IAIA Demonstration Garden

 

Seth Roffman

 

Although the faculty had integrated agricultural curriculum into the Indigenous Liberal Studies and Museum Studies departments, opportunities for hands-on student agriculture and scientific research at the Institute of American Indian Arts was lacking until two years ago, when a garden was planted to demonstrate and promote Indigenous agricultural methods for food and medicinal crop cultivation. The garden includes corn, beans, squash, peaches, lettuce, onions and other fruits and vegetables, some of which are used in the school’s cafeteria.

The plot is designed and maintained by the school’s Center for Lifelong Education, local tribal members, students and faculty. The assistant garden manager is Paul Quintana Jr. of Cochiti Pueblo. Teresa Kaulity (Kiowa) and Jacki Smith (Navajo) are the work-study garden and greenhouse staff.

IAIA is now one of several tribal colleges across the nation engaging in programs to revitalize traditional food cultivation, harvesting and cooking. IAIA students are mentored in small-scale traditional food crop production, including soil preparation, irrigation methods in dry climates, and the benefits of organically produced foods. The project is representative of IAIA’s 1994 Land Grant mission to offer culturally sensitive curriculum that incorporates cultural and historical identity. This includes work-study, internship training and community outreach that promotes tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Students also survey family participation in farming, gardening and a healthy eating program, and IAIA’s research team is providing mentoring to Santa Fe Indian School students in agricultural and environmental science.

A US Department of Agriculture grant has strengthened IAIA’s collaboration with New Mexico State University, a fellow Land Grant institution, through NMSU’s Alcalde, NM Sustainable Agriculture Science Center and NMSU’s extension services, which offer beginning farmer and rancher programs. A USDA grant also made it possible to build a greenhouse to start plants and serve as an experiential classroom.

The overall intent is to teach how to help build a whole community food system,” says Luke Reed, USDA Research & Extension Project Manager. “Local year-round food production can improve people’s food habits by infusing greens and healthy foods into communities’ diets.”

For more information about IAIA’s agriculture and nutrition research programs, contact Reed at lreed@iaia.edu.

 

[SIDEBAR:]

IAIA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

 

The Institute of American Indian Arts is the nation’s only four-year institution dedicated to the study of contemporary Native Arts.

 

IAIA will host an open house and 50th anniversary celebration from 10 am-5 pm on October 13 at the IAIA campus at 83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe. Events will include panel sessions on IAIA’s impact on creative writing, Indigenous studies, museum studies, studio and new media arts. There will also be campus tours, storytelling by Stephen Fadden (Mohawk), oral history presentations, faculty and student exhibitions and demonstrations, and opportunities to view IAIA’s museum collection, which includes artwork created by students since the school opened in 1962. In addition, there will be a foundry bronze pour at the Sculpture Complex, and experimental video by students and staff in the world’s only fully moveable Digital Dome, as well as food, music and games.

 

 

For more information, call 505.424.2351 or email IAIACommunications@iaia.edu.

 

 

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