the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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acequia poem


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,

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for your pod bud ears


“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.

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2016 apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture in the american west



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 Full position descriptions are available after the break.

Continue reading

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seed week

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

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taos food center

What a great model!

Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 12.39.56 PM

Taos Food Center
Food is at the heart of the cultures and people of Northern New Mexico. The Taos Food Center is at the heart of TCEDC”s activities in supporting the people, cultures, and food of Northern New Mexico. The Taos Food Center is a 5,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen that has the equipment, services, and support that you need to get your food business started! Over 40 local food businesses currently work out of the Taos Food Center, making everything from fresh traditional salsas to delicious organic scones. Equipment available in the facility includes: dry storage, a large walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer space, convection ovens, fryers, steam kettles, a vacuum sealer, two commercial fruit presses, a flash-pasteurizer for juice, and a semi-automatic canning line that includes a filler and capper.

Support services for the food businesses include specialized training, product development, pH testing, regulatory assistance with NMED and FDA requirements, business development and cooperative marketing assistance. Over 85 community members have graduated from TCEDC\’s specialty foods course, “The Food Sector Opportunity” program. This course offers participants the basics of the history and culture of food in Northern New Mexico, food safety, packaging, labeling, government food regulations, and specialty foods product development and marketing.

The Food Sector Opportunity Project began in February 2000. This project provides not only access to the Taos Food Center, but the technical training that is necessary for food processing, support of other food processors, and support services from the TCEDC staff to succeed in developing a business or job in the food sector. The core of the project is a week long, 30 hour class covering all the basics of food processing, from the history and culture of food in Northern New Mexico to microbiology and food safety. The course also covers basic small business skills and computer skills for food entrepreneurs. Guest instructors and partners in the project include: The food technologist from New Mexico State, NM Environment Department, La Plaza Telecommunity, and FDA regional staff.

Cooperation also describes the other elements of the Food Sector Opportunity Project, the cause-marketing campaign. Existing business and new graduates of the program got together and created a logo, slogan, and marketing plan for a cooperative marketing campaign that highlighted the causes that the Taos Food Center and its tenants exemplify.
Out of this effort came the beautiful “Oso Good Foods” logo with labels and marketing material that tell the “Oso Good Foods” story. The “Oso Good” phrase was chosen to reflect the delicious and all-natural nature of Northern New Mexico Foods and “Oso”(Spanish for bear) for the bears that roam the mountains around Taos. The marketing campaign includes “Oso Good” stickers for all products of participating businesses and special “Oso Good” display shelves at local retailers Continue reading

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ranch jobs!

via the Quivera Coalition.


Quivira Coalition – Land & Water Program Opportunity
Summer Watershed Restoration Intern: Download the PDF for full job descrption & application. The Quivira Coalition seeks a 2013 summer intern who is passionate about land health to assist with a variety of tasks linked to our Comanche Creek Watershed Restoration project. The intern will work under the direct supervision of Mollie Walton, Ph.D., Quivira’s Land & Water Program Director. This is an amazing opportunity and involves projects that will require both field work and office work. Interested? Take a look at the application – pdf attached in this email – and apply as soon as possible. Dr. Walton will be filling this position as soon as possible.
Other Great Opportunities:
A few of the opportunities listed below were in the April newsletter. Khalsa Greenhouses is hoping to find one additional intern who would be interested in over-wintering with them – see job description and contact info below if you’re interested. Chico Basin is good to keep in mind if you’re interested in ranching, and can plan several months ahead of time. Spur Lake has regular openings for people with horseback experience…. Zapata Ranch is listed again, but with new positions… Continue reading

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new mexico internship opportunity

Greetings from the Terrible High Desert!IMG_1220
We have a unique opportunity to work on 3 farms located within 5 miles of each other near Abiquiu New Mexico in the Lower Chama River Valley.  We live and farm in a strange and fascinating cultural and historical area.  Drive across the highway to an unexcavated Tewa pueblo abandoned in the 1500’s, swim in the lake under the shadows of multi colored cliffs, and learn how to irrigate from a 278 year old Acequia.

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farm internship in new mexico

We are looking for a Farm Intern to assist our Base Camp’s Farm Manager and Educator in caring for our high altitude vegetable garden and a flock of hens, while offering daily educational activities for our ‘trekkers’ ages 10 to 18.

Gulch Farm

The Farm Intern should have experience or willingness to learn about organic gardening and engaging children in a meaningful, fun and educational manner.

Enjoy inspiring young people?
Interested in living in the Southwest for the summer?
Curious about what it takes to grow food in the desert?
This could be your chance to be a part of a dynamic group of dedicated educators where you can learn new skills, incorporate your passion and contribute to our mission! Continue reading

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job in new mexico

samilla2La Semilla Food Center is seeking an experienced organic Farm Manager to oversee daily production operations of La Semilla Youth Farm. The Farm Manager will be responsible for ensuring diversified vegetable and fruit production of 3-5 acres in year one, with increasing production in subsequent years.

The mission of La Semilla Youth Farm is to increase access to fresh and locally grown produce for families, increase access to sustainable agriculture training opportunities, demonstrate the viability of small and sustainable agriculture, and inspire a new generation of farmers, food activists, and engaged community members in the Paso del Norte region.

La Semilla Youth Farm is located in Anthony, NM on 12 acres of farmland. The Farm Manager will be responsible for ensuring diversified vegetable and fruit production of 3-5 acres in year one, with increasing production in subsequent years. In addition to managing production, the Farm Manager will collaborate with staff to provide educational workshops and identify marketing opportunities for distribution of farm products within the region. The Farm Manager will help create long term strategies and goals to develop La Semilla Youth Farm into an economically viable, sustainable education and demonstration farm. Ideal candidates will also have experience working with diverse populations and help to teach beginning farmers.

For more information, please visit

If interested in joining our team, please email a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references, subject line ‘Farm Manager’ or fax to   (575) 616-7037 by Friday, December 14, 2012.

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NYFC seeks a western organizer!

A great opportunity to work with the National Young Farmers’ Coalition in the Colorado River Basin.

The National Young Farmers’ Coalition seeks a full-time Colorado River Basin Organizer to build 7 new young farmers coalition affiliates in Colorado River Basin states (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY) and promote various campaigns with partner organizations to ensure the sustainability of farming in the region.


  • Organizing 7 new NYFC affiliate groups in AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT and WY with volunteers.
  • Hosting at least one event in each of these states as an introduction to the National Young Farmers’ Coalition
  • Building a highly engaged group of farmers and citizens in support of young and beginning farmers in these states Continue reading

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job posting at camino de paz school – new mexico

Farm Manager Position (Horticulture) – Camino de Paz School & Farm

Contact Info:

Horticulture Manager is responsible for 2 acres of year-round produce production (includes 5,000 sq ft of greenhouses), 2 acres of fruit, 4 acres pasture and wildlife. Directs a daily work crew of 2 to 4 adolescents for 1 hr of field work and 30 minutes of related classroom instruction — students rotate every 8 weeks. Working closely with the Farm Director, the manager and students develop the farm planting plan, and do the cultivation and harvesting.  Maintains relations with distribution channels & organic certification.  Horticulture Manager is one of several teachers that together develop the farm-school curriculum.  Other subject teachers include: dairy, poultry, sheep & goat and horse.  The farm curriculum is designed for age 11 and above.

At Camino de Paz Montessori Farm School, located 25 miles north of Santa Fe, N.M., adolescents participate fully in both farm management and operations. Students operate a Grade A goat dairy, attend farmers markets, distribute through co-ops, maintain a CSA and directly market products throughout northern New Mexico. The farm is horse powered and uses organic, biodynamic and permaculture principles. Visit our website:

5 years profitable farm produce and fruit growing experience, team work and good communication skill, college degree.

Desired Skills:
Draft horse experience, bilingual Spanish, Montessori/Waldorf experience, NAMTA Adolescent certification.  Holistic Management, Permaculture, Biodynamic, CSA experience.

Commensurate, room & board, health insurance.

This is at a non-profit organization.


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NYFC + greenhorns in santa fe

Join the National Young Farmers’ Coalition on Sunday, Oct. 2 in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a FREE New Agrarian Farm Tour & Mixer!!
*Meet at the Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion at 7am (sharp), and then carpool to Taos, NM to tour the Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) facility with a special Mobile Matanza demonstration (goat processing); explore Sol Feliz Farm with Miguel Santestevan, featuring Native American and Hispanic traditional dryland farming techniques, seed saving and acequia expertise; Continue reading