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Newsbites – September 2014
Santa Fe Startup Weekend – Sept. 19–21
Event to Recognize Social Entrepreneurs
Businessman/entrepreneur Alan Webber, former candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor of New Mexico, keynotes the second annual Santa Fe Startup Weekend at the Santa Fe Business Incubator. Startup weekends are dynamic entrepreneurial events where ideas are pitched, teams formed and startups created over one weekend of intense activity. The weekend culminates in a pitch competition on Sunday evening, where a group of judges chooses a winning team. In addition to providing support for traditional business startups, the weekend will offer specialized coaching, mentoring and other services for participants interested in socially minded startups.
“Social entrepreneurship encompasses ideas from triple-bottom-line businesses to nonprofits, from environmentally conscious products to new sustainable methods of production,” said Sean O’Shea, co-organizer of Santa Fe Startup Weekend and program director at the Incubator. “Social enterprises place a firm emphasis on tackling social problems, making positive impacts as important as financials to the bottom line.”
Anyone is welcome to participate, regardless of age or experience. A $75 registration fee includes meals throughout the weekend. Register at www.santafe.startupweekend.org or contact O’Shea at 505.424.1140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Santa Fe Business Incubator (www.sfbi.net), currently home to more than 19 client companies and three partner organizations, has helped more than 125 companies create over 1,000 jobs.
Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference – Oct. 3–4, NNMC
“Moving Forward with Our Neighbors to Protect Our Mother Earth”
The ninth annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference will be held at the Nick L. Salazar Performing Arts Building of Northern New Mexico College in Española, New Mexico. Keynote talks will be by Jeffrey M. Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology, noted farmer Percy Schmeiser and Bioneers co-founder Nina Simons. The event will feature local and regional experts in the areas of food security and sustainable ecology, workshops and panel discussions on youth issues in the 21st century, food and nutrition, seed saving, traditional farming, land restoration, traditional medicine and medicinal herbs. There will be a heritage seed exchange and a vendors’ market featuring natural earth-friendly products, information and services. Los Masis, a musical group from Bolivia, will perform. There will be speakers and participants from at least six countries, including Canada, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua and the United States, as well as many Native American tribes from across the country.
The conference has been organized to promote and generate support for sustainable communities, traditional sustainable agriculture and indigenous spiritual practices. The organizers consider genetically modified seeds and foods (GMOs) to be dangerous to the environment, the food supply and human health. The event is sponsored by the pueblo of Tesuque, Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, the Indigenous Program at Northern New Mexico College, and the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association. For more information, call 518.332.3156 or visit: http://4bridges.org/educational-programs/annual-conference/2014-conference/
Banking on New Mexico: A Public Bank Symposium
Sept. 27, 9:30 a.m., Santa Fe Community Convention Center
The Banking on New Mexico Symposium seeks to provide New Mexicans a way to explore a future economy in which public money stays in the community and is invested locally to support economic prosperity in that community. Public banking experts will gather in Santa Fe for a full day to share their knowledge with local residents via plenaries, panel discussions and workshops to answer specific questions: What is a public bank? Who benefits by having a public bank? Why would we want a public bank? How are public banks used in other states and countries? How can you establish a public bank in your community?
Residents interested in learning about how a public bank can bolster the local economy—including public officials, entrepreneurs, union members, community bankers, farmers, retirees and students—should attend. There will be speakers from across the state, as well as nationally recognized public banking experts, including Richard D. Wolff, author of Democracy at Work and professor of Economics; and Ellen Brown, Public Banking Institute founder and author of Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution.
Residents Oppose Fracking in the Chama River Watershed
Río Arriba Concerned Citizens (RACC) has announced a campaign to halt leasing of land for oil and gas exploration proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The parcels are located in the Río Chama Watershed area of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF), east of the Continental Divide near Gallina.
The group objects to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as it is commonly known, because they think it could contaminate the watershed’s Morrison Formation aquifer, which, with the Río Grande, provides over half of the water for the entire state of New Mexico—water that is already legally allocated. A statement the group released says that contamination of the aquifer would have disastrous effects for downstream residents from Abiquiú to Española, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and beyond. RACC is also concerned about “flaring,” a byproduct of fracking, in which unmarketable gas is released into the air or burned off. The proposed parcels are in a region where catastrophic forest fires have occurred in recent years.
Española Charter School Finds Permanent Home
The New Mexico State public charter school, La Tierra Montessori School for the Arts and Sciences (LTMAS), has announced an unprecedented lease agreement with the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Government. The former John F. Kennedy Junior High School, located on the pueblo, is being remodeled as the permanent home for LTMAS, which begins its third year this September. One hundred students in kindergarten through eighth grades are currently enrolled. LTMAS expects to take occupancy by January 2015. The project is being developed by TSAY Corporation of Ohkay Owingeh, with Studio Southwest Architects leading the design team and Avanyu General Contracting engaged as the prime contractor.
Ohkay Owingeh Gov. Marcelino Aguino says, “The tribal council is in full support of this opportunity to help our communities of northern New Mexico through an educational curriculum that focuses on a return to traditional agricultural practices.” “The partnership with Ohkay Owingeh and La Tierra is a perfect example of a private/public collaborative effort that has put the education of our students and community at the forefront. This is a true learning community effort,” said LTMAS Governing Council Pres. Ron Martinez.
Mateo Peixinho of Avanyu General Contracting said, “We can transform the building into a wonderful home for the kids and staff. The reuse of an existing structure is the greenest and most sustainable construction there is.” The nonprofit LTMAS PTA is working to raise funds to enhance the developers’ investment. For more information call Martinez at 505.927.3815.
Colorado Cities Begin Using Solar Energy
Denver-based solar power company SunShare LLC has reached an agreement with the Adams County government to provide the city with power from the company’s community solar gardens. Adams County government will be the first in the country to power its buildings with energy from community solar power.
Community solar gardens, which offer large solar-energy power systems and panels for individual sale or lease, are an increasing trend in Colorado. Numerous local governments have been adopting them into their power grids. The city of Englewood is launching a solar project of its own, using a system developed by Clean Energy Collective as a means to power its city Parks and Recreation Department’s pumping station.
Adams County will buy a specific amount of energy from the solar garden and receive a credit on its Xcel Energy bill for that amount. The county will purchase energy for seven of its county facilities and will offset the power needed for 40 to 45 homes. The city of Arvada will purchase enough power for about 130 homes.
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