Archive for March, 2010

March 2010 Edition

The 2010 March Edition of Green Fire Times, “Dreaming New Mexico – An Age of Local Foodsheds & A Fair Trade State” is now available on newsstands throughout north central New Mexico, On-line at our website, and on “hand-held” devices such as iPhones, Blackberries, Droids, etc!

The 2010 March edition of Green Fire Times includes the following articles: Dreaming New Mexico: Local Foodsheds & A Fair Trade State, Farmers’ Markets – The Public Face of Local Food, Improving Children’s Health and the Farming Economy, The Landrace Peppers of NM and Familia, Save NM Seeds Coalition and the Farmer Protection Act, Paternity More >

¡Sostenga! – The Value of Our Food System

Camilla Bustamante

We are so far ahead because we are so far behind. – Ted Trujillo, Esq. Chimayo Chile Farmer

Any credible discussion involving how people relate to their food systems must include critical dialog regarding the foundations of how people establish their value for nature. These conversations should include reflection on the dichotomy between intrinsic and instrumental value, where intrinsic value is defined as having value “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” and instrumental value is defined as the value placed on a thing because of its usefulness.

It is hard to digest for some, and sometimes even incongruent to basic More >

My Own Garden – Compost: Black Gold

Susan Waterman

Simply put, there’s nothing like compost if you want to build healthy soil. Making compost is recycling, it’s “free,” and your plants and soil will love it. Let’s take a look at what makes compost happen, and how it benefits you and your soil.

What Makes Soil Healthy Humus is the end product, the transformation product, of composting by microorganisms, insects (e.g. beetles and termites) and worms in nature, or with your assistance in a well-maintained pile. Soil is fertile because of the presence of humus that is generated by the community of soil organisms. Humus gives soil its dark More >

Quiet Through a Loud Land: Awake to Change

In a time that breaks in cutting pieces all around, when men, voiceless against thing-ridden men, set themselves on fire, it seems too difficult and rare to think of the life of a man grown whole in the world, at peace and in place. But having thought of it I am beyond the time I might have sold my hands or sold my voice and mind to the arguments of power that go blind against what they would destroy. Wendell Berry

Scott Pittman

My first memory is of red sandals dancing in the hot sun of the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma. More >

Save New Mexico Seeds Coalition and the Farmer Protection Act

Seth Roffman

Genetically Engineered (GE) and Genetically Modified (GMO) are terms that are often interchanged. GMO is the biotech industry’s preferred definition but the seeds are really genetically engineered. A hybrid seed is created, and then antibiotics (called markers so the companies know who owns the seed) and bacteria resistant to glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide are inserted. The process is patented.

Biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have been creating and patenting genetically engineered (GE) seeds that are resistant to herbicides. Farmers who want to plant these seeds enter into contracts with the seed manufacturer. The contract specifies that these seeds cannot be saved More >

Paternity Suits and Native New Mexican Peppers?

Who Should Pay the Cost if Heirloom Chiles are Genetically Contaminated in the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area?

Gary Paul Nabhan

The Upper Rio Grande—from Isleta and Albuquerque to Chimayo and Taos—harbors more heirloom chile pepper varieties in its traditional fields than does all the rest of the United States. Chilehead Dave DeWitt once tallied sixteen distinct New Mexican pepper “landraces” or native heirloom varieties still available in the watershed, but noted that “some seeds you receive may be unintentionally contaminated.” That contamination, intentional or not, is the rub. The spice rub.

What DeWitt meant was “genetic contamination” resulting from the naturally More >

Letter to the Editor – Farmer Protection Act

Dear Editor:

I am incredibly disappointed in the Senators of the Conservation Committee who voted to table the Farmer Protection Act, Senate Bill 303, on Sunday, February 14. This Act has been four years in the making with alliances between the Tribes, the Aceaquias, and even environmentalist groups agreeing on the importance of this issue. The four page Act does three simple and important things: 1) creates a procedure for Biotech agents to enter private property, 2) limits the liability that farmers and ranchers would suffer if genetically engineered crops or pollen accidentally comes on our land, and 3) states that More >

Genetically Engineered Alfalfa in NM

Two crops that could have a huge impact in NM are GE chile and GE alfalfa. GE alfalfa was temporarily on the market from 2005 to 2007. Since then, it is possible that seed from flowering alfalfa has made its way to areas well beyond where it was initially planted. Ranchers and farmers who have neighboring property could have been contaminated.

Since 2006, the NM State Legislature has been funding the development of GE chile on behalf of the NM Chile Association. This GE chile will be the first GE crop in the world to be eaten fresh, and whose seeds More >

North and South Come Together in the West to Teach Traditional Living Practices


Plant geneticist Emigdio Ballon, Quechua from Bolivia, and Lorraine Gray, a Mohawk from New York, recognized for her revival of traditional agriculture in the Northeast, have come together in Northern New Mexico to co-found the Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute. The establishment of this non-profit organization formalizes the work the couple has been doing for years in New York, New Mexico, Central and South America. Four Bridges is establishing a network of people to address global issues on the community level. Their approach is to accomplish this by first addressing poverty and the lack of healthy sustainable living practices. Currently More >

SFCC Biofuels Class provides fuel for 28,000-mile World’s Record Driving Attempt

Charles Bensinger

Thursday, Jan 28th. There were already four inches of snow on the ground, and the white stuff kept falling at a vigorous pace. I was happy to be inside and not going anywhere. Then came the phone call. The young woman introduced herself as Cloe. She asked if I could provide her with biodiesel or vegetable oil, as she was currently undertaking a cross-country journey seeking to establish the world’s record for distance traveled by a car using only alternative fuels.

She apologized for the short notice, but she needed to refuel as soon as possible. She and her partner More >

Dreaming New Mexico – An Age of Local Foodsheds & A Fair Trade State – Part 2

What is our dream relationship to food and the food system that feeds us? Imagine the year is 2025 and we’ve done everything right. What might New Mexico’s food system look like? The Dreaming New Mexico project engaged with many involved citizen-experts, gathered data and researched neglected topics. We conjured the poster map as a celebratory understanding of contemporary agrarian life, custom-designed a Big Picture of “Food in the Land of Enchantment” and distilled a complex tangle of topics into a long, single-sentence shared dream.

DREAM. A future food system that nourishes all New Mexican citizens, especially the food insecure: with More >

Desalination: More Issues Emerge In The Waiting Game

Joan E. Price South Central New Mexico Correspondent

In spite of a bitterly contested district court ruling against ranchers and farmers that awarded Alamogordo some 4,000 acre-feet per year of brackish water 27 miles to the north for municipal use, residents still await approval of the final Environmental Impact Statement after the public comment period. They will be waiting longer. As the first municipality in the state to build a desalination plant, a number of issues must still be resolved if the city stays with its projected growth rates.

Six years ago, the hopeful city received a loan of $27 million from More >

Children Explore Farm Food

Beneficial Farms CSA families have fun trying new foods together Amy Hetager

Quince is Jonas’ favorite jam; pomegranate seeds satisfy a craving for candy; and a favorite morning treat is an egg and Swiss chard breakfast pizza — as long as the eggs are from the farm. Jonas is Annette Kaare-Rasmussen’s 11-year-old son who enjoys the opportunity to discover food from local farms. The Kaare-Rasmussen family of five; including Jakob, 9 and Jonatan, 5 are members of the Beneficial Farms Community Supported Agriculture program, where they receive a pre-paid weekly share of regionally grown fruits and vegetables. Through the CSA, they More >

One Way To Conserve on the Ranch and Farm

Doug Pushard Agriculture and ranching consume a substantial amount of potable and pumped water around the country, and to some extent in Northern New Mexico. In some areas of the US, farms and livestock consume up to 60% of overall water use. This water is usually either clean, highly processed potable water or well water pumped from precious underground aquifers. This is not a great use for this water, given that a cheaper, better and proven alternative is readily at hand. Rainwater is FREE and sometimes very plentiful even in the arid Southwest. It is no wonder its use is More >



March 4 Opportunities for Immigrants to Farm S. Valley Economic Development Ctr., 5:30-7pm 318 Isleta Blvd, a few blocks So. of Cesar Chavez Meeting Sponsored by the Natl. Immigrant Farming Initiative Contact Don Bustos: 505.842.7374 or email

March 6 USGBC-NM Monthly Luncheon Marriot Courtyard, 5151 Journal Center Blvd., 11:30-1 pm Specifying for LEED – a joint USGBC NM/Construction Specifications Inst. event. Cost: $25. Reservations: Questions:

Mar 17-19 W/Th/F 8 am-5 pm; Birk Jones Fundamentals of Facility Energy Retrofitting Class (70550) UNM Div, of Continuing Ed. class for contractors, facility managers and designers in Green Building construction. Curriculum developers include More >

Duel of the Chiles

Trovo de los Chiles: Duel of the Chiles: el Chimayoso vs. el Número Diez Chimayó vs. Number Ten

Based on the Ancient Trovo Tradition of Poetic Duels Adapted and Translated by Estevan Arellano & Enrique Lamadrid

Chile Número 10 ¿Cómo vas, mi Chimayoso, How goes it, friend from Chimayó, cómo has pasado tu tiempo? how have you spent your time? De la universidad vengo I have come from the university a formarte un argumento. to propose to you an argument.

Chile Chimayoso Bien, y a ti, ¿cómo te va? Well, for you, how goes it? Y ahora te preguntaré, And now I will More >

The Best Way to Support Local Farmers

The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Volunteer Program is looking for people who are interested in participating during the growing season and building stronger relationships with farmers.

Most farms in Northern NM are operated by single families. The average age of the farmers is 58. By having volunteers providing assistance by physically helping in the field or at the market booth, the farmers will be able to increase their production and sales while receiving a psychological boost. The SFFM Volunteer Program matches farmers’ requests for help with volunteers’ interests. Volunteering one day a week or every other week can be an educational More >

2010 NM Legislative Report

A disappointing finish to the thirty-day session

The Natural Heritage Conservation Act, SB-186 by Sen. Cisneros, was one of only fourteen bills that passed. Though highly debated, agreements were made between conservation and agriculture groups to move the bill forward. The bill provides for a fund to be set up to attract state, federal and private donations to pay for conservation projects. Administered by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Dept., funds would help protect and restore working farms and ranches, forests and watersheds, outdoor recreation areas, and cultural and historic sites.

SB-199 by Sen. Campos, which would have provided state funds More >

Energy Efficient Building Retrofits: Reasons for Conserving Energy

Birk Jones The four main reasons for implementing an energy efficient building retrofit are: • Reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources • Reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions • Job Creation • Reduce utility costs What issue induces a desire to make a change? Which one makes sense to you? Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic of climate change reports, it is difficult to deny that energy efficient retrofits are beneficial. Of course there are barriers, but the benefits are as follows: Reduce Non-Renewable Energy Dependency We rely on politicians and large corporations to make decisions on how our energy More >

March GFT Newsbites


Permits Required for Homemade Food Sales A new rule by the NM Environment Department went into effect in January. Certain homemade foods for sale, such as baked goods, tortillas, jams, jellies, dry mixes and candy, will now require a $100 permit. Homemade processed foods can only be sold at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, fairs and fiestas. The new rule does not pertain to one-time bake sales such as school fundraisers. Home-based food processors must attend food safety training and allow the NMED to inspect their kitchens.


Gov. Richardson Announces Major Solar Plant in Questa On February 23rd, Governor Bill Richardson announced More >