“Many ranchers by their nature are resilient, they’ve stuck around through a lot of change over the last couple hundred years here. So droughts, all kinds of conflict,including changes in land management, fires—it’s resilience, hanging in there.”
In the mid-1990s, Courtney White, a Sierra Club activist, had had his fill of what he calls the “conflict industry.” Grazing wars between ranchers and environmentalists netted little if any progress toward fixing the issues. More often they resulted in deadlock and opposing sides becoming further entrenched in what each believed was right. “I suspected that [we] had more in common than different,” says Courtney in his thoughtful, measured way. “So it was important to step away from this kind of conflict machine that was running full speed at the time, and try to find some peace.”
Simple Revolution Farms
Remember your mom’s advice when you’d come home complaining about the neighborhood bully? “Just keep walking,” she’d say. “Don’t engage.” But that sounded crazy. It felt like, if you wanted to save your skin, your only choice was to cringe with shame as he helped himself to your lunch money every day. But transformative change is like aikido—you let the opposition take itself down with its own momentum, suddenly creating a possibility for transformative change. And that’s the concept behind Patricia Allaire and Scott Newman’s Simple Revolution? Farm! in Albuquerque.
You might have to say that out loud a few times. It’s sort of a shorthand version of: “Feeling crushed by a nature-phobic world of befouled wilderness, disappearing pollinators and astronomical food prices? Looking for a way to fight it? Stop overthinking! There’s a simpler path to revolution—start farming!” Located in a residential neighborhood of Albuquerque’s South Valley, Patricia and Scott’s farm fits into their conventionally-sized backyard, yet they grow enough to feed themselves as well as to sell at weekly local farmers markets, following the principles of biointensive farming and biodiversity, along with companion and succession planting. Contrary to real estate’s famous emphasis (Location, Location, Location), the emphasis here is on Soil. When they first laid eyes on this property 21 years ago, in their search for a place to farm, what Patricia and Scott beheld was a wasteland: hardpacked dirt, pounded, scraped and sun-scorched, with glinting glass shards half-buried beneath the surface. Not a tree, not a cactus. “It was the biggest property we could afford,” says Patricia, “and we fell in love with it.” The backyard today is full of big and small generously spreading trees, their branches extending wind protection and shade to the multitudes of thriving green plants, their beds stretching to the back boundary where chickens, ducks and hogs live. Continue reading
Learn more about Northern New Mexico’s local food growers, artisans, and vendors. Milk and honey, herbs and spices: New Mexico’s got it all! These businesses offer packaged local products, and they keep our farmers’ markets robust in every season.
Buckin’ Bee Honey
Buckin’ Bee is celebrating 14 years of keeping bees in Santa Fe! They sell honey, bee pollen, beeswax, candles, and lip balm. x Get healthy with their immune-boosting propolis tincture, a product of bee-collected resin from tree buds.
La Entrada Farms
La Entrada keeps a small number of hives in Corrales and North Valley. This is their third year selling honey and beeswax; they also supply bee cake. They look forward to beginning their harvest in mid-June.
Papa Bear’s Honey
Providing delicious, high-quality raw honey. Papa Bear’s Honey retains some of the pollen, which is rumored to reduce allergies locally. In Edgewood.
Zia Queen Bee Co.
Offering many varieties of honey based on the season and the diverse flora of the Rio Grande Valley. Zia Queen Bee Co. honey is pure, raw, and unfiltered. This farm in Truchas has creamed honey, beeswax, and lotions, salves, and lip balms augmented with native medicinal herbs. Continue reading
Photo by Gabriella Marks
When we think of a food drive, we may think of going through our kitchen cupboard and searching for items that we can collect to give to our local drive. As the growing season is swiftly upon us, we can go deeper, we can expand our reach to local hungry community members by planting a row of vegetables or fruits.
Together we can bring fresh food to families, seniors and community in need across northern New Mexico. Join this amazing initiative led by The Food Depot, Northern New Mexico’s Food Bank.
“Everyone can make a difference.”
Photo by Gabriella Marks
I’ve been having the best time recently, scrolling through Erin O’Neill’s blog, Seeds & Stones, A Life Home Grown, which chronicles her family’s homesteading experiences in Nambé. Erin and her husband, Joel Glanzberg, make living sustainably look not only feasible for some of us not-so-green-thumbed DIY illiterates, but even doable—and fun! Because the real bottom line to homesteading, it turns out, is not memorizing permaculture techniques or teaching yourself construction and engineering basics. It’s gleaning! Which is just a more polite way of saying scavenging. And not only for materials—wood, appliances, tools, mulching—but ideas. Other people’s ideas. Things they’ve already tried out themselves, so they know they work and they can warn you of how to avoid their own mistakes.
Bernalillo County Parks and Recreation owns and manages eleven very unique properties (totaling about 1,000 acres) under its Open Space initiative. What began as grassroots efforts by numerous local groups was confirmed by larger community support when a referendum passed in 1998 providing mill levy funding (similar to bond funding but with different spending parameters) for these undeveloped lands to remain so for the benefit and enjoyment of Bernalillo County residents and visitors. The properties have been proudly preserved as Bernalillo County’s environmental, historical and cultural treasures. One such jewel is the Gutierrez Hubbell House History and Cultural Center in the heart of the South Valley of Albuquerque.
Photo by Joy Godfrey