecosystem of genetics, cultural relations, and the result of centuries of adaptation, and survival. We cherish the richness of this biological and cultural legacy and join together in the common struggle to defend it for the future.Together we will build a knowledge base that can protect seed freedom and biodiversity against the pressures of global capitalism.  We have what it takes to heal ourselves and RECLAIM the seed commons 
 
More topics include:
  • state/national/international seed policy & trade rules 
  • regional seed production/networks
  • adaptive breeding methodologies
  • messaging and policy pathways
  • legal strategies
  • cooperative institution-making for genetic diversity 
  • grass-roots organizing for community resilience 

FACILITATION AND PRESENTATIONS BY Rowen White (Sierra Seeds), Neil Thapar (Sustainable Economies Law Center), Kristina Hubbard (Organic Seed Alliance), Severine vT Fleming (Greenhorns) and more

WHERE Owl Peak Farm, La Madera, New Mexico
WHEN September 14-18, 2015

APPLY here !

Cost includes all food + accommodations and feeds the scholarship fund
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 728 other followers