be chosen for phone interviews are women, in a field that has traditionally been dominated by men. This isn’t to say that our male apprentices haven’t been equally dedicated. However, both 2012 and 2013 application pools revealed the same consistent pattern. Our current San Juan Ranch apprentice, Drew Cole, continues to persevere through long days even as the winter deepens and temperatures continue to drop in the valley,
and through it all his enthusiasm and sense of humor remain intact. The NAP started in 2008, initially as ranch apprenticeships, and then diversifying to include both a dairy, and a laying hen and spruce tree farm. Of the five apprentices trained at the San Juan Ranch since the program’s inception, three were women. At James Ranch Artisan Cheese, a small, organic, grassbased dairy and cheese-making operation in Durango, Colorado, four of the five NAP apprentices to date have been women. The one advanced ranch management apprenticeship that we have offered—in partnership with the Chico Basin Ranch in Colorado Springs, Colorado—was for one of our women graduates, Amy Wright. After graduating from her one-year apprenticeship on the San Juan Ranch, Wright made the decision to stay on for a second calving season. She took on the role of ranch foreman for almost five months before she was ready to commit to a second full apprenticeship, this time with the Chico. There she took on substantially more responsibility, which included managing her own herd of cattle. The Chico offers both internships and apprenticeships, with their apprenticeships requiring previous
experience in ranching and on horseback, and a minimum two-year commitment. Wright was the Chico’s first female apprentice and, as such, played a pioneering role in introducing her leadership and initiative in herd and range management. In my many conversations with her throughout her first year at the Chico, gender never made it to her list of concerns. She was too busy thinking about ensuring water access for her herd, or maintaining the fence line, or figuring out when to put additional time into training the horses. In many ways, this is great news. It means that, increasingly, as women and men share the workload on ranches, the division of labor is based more on individual drive and talent. As the New Agrarian Program Director for the Quivira Coalition, Virginie partners with farmers and ranchers to offer eight- to twelve-month, in-depth apprenticeships for young agrarians.
Left: Amy Wright Photo by Elaine Patarini, Catchlight Studios
Local and Organic, Two Peas in a Pod? By Joanie Quinn, New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program
“Would you rather have local or organic?” is a question I hope never to hear again. The two labels address entirely different issues, and I want both. This is why. The Choice Choosing local addresses questions of freshness and reduces the number of miles food is transported to reach our plates, including the energy that is consumed in that transport. As a rule, it means that money you paid for your food will stay in your community, and often the farmer gets a bigger chunk of the
edible Santa Fe | SPRING 2014
purchase price, thus helping keep farmland active in our state and in our communities. These are all good things and I want to support them. Choosing local does not address other issues I care about: the farming practices used to produce the product, the inputs that were applied, or the steps taken to conserve water and build soil. Choosing organic addresses questions concerning how produce, meat, milk, or fiber was raised or grown. Organic is shorthand for a method of farming that relies on nature’s processes to produce food and fiber while en-
hancing biological diversity and protecting our natural resources. It means that no antibiotics were used in livestock; no genetically modified seeds or plants were used to produce crops or feed animals; synthetic pesticides and fertilizers have been replaced with natural substances such as powdered rock, compost, green manure, and cover crops; and insects are managed by rotating crops, creating habitat for beneficial species and increasing biodiversity. Organic production means that soil and water must be conserved and water cannot be polluted with agricultural runoff. Organic production aims to minimize off-farm inputs.
Published on Feb 26, 2014
Women and Food - The spring issue is a showcase of amazing women working in food and agriculture, from those defining local food distributio...