May 2016

Deep Seeds and First Foods


Centers of Origin and Diversification of Maíz in the Río Arriba

and the Survival of Heritage Cuisines


Devon G. Peña, Ph.D.



For several decades, farmers, eaters and resilience advocates have made impassioned calls to reorient our food systems toward local and slow foods. From an indigenous vantage point, this also means remaining mindful of what I call “Deep Food” or what my friend and mentor, Delbert Miller, calls “First Foods,” by which we wish to designate the heritage cuisines that arise in a place-based manner as a result of a long duration process of indigenous agroecological, ethnobotanical and ethnogastronomical knowledge and practices More >

Fresh AIRE / From Seeds to Landraces: A Story of Reconnection and Understanding


Miguel Santistevan



One of the greatest achievements of humankind is the domestication of crops over thousands of years. Our crops of today came from wild plants of different families, domesticated by cultures around the globe for a multitude of uses. Over time, cultures came to be characterized byamong other thingsfoods from the crops they developed that were specialized to particular agricultural practices and environments. These specialized crops withstood countless generations of good and bad years and came to have genetic traits that allowed survival through a myriad of agricultural problems. Termed “landraces,” these crops can be considered humankind’s foundational half More >

A Talk by Ken Greene of the Hudson Valley Seed Library


Kristen Davenport

The statistics are depressing: Agrochemical giant Monsanto owns 26 percent of all the seeds sold in the United States. Recently, a $130 billion merger between DuPont and Dow means that company now owns 18.2 percent of the seed market share. Roughly three companies, in other words, sell half of all the seeds in the country.

Nonetheless, there is a real uprising in the United States of growers who want more choices. Ken Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Library (, based in upstate New York, came to Santa Fe in March to talk about seed sovereignty, seed saving and the More >

Op-Ed: Germplasm: The Centralization of Seed and Efforts to Conserve Seed Diversity

L. Acuna Sandoval

Seed and germplasm are a reservoir of genetic information that at times seem so small and, to some, unimportant. Seed contains vast information about a plant’s history and evolution. It is difficult to describe how vital this is. This year, I am growing seed for a conservation farm; it is seed that used to be in Thomas Jefferson’s collection. It is not going well. I know nothing of the history of the seed except that its yield has declined. I grow many varieties of peppers every season including landrace peppers that have been in areas of New Mexico More >

Promoting Food Sovereignty Through Seed Saving



Josh Jasso



My interest in seed saving is relatively new compared to my interest in growing food, which may seem counterintuitive. How can you grow food without seed? Why haven’t I been interested or been practicing seed saving and seed conservation throughout my years of growing food? Maybe it’s reflective of my previously transient lifestyle—growing for a season here, working on a farm for a season there, but never spending the required time in a place to appreciate the adaptiveness of a crop to an area. Now, as I find myself doing work that I feel matters and having settled in More >

Owingeh Ta Pueblos y Semillas Seed Exchange


“Remedios de la Tierra: Agua, Comida, Plantas

Nânkwiyo Wo, Po, Kohgi, Phé Yâvi

Medicines of the Earth: Water, Food, Plants”


By the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance


The 11th Annual Owingeh Ta Seed Exchange, “Remedios de la Tierra/Medicines of the Earth,” was a healing and festive gathering of family, seeds, prayer, music and unity among land-based people of New Mexico. On April 9, we came together at the Nambé Pueblo Wellness Center as seed savers, farmers, friends and allies.

The event was organized by the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance (NMFSSA), a collaboration of traditional farmers from acequia communities, More >

Preserving Indigenous Seeds and Food Crops


Emigdio Ballón

As an indigenous Boliviano of Quechua descent, I grew up learning about my traditional seeds, foods and medicines, thanks to the knowledge of my mother and grandparents. At a very young age, I learned to appreciate the importance of our seeds, which have been planted, cultivated and saved for centuries. It was the indigenous tribes who, by the time of the Conquest, had brought these plants to their highest state of development and, in many cases, had spread them throughout other indigenous communities. 


The Quechua are descendants of the Incan people. They spent years developing ancient technology for irrigation More >

Reflections on Seed Sovereignty By Students from Santa Fe Indian School’s Agriscience Class

After a Field Trip to Tesuque Pueblo Farms

Dominic Nieto:

In my pueblo of Santo Domingo we face threats of cross-pollination. We do not know if the farmers in Peña Blanca, a small town between Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos, are using genetically modified seeds. That is what I am concerned about because most of the farmers in Santo Domingo are not well educated on GMOs.

Seed sovereignty is very important to us Pueblos because we use many of these seeds or crops in traditional ceremonies or dances and we do not want to lose the seeds we have had for centuries that More >

The Land is the Source of our Identidad, Survival, Health, Strength and Happiness


Alejandro López


If the popular outcry of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 was Give us land, or be done with us! perhaps the cry of the Nuevo Méxicano people of 2016 ought to be The land is the source of our identitad, survival, health, strength and happiness. Let us reclaim her!


Undoubtedly, when New Mexicos land is cultivated, it is capable of generating life, health and an economy. For centuries, this landthough perhaps spartan in outward appearanceallowed its inhabitants to be both self-sufficient and healthy. Its people depended almost exclusively on the sustenance that surged from its soil, a soil consecrated across generations More >

Plants: Our Loyal Companions, Life-givers and Teachers

Beata Tsosie-Peña   As preparation for seasonal abundance begins, and the need for adapting to a changing climate continues, we must consider the lessons humankind has had access to since our beginnings, lessons from the Plant People. When in nature, observing the growing green beauty and diversity that we are dependent on for our breath and nourishment, what are ways we can emulate and learn from nature about how to grow food and medicine?

When I look out at the layers of plantsfrom the tallest tree to the smallest blade of grassI can see the layers that exist in harmony and codependence. In More >

Partners Join to Strengthen Local Food Supply Chains


“Food LINC” to Boost Farm Sales, Grow Local Foods Sector

Benjamin Bartley


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have joined 15 national and regional philanthropic partners for a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around 10 key U.S. cities. The project, dubbed “Food LINC,” will connect demand for local food in 10 urban areas with supply components from farmers and ranchers, strengthening each region’s local food business sector and also increasing consumer access to healthy, local food.


“Our investments in local food infrastructure have the most success in communities with strong coordination between producers, food purchasers and More >

Investing in New Mexico Grown

Nelsy Domínguez and Pam Roy

Thanks to the efforts of teachers, school nutrition professionals, farmers, agriculture professionals, parents, students and nonprofit advocates, Farm to School programs throughout the nation are booming. Based on recently released national data by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm to School activities have grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to 23.6 million students nationwide. A total of 42,587 schools across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participate in farm-to-school activities such as serving local food in the cafeteria, holding taste tests, planting and caring for school gardens and taking students on More >

Growing Health and Justice


Travis McKenzie and Rodrigo Rodríguez

Spring is here, and that means it’s planting time. But this year we’re not just growing healthy organic food; we’re “Growing Health and Justice!” We are excited to announce a partnership of Project Feed the Hood, Farm to Table New Mexico and Presbyterian Health Service’s Healthy Here initiative. Since its founding in 2009, Project Feed the Hood, an initiative of the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), has helped install dozens of school community gardens and has worked alongside hundreds of families, teachers and school staffers to transform our community’s role in New Mexico’s food systems, especially school More >

SUPER SEEDS: What Is All the Excitement About?


Japa K. Khalsa

Why is there such excitement about seeds as health food these days? Chía seeds, soba seeds, flax seeds: Why are these little nutritional gems called superfoods?

Seeds carry the future plant’s potential energy in a concentrated form. Most seeds have high amounts of micronutrients and special, unique kinds of fats. All of the enzymes, protein, fat and minerals needed to grow the plant are contained within each tiny seed. Most importantly, though, for foodies, certain kinds of seeds, when mixed in with food, can be incredibly delicious. Some special seeds that grow locally in New Mexico have unique More >

Newsbites – May 2016

USDA Officials Visit La Montañita Co-op and Release Food Hub Report

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner, along with USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Service administrator Sam Rikkers, from Washington, D.C., visited La Montañita Cooperative in Albuquerque on April 21 to get some insight on how the co-op has been so successful over the years and to shine a light on the efforts of food hubs through the release of the USDA’s “Running a Food Hub” report.

Brunner said, “The National Grocers Association and National Restaurant Association have identified local food as one of the More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – May 2016


May 7, 10 am–2 pm Community Garden Opening 1410 Wellesley SE Project Feed the Hood’s Spring Fiesta. Activities for all ages. Planting, composting, seed workshops & distribution. Lunch provided. Speakers will address the importance of school and community gardens. May 9-11 Native American Economic Summit Hotel ABQ at Old Town 10th annual conference, panel discussions, small business awards, trade fair. American Indian Chamber of Commerce of NM. Info/registration: 505.766.9545, May 10 Small Business Week Awards Celebration Hotel ABQ at Old Town Info: 505.428.1624, 505.766.9545,, Registration: May 10, 10–11 am Value-Added Procurer Grant Workshop USDA Rural Dev. State Office, 6200 Jefferson NE Grant More >

What’s Going On? – Taos – May 2016


May 7 Bee Family Classes Taos, NM First Saturday of each month through Sept. May 14 and 28, 10 am–2 pm Intro to Apiculture Tierra Drala Farm, El Prado, NM Beekeeping in NM. $65. 505.901.2102,, July 11-14 Integrative Medicine Professionals Symposium Sagebrush Inn 7th Biennial symposium on integrative health featuring many distinguished speakers and local practitioners. Presented by the UNM School of Medicine’s Section of Integrative Medicine, Continuing Medical Education & Professional Development, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology. 505.272.3942,

Third Weds. Monthly

Taos Entrepreneurial Network

Taos County Courthouse Mural Room, Taos Plaza

Networking, presentations and discussion. Free.



Holy Cross Hospital More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There – May 2016


May 4, 11, 18 at 10 am

Green Hour Hikes

Los Alamos Nature Center, Los Alamos, NM

Kid-centered hikes. Free.


May 6, 10 am–3 pm

Río Arriba County Health Fair

Río Arriba Health Commons, Española, NM

Annual health fair. Congressman Ben Ray Luján will dialogue on ending gun violence. Morning Jazzercise, youth tumbling demo, Wellness Cooking with Kids, farmers’ market, food booths, spoken word poetry, break dance and more. 240 students will attend.


May 7, 10 am–5 pm

Zuni MainStreet Festival

Zuni Pueblo, NM

4th annual celebration of traditional arts, cuisine, dance. Activities for all ages. Nominal entrance fee. 505.782.7238,


May 7, 2–4 pm

Mural Dedication

Dixon Cooperative Market, Dixon, More >