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News & Views

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S u s t ai n ab l e S o u t h w e s t

New Mexico Acequias: Global Heritage

A ncient T rade R outes K eystone G ardens T he C olumbian E xchange W ater and C ommunity C ultural J ournalism February 2015

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Vol. 7 No. 2



Green Fire Times • February 2015


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The Hermanamiento of the Acequias of Valencia and New Mexico . . .. . .. . .. . 6 Valencia and New Mexico’s Hermanamiento Ceremony: A Personal Perspective . . . 7 Heritage Acequias of Spain: The Millenial Huerta of Murcia and the Río Segura Valley . . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 10 Safeguarding the Global Cultural Heritage of Community Acequias. . .. . .. . .14 New Mexico Acequias and World Heritage: A Proposal . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 15 Valle de Allende and Aldama: Roots of Acequia Culture in Northern México . . 16 Tlaxcala and Aranjuez: Keystone Gardens of the Columbian Exchange . . .. . .. 20 Bounty of the Columbian Exchange . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 21 Water Management and Acequias in Chile. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 24 The Zanjeras of Northern Luzon .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 25 Land and Water in the Middle East: the Yemen Connection. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 27 Juan Estevan Arellano ¡Presente! .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 28 Book Review – Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of Water . . 29 Op-Ed: The Almunyah – An Integrated Place for Living . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 29 Sustainable Santa Fe Update. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 32 Newsbites . . .. . .. . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 8, 35 What’s Going On. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 38

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Global Acequia Landscapes: Culturally Green


ew Mexico Acequias return to these pages to take their place of honor in a Global Heritage of traditional communities, which have made the arid zones of our planet bloom. If you encounter a verdant landscape in New Mexico, chances are you have entered an Acequia Landscape, which is “culturally green” since water is so scarce. International activists, scholars and irrigators have joined us again to celebrate the spirit of Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water as the late Juan Estevan Arellano so aptly captured it in the title of his last book. We dedicate this issue to his legacy of tireless advocacy and creativity, the qualities it takes to defend the resources of Acequia Culture from the challenges of climate change and rampant development. Last September, a sizeable New Mexico contingent traveled to Valencia, Spain to witness an unprecedented event, the Hermanamiento or Ceremony of Brotherhood, to symbolically reunite us with the taproot of acequia traditions. For resounding successes over 25 years in grassroots organizing, state legislation and favorable judicial rulings, the New Mexico Acequia Association was awarded the Medal of Honor of the Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia, the oldest water court in the world, in continuous operation since the 10th century.

© Anna C. Hansen

Robyn Montoya 505.692.4477 robyn.greenfiretimes@gmail.com

Juan Estevan Arellano was a recipient of 2013 Luminaria Award from the New Mexico Community Foundation.

We visited acequia heritage sites across southern Spain before the symposium at the Universitat Politécnica de València (papers at http://tglick-irrigation-2014.org/en/publication/papers/). We add our own road stories to the observations of colleagues on New Mexico Acequias as Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

– Armando Lamadrid and Enrique Lamadrid, Guest Editors

COVER: D  on Bustos, representing the New Mexico Acequia Association, holding the Water Tribunal of Valencia’s Medal of Honor at the Ceremony of Hermanamiento (Brotherhood), Spain, Sept. 2014 Photo by ©Armando Lamadrid Green Fire Times • February 2015


Noticias Internacionales / Notable Acequia News

The Hermanamiento of the Acequias of Valencia and New Mexico Armando Lamadrid


An official encounter of acequia irrigators from Spain and New Mexico, after four centuries apart At first glance, an acequia might actually look like a small stream blending into the culturally green landscape. But, in fact, acequias are the lifelines of agriculture, food security and community that have flourished for centuries in both places. This common feature of New Mexico and Spain, inherited even further back from Arabs—the word acequia comes from the classical Arabic, al-sāqiya, meaning

© Armando Lamadrid (2)

n unprecedented event in the annals of global acequia culture was celebrated in the ancient botanical gardens of Valencia, Spain, and on the steps of its great cathedral last September—an official encounter of acequia irrigators from Spain and New Mexico, after four centuries apart. New Mexican culture is deeply influenced by Spain, despite having been separated politically for centuries and divided by half the globe. Yet, the richly hybrid Iberian legacy is still expressed under New Mexican skies through language, blood and water. Yes, water. And not for the sake of pointing out universal truths—yes, we all need water, just as we all need air!—but to highlight something more subtle and unsuspecting. Something you may not even notice while crossing the stunning semiarid New Mexican or Iberian countrysides, even though you’re staring right at it.

Following the resolution of the two disputes, a table was set in the middle of the ring of judges, and the tribunal proceeded to call forth NMAA’s Don Bustos to present him and the NMAA the tribunal’s Medal of Honor. Then, Bustos was invited to sign the tribunal’s own book of honored guests, and he read the elegant message aloud to the crowd, conveying respect and gratitude for the medal and the hermanamiento.

“the water carrier” or “the one who gives water”—gives a sense of brotherhood, or hermandad, to these disparate places. But, like estranged family members, the irrigation institutions of Spain and New Mexico were alienated over the course of history—until Sept. 24, 2014.

© Tribunal de las Aguas de la vega de Valencia

On this date in the warm Spanish autumn, in an auditorium of the tree-canopied Jardí Botànic (Botanical Gardens) of the University of Valencia, representatives from Valencia and New Mexico gathered before a diverse crowd of spectators for a Ceremony of Hermanamiento, or Brotherhood, of their respective acequia institutions. From the Valencian side were officials f rom the three major irrigation institutions of the huerta (cultivated land) of Valencia—the Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia (the famous medieval water court of Valencia’s main irrigation corporation); the Real Acequia de Moncada (Royal Moncada Acequia); and the Real Acequia del Júcar (Royal Júcar Acequia)—plus colleagues from as far away as Murcia. For New Mexico, Dr. José Rivera, renowned UNM acequia scholar, and Don Bustos, New Mexico Acequia The Water Tribunal’s Association (NMAA) secretary and board Medal of Honor member, participated.

The ceremony conveyed the seriousness with which water is treated in Spain. In 2010, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) recognized the Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia and the Consejo de Hombres Buenos de la Huerta de Murcia for enduring contributions to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. They have exercised their leadership for more than a millennium, surviving empires, kingdoms, wars and dictatorships, through to the current democratic era. And Spain is fully cognizant of the achievements of the NMAA over the past quarter-century: the new legislation, Los Hombres Buenos, seated in a circle outside the great Cathedral of Valencia, Spain


Green Fire Times • February 2015

continued on page 8


Valencia and NM’s Hermanamiento Ceremony A Personal Perspective Don Bustos

The NMAA has been working with professors from several universities and community-based organizations to document and articulate the importance of traditional ways of governance and water distribution for the continuance of using water in a manner that gives voice to the people who use it to benefit their communities.

and Cultural Organization) Intangible Cultural Heritage List and that there are acequias in Valencia, Spain that have ties to northern New Mexico’s. For many years, Dr. Rivera and others have been working to strengthen ties between the two countries and the acequia communities. El Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia and the Consejo de Hombres Buenos de la Vega de Murcia were added to the UNESCO list in 2009. With the knowledge and connections of various community members and professional people, the idea of giving New Mexico acequias the same designation is moving forward. As secretary of the NMAA, along with Martha Trujillo f rom Pojoaque, Santiago Maestas from the South Valley of Albuquerque, as well as other parciantes (landholder-irrigators) from New Mexico, we were invited to the

Recognizing the cultural and environmental significance of acequias and the links that unite people who live on arid and semiarid lands. signing of the Hermanmiento between the two entities from across the Atlantic Ocean. This document represents the communities of irrigators of the Júcar and Moncada Royal Acequias, the Water Tribunal of Valencia and the New Mexico Acequia Association. It recognizes the cultural and environmental significance of the acequias and the links that unite the

L-R: Juan Tovar (Junta de Hacendados de la Huerta de Murcia), Martha Trujillo, James Maestas and Don Bustos (NMAA), acequia authors José Rivera and Thomas Glick, and Enric Aguilar (president of the Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia)

people who live on arid and semiarid lands. It illuminates the common challenges we confront in the current context of globalization of economy and agriculture. The document ends by declaring the alliance and commitment to strengthen our ties and to promote the exchange of experiences and solutions for irrigators who share the ancient acequia culture.

elected judges, who are not lawyers but hombres buenos, or well-respected farmers. The court then makes a decision, unless there is a need for further investigation, in which case the decision is made the following week. All of their decisions regarding uses for water along the river are honored and enforced by all Spanish courts.

The second major event which, for me, was a once-in-a lifetime, life-changing experience, was when I was presented with the Medalla de Honor of the Tribunal on the steps of the Pórtico of the Apostles of the ancient Cathedral of Valencia, where the tribunal has convened every Thursday morning since Medieval times and earlier. There, irrigators from seven acequias present any issues to be resolved before the

The tribunal has four guiding principles: those elected to the tribunal must be in good standing in their acequia community; decisions must be made in a timely manner; the process must be made affordable; and, to ensure that all decisions are fair and just, issues are resolved by acequia representatives from the opposite side of the Turia river. continued on page 22

© Seth Roffman

I first met Dr. José Rivera at a NMAA conference. His book, Acequia Culture: Water, Land, and Community in the Southwest, mentions the farm I own, Santa Cruz Farm, as an example of small, sustainable agriculture in northern New Mexico. That was the first time I had heard of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific

© Armando Lamadrid


n September 2014, along with other members of the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA), I was invited to Valencia, Spain, to attend a symposium entitled “Irrigation, Society, and Landscape: Tribute to Thomas H. Glick,” the pioneer acequia scholar. Three other major events occurred during the trip that will impact the future of sustainable agriculture, the preservation of traditional people, and water and land for future generations in New Mexico.

Don Bustos delivered the Water Tribunal of Valencia’s Medal of Honor to the New Mexico Acequia Association’s concilio (board of directors) and members in November 2014 at the annual Congreso. L-R: Paula García, Don Bustos, Enrique Lamadrid, José A. Rivera, Harold Trujillo, Stephen Trujillo, Martha Trujillo, Jackie Powell, Gilbert Sandoval, James Maestas, Medardo Sánchez, Yolanda Jaramillo, Sylvia Rodríquez and Antonio Medina


Green Fire Times • February 2015



continued from page 6


the favorable New Mexico Supreme Court decisions, and the groundswell of acequia activism in defense of traditional water and land management

Enric Aguilar, the head of the Tribunal de las Aguas, gave the first introduction to the Hermanamiento, and then words were spoken by each of the Top: Hombres Buenos – elected farmer representatives present. Following, judges of the Water Tribunal of Valencia; the main declaration of brotherhood Alguacil making his announcements was read aloud, filling the auditorium with emotion, which culminated in the signing of the main document. Although brotherhood was declared and the spirits of both Valencia’s and New Mexico’s acequia water struggles were joined, the main symbolic exchange was yet to come.

The New Mexico Acequia Commission (NMAC) serves acequia communities throughout the state. The 11-member commission, created in 1987, is currently seeking to make itself better known to those communities. Pursuant to Executive Order 88-06, the commission advises the governor, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on what criteria should be used to determine priorities for rehabilitating acequias under federal funding programs. The NMAC is also charged with facilitating communication between local acequia organizations and the state and federal governments and with reviewing plans or legislation that affect acequias. The commission presents its findings to the governor and the ISC. The NMAC will be active during the 2015 legislative session. Legislation the commission is working on includes a joint memorial to create an Acequia Interim Committee to present acequia issues to legislators and plan legislation. The NMAC is also seeking a budget increase to support full-time staff and office space. © Armando Lamadrid (2)

The ceremony was conducted with the fullest officialdom of the Valencian acequia authorities, conveying the seriousness with which water is treated in Spain. And the tone struck a palpable chord with the rest of the crowd, including the 24 delegates f rom New Mexico who know well the vital importance of water to cultural survival.

New Mexico Acequia Commission Meeting February 27 in Santa Fe

The Hermanamiento ceremony and presentation of the tribunal’s Medal of Honor was a truly momentous occasion of unique significance for New Mexico’s acequias and regantes, reforging the links between New Mexico’s and Spain’s sister traditions of water management and their communal and democratic customs. i Armando Lamadrid is an independent researcher and editor from New Mexico, based in Oslo, Norway. He has conducted research on acequia and climate change issues from Nepal and India to Spain and Perú. armando. lamadrid@gmail.com


Green Fire Times • February 2015

Agri-lands Tax Reassessment in Taos

Agricultural status has become a hot topic in Taos County after many residents received huge property tax increases in 2014. After county staff visited more than 1,000 properties to determine if agriculture was still active, 630 parcels had their ag status revoked. Once ag status is lost, the taxable value of a property increases to match the value of nonresidential land in that area. The tax on a parcel in Des Montes, where some upscale homes are located, went from about $10 a year to just over $3,000. Many property owners said the reassessment came amid a record-setting drought that made agriculture—especially small-scale ranching—impossible or prohibitively expensive. The increases raised concerns that many old Taos families, who are land rich but cash poor, would be forced to sell their property and that changing ag status could affect water rights tied to land. The tax reassessment added to mounting pressures against open space and traditional agrarian communities with proud, centuries-old acequia culture.

© Seth Roffman

On the following day, a crowd of a few hundred spectators gathered outside the Door of the Apostles at the Cathedral of Valencia as the clock approached noon, as is usual every Thursday. The spectacle was the weekly meeting of the Tribunal de las Aguas, the customary water court of the huerta of Valencia. But quite unusually, right beside the gated circle of nine stately leather chairs emblazoned with titles like “Çequia de Tormos” and “Çequia de Mestalla” (çequia is acequia in Valencian Catalan), the New Mexico delegation of scholars and acequieros were in the front row. Then, through the crowd, the alguacil, or bailiff, of the court, carrying a hooked bronze halberd, parted the crowd for a line of judges clad in black robes to enter the enclosure. They sat in the leather seats, right below the 12 stone apostles peering down from the massive cathedral. At the stroke of noon, the bells of the octagonal Miguelete Tower sounded, and the alguacil began calling, in the Valencian language, to plaintiffs and defendants from each acequia who might be in the crowd: “Denunciats de la sèquia de Tormos!” and so on. Because the irrigation system in the huerta is so well structured and efficient from a thousand years of fine-tuning, disputes are rare. But, today, the crowd was lucky enough to witness two separate trials, which were resolved on the spot, just as has been practiced since Moorish times, when the great Mosque of Valencia stood on the same spot. In fact, the tribunal is held outside, rather than inside, the cathedral in respect for Jewish and Muslim irrigators and occurs on Thursday in deference to the respective Sabbaths: Muslims (Friday), Jews (Saturday) and Christians (Sunday).

Acequia communities are encouraged to contact the commission by visiting www.nmacequiacommission.state.nm.us or by contacting Chair Ralph A. Vigil at 505.603.2879 or molinodelaisla@gmail.com. Agendas are available for the NMAC’s next meeting on Feb. 27, 10 a.m., in room 238 of the Bataan Memorial Building in Santa Fe.

Farmers and traditional ag advocates met with State Sen. Carlos Cisneros and Rep. Bobby Gonzales in Taos in December to discuss legislation that would expand the property tax definition of “agricultural use.” The Assessor’s Office maintains that its reviews of ag land are fair and mandated by state law. The state considers legitimate ag-land use as land producing a crop for personal consumption or sale, although some nontraditional ag uses have been successfully protested. Three bills are pending in the state Legislature, SB112, SB330 and HB112, sponsored by Senator Cisneros and Representatives Gonzales and O’Neill, that would protect and preserve agricultural properties in Taos County and throughout the state of New Mexico. The bills would allow property owners to “rest” agricultural land during long periods of drought without risking a tax hike.


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Green Fire Times • February 2015


Heritage Acequias of Spain The Millennial Huerta of Murcia and the Río Segura Valley Article and photos by Armando Lamadrid


he morning is still fresh, and the cloudless sky swallows the brightly gleaming sun into its deep blue expanse. My eye follows the arching heavens earthwards, meeting the edge of Murcia’s monolithic, ancient cathedral, which etches elegant, fluid lines against the brilliant blue background. A song by Paul Simon is triggered by the image as I see “angels in the architecture… and he says, Amen! Hallelujah!”

this semiarid clime. “Her santuario,” he continues, “is in the mountains that encircle the city, at the site of a miraculous manantial—a wellspring— which had been venerated since ancient times, before Christianity, when it was a shrine of Demeter, the Roman goddess of agriculture. And why would a spring be holy here in Murcia? Well, because it is dry as a bone most of the year, and water is the most vital element for the survival of the huerta and soul of Murcia!” Satisfied with having driven home his point about the significance of water here on the Mediterranean coast, he glances at his watch and says, “All right, let’s go! La huerta nos espera—the huerta awaits us.” It’s no mistake that huerta doesn’t

The Virgin of Fuensanta, Murcia Cathedral

Pedro Jesús Fernández, our local guide, calls us into the cathedral, pulling my attention away from the captivating medieval exterior, into the dark, cavernous nave inside. The intersecting, pointed Gothic arches look skeletal, like ribs of a giant whale, supporting vast domes that lift the spirit to a more heavenly plane—the original psychological effect still at work. We pass marble and gold-clad nichos and side-altars with saints and old oil paintings as we circle around the centrally located altar, until we come to the patrona of Murcia, la Virgen de Fuensanta. Pedro explains that the Virgen, as her name suggests, is at the center of the cult of la Fuente Santa—the Holy Spring. Fitting in


translate easily to English, which diminishes it to an overly quaint “garden” or “orchard.” But, in fact, a huerta is much more than these nuclear notions. In Spain, the huerta is a network of gardens, fields and fruit orchards on a par with a bread basket, and a cultural heartland that is more than just a place where food is grown. Huertas are vast, fertile flood plains steeped in history, crisscrossed with acequias channeling water from a mother stream to thirsty crops. Murcia (fed by the Río Segura) and Valencia (by the Río Turia) are the largest and most well-known of these cultural landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula and two examples out of only six systems of such scale and importance in all

Green Fire Times • February 2015

of Europe. Moreover, the landscapes are ancient. One canal in Murcia was found to date from the Romans (3rd century B.C.E. to 5th century A.D.), and the acequia system in Valencia is thought to have originated during the Moorish occupation of Spain (8th to 15th centuries A.D.). Despite their productive, cultural and historical renown, the huertas today are under threat from pressures of speculative urbanization, improper resource management, modernization and, increasingly, climate change as well. Pedro is not a commercial tourist guide. His light eyes, beneath mid-length wavy brown hair, are serious with a touch of humor, and his articulate language and sharp intellect are all part of the package of a young academic-advocate-activist. He is fighting for the preservation of the Huerta de la Vega del Segura (of the Segura Valley) from anyone who would further degrade it, from myopic politicians to shortsighted urban developers. As his colleagues, thus allies, he eagerly ushers us onwards to see the heritage he is fighting to protect. From the cathedral, our group of acequia academics, activists and enthusiasts from New Mexico, Valencia, Argentina and México piles into a caravan of cars and starts winding through the streets of the medieval city, following the meanders of the Río Segura upstream toward the huerta’s main azud, a word of Arabic origin meaning diversion dam. Today, the river is a creamy yellow,

swift and thick with silt washed in from the cloudburst the night before, which caused flooding in some places.

Huertas are vast, fertile flood plains steeped in history, crisscrossed with acequias. Pedro leads the pack into a less-dense urban belt of the city. He insists that we are following the old city walls, which doubled as a malecón, or flood barrier, even though they have been redesigned as a recreational corridor with benches and paths for walking and bikes. Eventually, we drive up beside a construction site in the middle of a suburban area with roads lined with date palms and oleander bushes with marzipan-scented flowers. To my surprise, we’re led right over the construction site, where a backhoe has recently wreaked havoc on a patch of land. In the background stands a decrepit adobe building with flaking plaster and crumbling walls. I sense that it is the backhoe’s next victim. Pedro stops right in the middle of razed earth, and, as we approach, to our surprise, a partially entombed acequia comes into view! What’s more, it runs right underneath the old crumbling building. Pedro explains that this old structure was previously a mill run by the flow

Old mill on one of Murcia’s acequias


of acequia water—a fantastic example of local water resources used to the fullest for a water-powered, sustainable agricultural-industrial system, which is what the huertas signified to Murcia and Valencia, historically. But, as the heavy machinery suggested, the old mill was slated for demolition and thus destined for oblivion. Another limb of Murcia’s rich huerta heritage sacrificed on the altar of modernity. But why worry about such an old, crumbling mill, which has long been outpaced by the muscle of carbonbased industrialism and outsourced to cheaper developing countries a world away? For the answer, you need not look further than the fire in the eyes of Pedro and countless other Murcianos and Valencianos; eyes that have witnessed the importance of the huerta through their lives in the way it has sustained individual livelihoods, families and an entire culture—a way of living, tasting, thinking, being.

Huertas are under threat from urbanization, improper resource management and climate change. “The municipality has no interest in preserving such structures, which inform us of our past and express the value of the huerta and the acequias, which are so important for Murcia. The politicians are blind to what they’re destroying for the sake of the shortterm gain of urbanization. Without acequias, without water, there is no huerta. And, with no huerta, where does that leave us? Faced with future economic crises, how will we access the earth and the water to sustain us if it is paved over?” W ith these words, we continue upstream along the Segura toward the main azud, and our understanding of the sense of place of the huerta—or, to put it in Nuevomexicano terms, its querencia—deepens. It is strange to hear of Murcia’s threats as a New Mexican, where the onslaught of development and commodification of the land and water is imposed by American capitalist culture whose invasion continues even 160 years after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


Compared to New Mexico, Spain seems to be a bastion of cultural preservation and tradition. But things are not always as they appear. The political and capitalist forces driving urbanization across Spain are also fragmenting the cultural landscapes that have sustained the economy and culture since time immemorial. Not surprisingly, they are also responsible for the construction bubble that caused Spain’s recent financial collapse. For the next stop on what we now understand is a tour of the invisible power structures in the huerta of Murcia, we pull off onto a dirt road that veers toward a thick stand of carrizo reeds—similar to those lining New Mexico’s own rivers and acequias—also called phragmites. Large hydraulic compuertas, or ditch gates on the acequia mayor (main lateral ditch) come into view as we park on the edge of an appealing natural park with a grove of giant eucalyptus trees. As we step out into the midday heat of the late-September day, cicadas buzz f rom within the jungle of carrizo stretching down to what we know is the Río Segura by the muffled roar of the swollen river.

invested in it. This type of development is totally inconsistent with people’s behavior and needs. The money could have instead been used to restore and protect the most important huerta heritage in the area, but there is so much resistance to this idea today in Murcia.” At this, the azud mayor of the Segura, also called the contraparada, came into view. Built in the Muslim period between 800 and 900 A.D., the dam is actually a large weir stretching across the Segura’s channel with a v-notched crest, giving it a tooth-like appearance. The broad, dentured structure smiled, reflecting the “Rueda de la Ñora” water wheel lifts water to a lateral intense sun as the rain- acequia in the huerta of Murcia swollen Segura cascaded of life are where we are made and over it, fanning out in a single, rapidly renewed. The romantic history-book flowing sheet over the drop structure. notion of the cradles of civilization, There is nothing like surging water from Mesopotamia to México, are to pause the human mind because suddenly fleshed out in living color as so few things in nature move with I sit beside the roaring waters of the Segura.

Pedro Jesús Fernández (in blue) and the Azud Mayor on the Río Segura

We walk along a dusty path toward the grumbling stream like pilgrims in the desert drawn to an oasis. While my eyes remain fixed on the carrizo stands, waiting for the azud and spectacle of water in tumult to come into view, Pedro’s interpretation of the place shakes my attention to his words. “This natural park is nice. It’s pretty. There’s even a large restaurant located over there [gesturing behind us]. But try to locate the local people who it was designed for! There’s nobody here despite the fact that millions of euros from the European Union were

such constant, focused unity. Staring at the river at the center of it, I tried to understand the contradictions of this profound landscape. First, the wild river was harnessed to give rise to a rich culture whose roots stretch beyond a millennium. Then, the living substrate, the huerta, is consumed by urbanization, which spreads like a lava flow, cutting the community of people from its vital link to the earth. Links exiled to the vast, unpopulated, mechanized industrial agricultural lands. It at once becomes clear that the huerta and all of humanity’s sources

As we head back to the city, we stop one last time at a large water wheel located right in the middle of an acequia. The large noria, called “Rueda de la Ñora,” is designed to lift tons of water to another canal that starts at its apex in a masonry Roman-style aqueduct. This noria is still functional, evidence of the millennial ingenuity and engineering savvy visible in the huerta. This is more than a rural hinterland, antithetical to modern, urban capitalist “progress,” but the historic economic backbone of the region. Although it does not give spectacular short-term returns, as does development, it provides a long-term, stable basis for agricultural production, which, in turn, is important for food security and the maintenance of culture and tradition through the continuation of agriculture. Through Pedro’s guidance, we learned the invaluable and transferable lesson that the huertas, from Murcia to the Río Grande, are important socioenvironmental canvases of cultural renewal, identity and economy through deep time; their preservation is thus essential. i

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Safeguarding the Global Cultural Heritage of Community Acequias Luís Pablo Martínez

knowledge integrated by the best practices of the Greco-Roman, Berber, Egyptian, Syrian, Mesopotamian, Arab and Persian water cultures made possible the extension of agriculture throughout the otherwise arid and semiarid landscape that characterizes Mediterranean Spain. The subtle design of the irrigation systems of Al-Andalus allowed a

in the truest sense of the word. The Andalusi design has left its imprint as much in the physical irrigation networks—the tangible side of acequia cultural landscapes—as in the institutional arrangements devised for guaranteeing the proper conservation and operation of the whole hydraulic system— the intangible side of acequia landscapes. Far f rom relying on statecontrolled, despotic institutional frameworks, Andalusi acequia systems

Irrigation in Elche (Spain) © Tribunal de las Aguas de la vega de Valencia; Amado Bimbo


cequia cultural landscapes provide impressive testimony on the interdependence of cultural and natural heritage, as well as on how heritage can effectively contribute to the promotion of intercultural dialogue and sustainability. The word acequia itself embodies a long and fascinating history of cultural transfer from Arab to Iberian and, later, to American contexts.

Al Ain Oasis (UAE) is inscribed on the World Hertiage List

single canal to serve a wide range of uses, f rom providing drinking water for human consumption and livestock to supplying water for local traditional crops—wheat, vineyards and olive trees, to name a few—and new crops imported from as far as lndia and China—rice, sugar cane, orange trees and more. Besides agriculture, acequias drove water wheels and mills, fed tanneries and dye works, supplied public baths and permitted waste disposal for village and urban communities. Water was used and reused to the fullest in Andalusi acequias, representing sustainability

© Luís Pablo Martíne (3)

When the Iberian Peninsula was incorporated into the Muslim World with the name of Al-Andalus (711 A.D.), the Arab and Berber newcomers found a land that was in deep decline since the times of the late Roman Empire, centuries earlier. The situation was brilliantly reversed in a few centuries, as the breathtaking sites of the Mosque of Córdoba and the Alhambra of Granada demonstrate. The splendor of Al-Andalus was indeed an effect of the agrarian revolution promoted by Muslim rulers and farmers. A wise and innovative synthesis of local and foreign irrigation

Palmeral of Elche (Spain) is inscribed on the World Hertiage List


Green Fire Times • February 2015

Irrigation in the Huerta of Valencia (Spain)

were governed in an autonomous, democratic and bottom-up process by its users, organized in communities of irrigators. Acequia water was viewed as common property, and the users’ annual cooperative work required for keeping the system operational was essential for cohesion and identity in local communities. The value of acequia systems is not only cultural but also environmental. The ditches—often simple trenches dug in the earth—promoted the extension of riparian habitats far beyond natural streams to which acequia waters, driven by gravity, returned after having met the needs of irrigation. Acequia systems replicated the natural cycle of water.

Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the superb acequia landscapes of Valencia, Murcia and Granada in Spain fell into the hands of the Christian kings of Aragón and Castile. Far from rejecting them for cultural or religious reasons, the Christian newcomers committed themselves to their preservation and even enlargement. And between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Spanish colonists made use of acequias to consolidate new settlements throughout arid and semiarid parts of the Americas and even to the northern Philippines. Despite its great historic, cultural and environmental significance, acequia heritage has received little continued on page 32


NM Acequias and World Heritage: A Proposal


he nomination of Acequias of New Mexico to the UNESCO ( U n i t e d Na t i on s E d u c a t i on a l , Scientific and Cultural Organization) list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has been proposed by various groups worldwide, with the goal of promoting validation, conservation and transmission of traditional knowledge and practice. Acequias have always enabled the sustainable and productive use of community lands. The landscape created by traditional agricultural systems over time has become part of a regional identity. The acequias of New Mexico are an immense cultural heritage, sustained over many generations. Today, they are subdivisions of the state. A great body of research and practice already exists that documents the social and institutional functions of acequias. The proposed nomination is so fully substantiated that the next strategic steps will involve coordination and reflection rather than more research. The character of each tradition on the World Heritage List, and the authenticity of each, is based on its Universal Exceptional Value. The process of identifying these aspects is described in the Operational Guidelines of UNESCO, with 10 Criteria of Recognized Value (http:// whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/). For a heritage tradition to be listed requires that it meet at least one of these. The acequias of the Americas, of which those of New Mexico are notable examples, represent the Western

dissemination of these techniques, perfected in the Arab world during the Middle Ages. The tradition took root in the Iberian Peninsula and was transmitted to the Americas by Spain. The creation of these communal systems in a new setting is the final stage in their transmission. A system already recognized by UNESCO that shares many traits with the Acequias of New Mexico is the Palmeral de Elche, a millennial oasis community in southern Spain, crisscrossed by acequias and groves of date palms, citrus and gardens. The UNESCO criteria applied there would be the same ones deployed for New Mexico.

Acequia heritage offers a wealth of knowledge. But which specific acequias would be nominated? Several years ago, the New Mexico Acequia Association voted for recognition of the tradition itself, rather than a particular place or example. But the selection of such a place might be necessary for the nomination process. Inclusion on the list is not easy. In recent years, UNESCO has considered countries with less influence and little representation. It would be advisable to build upon a place already recognized, such as Taos Pueblo, which has been a World Heritage site since 1992. Since 1992, the multidimensionality of the values that constitute Heritage has evolved a lot. The architectural character of Taos Pueblo and its continuity were

What Are Acequias?

An acequia in Embudo, New Mexico


Acequias are the age-old, hand-dug, gravity-fed irrigation ditches in northern New Mexico that make possible the cultivation of locally grown food. But they represent much more than that. As a social system implanted into the hydrological cycle for community subsistence, acequias constitute a place-based knowledge of watershed, intertwined with food traditions, community and culture. They are an instructive example of democratic self-governance, stewardship and sharing of resources. They are also the defining structure of their ecosystem. The unlined ditches allow water to seep into and recharge local aquifers, providing a rich riparian zone for wildlife, shade trees and native plants.

emphasized, according to UNESCO c r i t e r i o n i v, “ t o be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.” But the documentation of pueblo culture, which emphasized the buildings and their protection, was not profound. Today, the pueblo community would perhaps be interested in revising and broadening the scope to include criterion ii, “to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span A canoa, hollowed-out logs over an intermittent stream; a of time or within a once common structure that is still part of the Las Trampas acequia system in northern New Mexico cultural area of the align with criterion vi. It is one of the world, on developments in architecture most important Catholic pilgrimage or technology, monumental arts, destinations in the United States, the town planning or landscape design.” center of social, cultural and spiritual Addressing criterion vi, “to be directly life and a depository of a valuable or tangibly associated with events or Intangible Heritage. living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works An ideal collaboration between the of outstanding universal significance” Acequias and the Pueblo of Taos would recognize the sacred character could meet the UNESCO criteria and of Blue Lake and the buffalo pasture expand the geographical definition of near the pueblo. the “Pueblo of Taos” so that: An example of the difficult but positive • It be included with the TVAA with relationship between the pueblo and the name “Pueblo and Acequias of the Acequias of Taos valley can be Taos Valley” found in the Abeyta Accords of 2012, • The criteria of inscription for the in which the pueblo and the Taos “Pueblo and Acequias of Taos Valley” Valley Acequia Association (TVAA) be related to the recognition of the participated. This accord establishes Camino Real de Tierra Adentro the basis for a lasting collaboration (south of the U.S. border and on between the groups. Abeyta defines through New Mexico), listed by a clear territorial base that could UNESCO in 2010, given its historic tighten the geographic area for the linkage with Taos. UNESCO proposal—the Acequias • T h e h i s t o r i c c o l l a b o r a t i o n of Taos, not in and of themselves, but between TVAA and Taos Pueblo representing, as well, all those acequias be recognized for the creation in the hemisphere constructed in of a territorially defined cultural collaboration with native groups. landscape in contiguous spaces that share the same natural resources. Because of its spiritual significance • The values inherent in the Acequias and link with the acequia world, the be recognized for their importance Santuario de Chimayó could also continued on page 30

Green Fire Times • February 2015


© Seth Roffman (2)

Carlos Ortiz Mayordomo and Lina Gracia

Valle de Allende and Aldama Roots of Acequia Culture in Northern México Article and photos by Enrique Lamadrid


he roots of New Mexico’s acequias may still be traced along the perennial desert streams that feed the great Conchos River in Chihuahua, the largest tributary of the Río Grande/ Bravo, named after the shell-trading natives who lived on its banks. Two communities that still practice the old ways of community-managed water are Valle de Allende and Aldama. Both are far removed from the big dams and conservancy districts that erased traditional acequia culture the same way that Elephant Butte Dam did in the north.

New Mexico. To slake their thirst, they followed the Río Conchos north, even though it added many weeks to the journey. Coronado came up the coastal route in 1540, and Oñate, in 1598, went straight north across the deserts to beat the winter snows of New Mexico. As early as 1563, Franciscan friars started a mission in San Bartolomé to serve the pecan-gathering Indians who lived there. The colonists of 1598, who settled the upper Río Grande, spent many months in the area, waiting for their permits to head north.

Well into the 19th century, Valle de Allende was the aduana, or entry point, into New Mexico because it is located on the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. E v e r yo n e traveling north or south checked in here for approval and inspection. Animals had to be healthy, and only soldiers, officials or families with papers were permitted to travel. For Valle de San Bartolomé and San Jerónimo, Nueva Vizcaya, became many decades, Valle de Allende and Aldama, Chihuahua, in the 19th Century no single men except soldiers In the upper reaches of the feeder were allowed into New Mexico, so as streams of the Conchos flows the Río not to upset the social equilibrium. Florido and the Río del Valle de Allende, Wisely, the government preferred the oldest Euro-American agricultural married soldiers. Spanish names of the complex in northern México. Founded old rosters read like the phone books of in 1569 and originally named San modern Albuquerque, Santa Fe or Taos. Bartolomé, this beautiful spring-fed In 1825, San Bartolomé was changed valley fed the miners of the Santa to honor one of the four martyred Bárbara mining district, discovered insurgents of the wars of independence— two years earlier. An 80-mile riparian Allende, Jiménez, Aldama and Hidalgo. forest of native pecans is the lush Valle de Allende was the cradle of ecological setting. Some are truly the new agriculture of New Mexico giants, have names and are more than and is still home to an astounding three centuries old. My favorite, with variety of heritage crops. Four kinds of an 18-foot diameter and 350 rings, was pears, quinces, two kinds of apricots, named Sixto and was finally blasted by several types of apples and plums, lightning a couple of years ago. peaches, persimmons, multicolored This valley was the point of departure pomegranates, figs, grapes, and all of for most of the expeditions that explored the Spanish grains, greens, onions,


Green Fire Times • February 2015

garlic, beans and melons still thrive there. They were adapted to Mesoamerican and northern desert soils and climates by Tlaxcalan Indian horticulturalists, who also brought varieties of corn, chile, beans and squash that had not yet come north. Desert-adapted breeds of sturdy horses, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs also came up the Camino Real, spreading behind them the seeds of the navajita, or little razor grass, which grew faster than native grasses to feed them. As teachers at the new missions, the Tlaxcalans shared this bounty with the Pueblo Indians. Side by side with other settlers, their An ancestral pecan tree, Valle de Allende strategic alliance with the Spanish crown for the conquest of México, in 1521, earned them the same rights to own land and become hidalgos as other settlers. They helped found new settlements with Spanish and Basque settlers with names like Oñate, Archuleta, Mondragón and Ulibarrí, whose specialty was mining. Twin communities were the norm, with allied Indians on one side of the river and the Spanish on the other. Like all the cities of the Camino Real, Santa Fe followed with the same design and layout. Valle de Allende’s acequia system also dates to the 16th century and is remarkable for its smooth transition from rural to urban zones. On the outskirts, several stretches of the acequia madre flow through elegant tunnels chiseled through rock outcrops, the handiwork of the miners. As it enters town, the water goes underground, flowing through beautiful, arched masonry and Roman-style galleries. Then, it channels alongside streets, under sidewalks, through and even under houses, where precious water is captured in patio fountains and aljibes, or stone water cisterns, before reaching walled gardens and orchards. Acequias need to be constantly attended to avoid flooding, and footpaths on their banks became streets as the town grew. The acequia official, who literally does the watching, is the

Acequias of Valle de Allende


veedor, or seer, and walks the streets and has the keys to all the hobbit-sized doors on all the properties, which open to allow his vigilance.

New Mexico has many lessons to learn about itself from its historic sister communities to the south. Water is apportioned according to the kind of crops being grown. Pecan orchards are generously watered by un buey de agua, the measure of water that reaches the belly of an ox standing in the ditch. Other measures are based on the diameter of fruits, progressing in size from limón (lime) to naranja (orange) or toronja (grapefruit) up to melón (melon), depending on the size of the garden plot. Square stones are perforated to size, set and changed when necessary, at the spot where the water enters. Measuring stones like these were found at Rancho de las Golondrinas, south of Santa Fe, and were only recently identified. Careful management of water has sustained a lush paradise in the desert, which the town of 5,000 shares on weekends with the people of the nearby bustling city of Parral, whose people flock to the parks and swimming holes of Valle de Allende. L ocated on the Río Chuvíscar, downstream and east of Chihuahua City, Aldama is a much newer 18thcentury settlement artfully built around water. Early in the century, in 1707, the Jesuits encroached on Franciscan territory to minister to the Chinarras Indians and built the spectacular Santa Ana de Chinarras church in the same massive but ethereal, whitewashed style as the San Xavier del Bac church in Tucson. Only a few people survived a massive Apache attack in 1769, and the area was abandoned. Years later, in 1781, the Franciscans took over and built a church nearby in

A field of corn in Valle de Allende


their favorite neoclassical style with the name of San Jerónimo. Acequias were routed down from the Río Chuvíscar, and each was planted with an alameda, or bower of álamos (cottonwoods), the shade of which slowed evaporation under a scorching desert sun. The three acequias meet not far from the plaza in a repartidero, a series of masonry canals and gates for measuring out the water. Ancient trees still preside over the spot, which has become a municipal park, always fresh with flowing water. Typically, the lower trunk of each giant cottonwood is painted white, like a petticoat for a much-loved grandmother. The old maps in San Jerónimo’s archive read like a page torn straight out of the Nuevas Leyes de Indias, which prescribed the way towns should ideally be laid out to maximize resources, to create inviting public spaces, to facilitate civic defense and to celebrate the social order. To one side of the plaza is the church, to the other the Casas Reales, the residence and office that received visits of royal administrators. After independence, the name was changed to honor the secular hero Aldama, and the same government buildings became municipal headquarters. Prominent Spanish families lived near the plaza. Indian families had their own barrios, or neighborhoods. Agricultural plots, or suertes, were so named because they were literally chosen by luck in a drawing. In the original plan drawn by civil engineer Manuel Marcazo, one hundred families each got a suerte measuring 200 by 400 varas, a measure roughly equivalent to a yard. Water rights were measured in time, and each suerte was given a data, which was 12 hours of use every 14 days. Today, the official who watches the water and mediates disputes in Aldama is called the aguador, the waterer. Aldama survived the precipitous growth of Chihuahua City because its access to water was preserved by law. Because the river only flows during the rainy season, farmers still have access to a generous water table, and the old acequias are recharged by pumps. Aldama also has survived successive social upheavals— the Reforma, or modernization period of the 1860s, a major revolution in

Details from San Jerónimo de Aldama Church

The Partidor that divides the three acequias of Aldama, all under the watchful eye of the Aguador

the early 20th century and the narco wars at its close.The datas, or water rights, have been inherited, sold and consolidated into fewer and fewer hands. The main cash crop is now pecans because cornfields and gardens have diminished. But people still harvest their beloved fruit trees, and the quince preserves and wine of Aldama are famous. Today, new business owners in the city of 15,000—three times the size of Valle de Allende—have to be reminded not to block the acequias that still flow along sidewalks. The town is now frequented by city-weary residents of Chihuahua, who escape to enjoy Aldama’s parks, swimming pools and greenery.This enlightened vision of a desert paradise, built around flowing waters, is still intact and much appreciated, even as it survives into the 21st century. New Mexico has many lessons to learn about itself from its historic sister communities to the south. i

Enrique Lamadrid is a cultural historian, literary folklorist, and acequia activist who edits the Querencias Series at UNM Press, after his retirement as a long-time Spanish professor at UNM. He and Estevan Arellano wrote John the Bear and t h e Wa t e r of Life / La Acequia de Juan del Oso, a story of the Bear’s Son and the history of the Mora Acequias. lamadrid@unm.edu

Green Fire Times • February 2015


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Tlaxcala and Aranjuez Keystone Gardens of the Columbian Exchange Enrique Lamadrid and Armando Lamadrid


he agricultural bounty of the Columbian Exchange was such a bonanza to people on both sides of the Atlantic that new plants and animals immediately began spreading from hand to hand to mouth along ancient and modern trade routes. Realizing the strategic importance of the exchange, the Spanish Empire did its best to understand and control the transmission. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, more than 50 expeditions were commissioned to collect plants and animals from an increasingly far-flung empire. A network of jardines de aclimatización, or gardens of acclimatization, were run by state and church to determine which new species might benefit agriculture and medicine. Because most of the Iberian Peninsula is semiarid, acequia technology played a key role in this epic story.

Many, many plants came through this system to the rest of Europe and, eventually, to Asia and Africa. For example, life-saving crops like the vitamin-rich tomato went to places like Italy, not directly from Mexico, its place of origin, but through Spain after acclimatization. Other historychanging crops like potatoes followed more informal lines of distribution. Ordinary Spanish sailors, who had been to the Andes and fallen in love with potatoes, took them to places with similar climates, the mountainous and moist valleys of Galicia, where they thrived. Ireland got them not from Perú but from Spain. In New Spain, the alliance between the Spanish Crown and the city state of Tlaxcala was the key, not only to

the defeat of the despotic Aztecs, in 1521, but to the care and husbandry of the Eurasian agricultural legacy. On their way to Tenochtitlán, the conquistadors of Hernán Cortés left their stores of seeds and cuttings in the hands Topografía del Real Sitio de Aranjuez (Domingo de Aguirre,175 of expert Tlaxcalan Indian horticulturalists. Beginning in north, and the Caminos Reales, or royal the jollas, or fertile hollows, just west of roads. In New Mexico, the Tlaxcalans the grand plaza of the city, crops were became the teachers and what we would carefully tended and acclimatized to a today call the “extension agents” for the variety of soils and moisture levels. Dry missions to the Pueblo Indians. They farming and irrigated farming were not told them, “We are also people of the the only methods. The chinampas, or corn, but you are going to love the grains raised-bed farms in wetland areas, also and fruits that we bring.” played a role. The new grains, vegetables, On the other side of the Atlantic, and fruits were successfully adapted to Spanish ships dutifully unloaded stores cultivation in Mesoamerica, not only to of new seeds, cuttings and potted the fertile valleys of the south but for the plants at the port cities of Cádiz and vast arid lands of the north. Sevilla, both of which maintained nearby acclimatization gardens. From there, they were sent out to a network of gardens in different Iberian climates for propagation and experimentation. Plant samples and seeds were often ruined by seawater on storm-tossed voyages, but horticulturalists developed expertise at reviving them. The most In 1591, with a list of generous famous plant doctors were monks from guarantees, or Capitulaciones, which the monasteries of Cataluña, who could included the right to use horses and work wonders. With experience, better arms, the right to found autonomous watertight containers were designed, communities, and exemption from and potted plants survived in protective taxes and personal service, the Crown crates with slings, springs and adjustable invited the Tlaxcalans to participate ventilation. The Royal Navy maintained in the settlement of the north. In a a more specialized garden near the kind of Tlaxcalan Diaspora, 400 young smaller port of Málaga, where medicinal native families headed north from plants were tested. Sailors on long their homeland to co-found new, twin voyages were vulnerable to diseases and settlements all the way to Texas and bad nutrition, and naval doctors were New Mexico. The hybrid agriculture always searching out better strategies they took north supplied the Camino to maintain shipboard health. de la Plata, the militarized road that The most spectacular and best-preserved connected the great silver mines of the

New plants and animals began spreading along ancient and modern trade routes.

Plaza of Tlaxcala, 1530s

1591 Capitulaciones de Tlaxcala

The Columbian Exchange

As soon as Christopher Columbus started picking up seeds, plants and animals to take back to Spain, and doing the same thing in the other direction, he started what historians call the “Columbian Exchange.” Since he was interested in spices, he immediately noticed small, round, wild chile berries and took them home, thinking they were a kind of peppercorn, which is why people still call them “chile peppers.” Some scholars who would rather not mention Columbus call the process the “Grand Exchange.” Either way, this widespread relocation of plants, animals, diseases, humans and ideas between the Eurasian and American hemispheres from 1492 forward changed the world forever. Departure for the Northlands, 1591 (mural in Tlaxcala)


Green Fire Times • February 2015


© Armando Lamadrid (2)

of paths and avenues are still lined with trees f rom the global Spanish Empire like the Lebanese cedar, the Chinese tree of life, the Virginia tulip, the Louisiana dry ash, the Nive laurel, the Carolina poplar, the New England pine, the Jerusalem and Arcadia pine, the American acacia, the maple and plane tree from Canada.

55), left, and Satellite image of Aranjuez (Google Earth, 2011), right

jardín de aclimatización was developed at the Real Sitio, or royal site, of Aranjuez, a former royal hunting preserve not far south of Madrid in a wooded valley surrounded on all sides by semiarid mesas. The 5,000-acre area around the confluence of the Jarama and Tajo rivers features a variety of well-drained soils, supplied by an intricate network of acequias and artificial wetlands. The visionary Hapsburg king, Felipe II, built a summer residence there in the latter half of the 16th century, as well as the austere Escorial monastery north of Madrid, f rom which he administered the expanding empire. But Aranjuez was much more than a royal retreat. Felipe II had a keen interest in botany and deployed the best landscape architects, hydraulic engineers and horticulturalists in Europe. Their plans were systematically built over the subsequent four centuries. At first, the baroque notion of the earthly paradise was the inspiration, but along the guidelines of ideal geometry and proportion. Reticular, radial and orthogonal layouts for fields, orchards and gardens blended harmoniously into newer populated areas. Aranjuez grew from retreat to pleasure palace and showcase of cultural achievement. The improvements of Bourbon monarch Fernando VII in the early 19th century reflected the esthetics and scientific developments of the Enlightenment, plus a continuous calendar of cultural activities. A navigable channel was cut between the two rivers where luxurious golden barges floated with receptions, concerts and plays. The beautifully planned towns supplied a larger labor force to operate the complex. In the environs of the palace, every kind of formal garden was laid out to recall the four corners of the Holy Roman Empire, the Flemish, French, English, Italian and Arabic styles. Many miles


Castañuelas Waterfall along the Ría (grand canal) of the Tajo River next to the Royal Palace

The Ría, or grand acequia diverted from the Río Tajo, flowing over the man-made Castañuelas Waterfall next to the Royal Palace

But the experimental farms and gardens remained a part of the foundational vision and purpose. First, a complete inventory and study of native Iberian plants were commissioned to set a baseline f rom which to better understand all the exotic plants continuously coming in thereafter. The groves of native elms and poplars of Aranjuez were supplemented in the latter 16th century with trees from all over Spain, such as blackberry, ash, continued on page 22

Bounty of the Columbian Exchange

Enrique Lamadrid and Armando Lamadrid


ost schoolchildren know that corn comes from México and potatoes are from Perú. In history class they learn about the potato famine in Ireland and may have heard about the perils of monocropping, that is, the planting of only one kind of plant. Fewer realize that tomatoes are not from Italy but, rather, from México. And very few have heard that chile did not originate in México but, instead, from Bolivia, as recent DNA studies have shown. However, México was the jumping-off place from which chile traveled west on the Manila galleons and took Asia and India by storm. The so-called Columbian Exchange of flora and fauna between Europe and America after 1492 is more than dinner-table trivia. As it spread to Asia and Africa, it changed the history of the world. The potato story is epic. It is such a complete food that populations exploded wherever it went. It became

the culinary infrastructure of empires, but it also allowed peasants to survive the destruction of marauding armies. Soldiers could easily steal away with entire stores of grain from a barn. But they never had time to dig up potatoes, which stayed safe in the ground for people to use as they needed them.

Serafina Lombardi digs potatoes with Don Bustos in Santa Cruz, New Mexico

The corn story is epic. Three times more productive than wheat, it became the staple of the poorest parts of Europe. Since milling technology

there was excellent, the key step of lime processing used in México was skipped. Corn was ground directly into meal and consumed as porridge and polenta. Millions of people ate little else. First came persistent diarrhea, then extreme dermatitis. Sun-exposed areas of skin simply peeled off. The sourskin disease—pellagra in Italian— in end stages resulted in dementia. Pellagra killed hundreds of thousands. Eighteenth-century scientists in Spain and Italy ruled out fungus and spoiling as causes, then discovered that the nutrition of corn goes unreleased with milling alone. It is the chemical action of lime that makes the niacin in corn digestible to the body. The tomato story is epic. It is a brilliant member of Solanacea, the same generous nightshade family that includes potatoes, chile and eggplants, which were India’s gift to the world. Europe regained its health because continued on page 22

Green Fire Times • February 2015


© Armando Lamadrid (2)

Tlaxcala continued from page 21

Lateral canal irrigating groves of native and exotic trees in the illustrious Jardín de la Reina

walnut, willows and almonds. The inventory of Eurasian fruit orchards still found there is encyclopedic, with more than 60 types of pear, 30 of apple, 11 plums, eight cherries, six apricots, two hawthorns, two loquats, 54 apricots and peaches, two figs, two pomegranates and only one type of blackberry tree.

A harmonious blend of nature and culture in rational enlightened balance

Because vegetable gardens come and go, varying from year to year, it is the trees of Aranjuez that bear witness to the centuries of agricultural experimentation. There are thriving cinnamon trees from the Philippines as tall as anywhere in their native islands. There are groves of pecan trees from the upper Mississippi Valley. One specimen nicknamed “El Macho” towers almost 200 feet tall and is more than 350 years

old. Scientists eventually noticed that American tree species that most loved the acequias and hot summer climate of Aranjuez were from humid regions of Florida, Louisiana and the Mississippi Valley. The landscapes of Aranjuez are a harmonious blend of the cultivated and the built, of nature and culture in rational enlightened balance. Today, they form the only UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Cultural Landscape in central Spain, a world heritage site that reminds us of the antiquity and hybridity of our acequia culture. In the late summer of 2014, we drove south from Madrid across the arid mesas, and the highway dropped abruptly into the verdant valleys of the Jarama and Tajo. To our delight, the entire complex of groves, orchards and palaces was completely surrounded by cornfields! i

Bounty continued from page 21

of the vitamin-laden tomato, and it became a life-saving staple in many countries. What it lacked in calories it made up for in flavor and nutrients.

Beans and other legumes traveled both ways across the Atlantic, increasing the ranges in which they could grow and bringing more flavors to the table. Rarely included in the legume list because people don’t eat it directly is alfalfa, with its Arabic name and its nitrogen-fixing talent of improving soils wherever it goes. The great Cucurbitaceae family of squashes also traveled both ways, and America fell in love instantly with sweet melons, Persia’s gift to the world. The great Exchange began the moment Christopher Columbus landed on Guanahani island in the Bahaman archipelago on Oct. 12, 1492, and was framed for centuries by Eurocentric scholars as the “discovery” and conquest of the Americas. Now, postcolonial scholars more objectively call it the Euro-American Encounter. Imperial politics aside, the flora and fauna of the so-called Columbian Exchange were globalized. Every voyage to and from the Americas took plants and animals—as well as diseases—back and forth across the Atlantic, eliminating the watery barrier that had separated the continents. In the Caribbean, introduced plants like sugarcane, bananas, coconut palms and rice changed economy and society

forever. After Old World plagues like smallpox and malaria decimated the indigenous population, a new labor force with enhanced immunity to these diseases was introduced from Africa, and slavery was institutionalized. When the Spanish conquest extended through Mesoamerica and the Andes, the Exchange intensified. With the new diversity of domestic flora and fauna, in the next five centuries people were able to adapt the bounty to the different climates they inhabited, from the tropics to the temperate zones, from rainforests to deserts. Since the Iberian Peninsula was largely arid, the Spanish also brought their expertise in the ancient art of irrigation and added it to the knowledge of the people they encountered. For the one vital source for all life is water. The impact of American agriculture was huge in Europe. In the Americas, European cereals, fruits and legumes thrived in temperate climates, but the biggest impact was from domestic animals, of which there were few in the Americas. The horse changed the political balance, and the other grazing animals changed the face of the landscape forever, especially when overgrazing began degrading the land. Politics and empires aside, the bounty of the Columbian Exchange set the stage for the huge increases in population that threaten our generous but finite planet in the 21st century. i

Don Bustos continued from page 7

The third and most historic event for me was the signing of the Libro de Oro del Tribunal. I was given the responsibility and honor of writing on one page of the tribunal’s book of history, a book that records over 800 years. New Mexico and its acequia association now have a page in the history of Spanish water law. As I write this, my heart races as I think of the importance of using our water responsibly for growing food and to ensure the healthy system that the acequias protect. I appreciated learning more about the history of farming in this region of Spain, from the conquest by the Romans, when grains were the main crops to feed the troops, to now, where Valencia is the winter garden of Spain, with four harvests to satisfy the tastes of the people. They maintain a strong sense of pride because of their independence and a feeling of being secure in knowing that decisions made are based on a thousand year history. i Don Bustos is secretary and board member of the New Mexico Acequia Association and runs his family’s Santa Cruz Farm as an example of small, sustainable Don Bustos and Enric Aguilar hold agriculture in northern New Mexico. dbustos@afsc.org El Tribunal de las Aguas


Green Fire Times • February 2015



Green Fire Times • February 2015


Water Management and Acequias in Chile

Ovidio Melo, Rafaela Retamal and José Luís Arumí


f you have enjoyed the excellent wines of Chile or the delicious fruit and grapes that brighten the North American winter, you have had direct, personal contact with the acequias of Chile. While Chile is almost as long as the United States is wide, the distance from

in the mountain snowpack and groundwater systems that feed the rivers. The Andes are so high in Chile that glaciers also contribute to the watersheds. Streamflow is diverted from rivers and delivered to the croplands through complex networks of irrigation canals.

An irrigated valley of central Chile

© Alejandro López

user in central Chile, farmers have been responsible for water administration, organized in what we call “Organizaciones de Usuarios de Agua” or Water Users Organizations (WUOs). WUOs bring together the tasks of extraction, conveyance, distribution and storage in order to allocate water for its best use. In addition, they act as

who distributed the resource in areas of scarcity. During the first century of independence, water management went through no significant changes. The president of the Republic had the authority to make water grants and delegated this power to intendants and governors, who appointed the water judges.

A fruit market in Santiago de Chile

In central Chile, irrigation is needed during summer months because rain is concentrated during Chile’s winter— May to August. As in New Mexico, agriculture depends on water stored

Through the 1990s, most of the irrigation in Chile was done by acequias. A traditional person we used to see at the fields was El Palero, the counterpart of New Mexico’s mayordomo. The introduction of new irrigation technology and the opening of new markets for Chilean fruit have changed agriculture. Today, El Palero is being replaced by technicians operating pressurized irrigation systems.

© José Luís Arumí (3)

the country’s Pacific coast to the eastern Andean border averages only 110 miles. The irrigated central valley is 620 miles long, with Santiago in the center. To the north is the Atacama, the driest desert on Earth. The Chilean Patagonia to the south is as rainy as coastal Alaska.

Because irrigation is the main water “El Palero”: Traditional Chilean irrigator in a vineyard

the initial forum for conflict resolution, maintain updated member registries and oversee and monitor extractions, among other things. In that sense, the Chilean WUOs have many similarities to New Mexico’s acequias, which is not a surprise because we share a similar history.

Diversion on the Río Cachapoal


Green Fire Times • February 2015

Before independence, all areas of Spanish America were characterized by the same social and political structures. In Chile, water grants were made by the governor, who represented the viceroy of Perú and the president of the Royal Court. For their part, the governor and the council designated water judges,

The first written Chilean water regulations date to 1819, during the administration of President Bernardo O’Higgins, who issued a Supreme Decree that defined the volume of the regador as a unit of flow approximately half a cubic foot per second, forms of sale, and responsibility for intake structures. Later, in 1855, the first Civil Code was adopted. It included regulations not substantially different from those previously described. Then, various municipal ordinances were adopted to solve water-grant distribution conflicts in the northern and central zones and continued on page 26


The Zanjeras of Northern Luzon


ost of us associate the Philippine Islands as a wet tropical zone and do not expect to find acequia-irrigated landscapes. However, unlike the verdant rice terraces of the Mountain Province in north-central Luzon that are humid year-round, agriculture in the Ilocos Norte Province to the northwest requires irrigation during a prolonged dry season that extends from late October to May. Much of this region is located between the highlands of the Cordillera Central on the east and a coastal area north and west toward the South China Sea. The rice fields in the coastal lowlands in particular require flood irrigation six months of the year to supplement the wet season when torrential rains are common. Most of the agricultural lands of Ilocos Norte are community-based, similar to the acequias of the upper Río Grande of New Mexico and southern Colorado. And, like the Río Grande acequias, they too operate outside of government as commons property held by the irrigators themselves, the zanjeros.

Zanjero Ilocano adjusting headgate

How and when did zanjeras originate? The topography of Ilocos Norte contains limited land along the narrow coastal plains flanked by interspersed mountain spurs that extend inland to the higher slopes of the Cordillera Central to the east. Most of these foothill sections and the valley lowlands are drained by the Laoag, Vintar and Abra rivers. To develop a viable farm economy based principally on rice production, diversions, canals and other infrastructure would have to be built as the coastal population increased, especially during the Spanish regime that introduced new forms of human settlement and cropping patterns. In order to build projects at this scale, including dams that would contend with typhoon storms and flooding during the wet season, farmers had to work cooperatively during the initial period of construction and continuously for the operations and maintenance of the canals to ensure water delivery across the contiguous parcels of rice fields. During the monsoon seasons, the traditional dams made from bamboo stakes, brush, sandbags and rocks were often washed out and had to be rebuilt and sometimes relocated as the river channels moved. Unlike concrete structures that are permanent but capital-intensive, in the early days the zanjeros preferred to build collapsible dams they could rebuild or relocate with their own labor and local construction materials. Landholdings were small or none at all, as in the case of peasant and tenant farmers. From this core evolved two types of irrigation societies. Those who owned and worked their farmlands provided labor and materials for the construction of their zanjera systems, much like was done in colonial New Mexico, and they also devised plans for water distribution. These owner-operated systems likely came first, since the landowners could control both land and water resources to suit their needs. Other Ilocanos were not as fortunate, especially those without landholdings. True


to the ingenuity characteristic of the people from Ilocos Norte, these peasants fashioned a bold experiment that would exchange water for land. Specifically, groups of aspiring farmers offered to build diversions on the major rivers, dig out zanjas extending into the properties held by landowners, and distribute water from the head to the tail-end sections of land, all in exchange for land membership shares, or atars, allocated to them by the original landowners. In exchange, each willing landowner would benefit from the water in the system to irrigate larger blocks of farmland he would retain for his own production. To structure this Bamboo brush and rock dam unique arrangement, the zanjeros and each landowner formalized a written agreement, or convenio, along with a land-division map indicating more or less equal shares of land to each farmer, often in three or four different sections of the irrigation system to ensure equity of land distribution and access to water from the head to the tail, and larger blocks of land to be retained by the landowner. These land and water arrangements were always local as to proportionality but, in a typical model, un tercio (one-third) would remain with the landowner and dos tercios (two-thirds) with the zanjeros. Once set into place, the atar lands were controlled corporately by the zanjera association.

Like the Río Grande acequias, they operate outside of government as commons property held by the irrigators themselves. Literature about the origins of the zanjeras is sparse, but most historians date them to around 1740, with additional ones developed by the late 1890s and into the turn of the century. Once the zanjera model was established, more systems would evolve in response to population growth, surplus labor, reduction in farm sizes and the limitations of the topography. Eventually, the headcount reached about 680 in the Ilocos Norte Province, as recorded by the National Irrigation Administration, by 1979. Another quandary is whether the zanjeras were of Spanish origin to any significant degree. The dates of construction and when they flourished coincide with the Spanish regime that began in the middle 16th century and ended in 1898. The first ethnographic report on the zanjera societies did not emerge until 1914, but, based on letters and other reports from the Augustinian missions along the Ilocos coast, the friars assigned to Ilocos Norte promoted the expansion of irrigated agriculture, including the construction of dikes and canals, as new settlements arose in the lands surrounding the missions. To date, much of the lexicon of zanjeras persists in Castilian Spanish well past the colonial regime that ended in 1898. Many of the irrigation terms and names for water officials were derived from Spanish and incorporated into the native Ilocano. Ethnographic studies as late as the 1960s report that some zanjera documents continued to be found in the possession of the members, still written in Spanish, even though by then this language was no longer familiar to the zanjeros. Interestingly, the members nonetheless could recite the contents of these documents since the rules and regulations along with other agreements were handed down orally. Water management practices appear to be modeled from Iberian traditions. Along the Ilocos coastal plains, the early churches were built between 1650 and

continued on page 30

Green Fire Times • February 2015


©José Rivera (2)

José A. Rivera

continued from page 24

organize the use of water grants through the creation of vigilance committees. Consequently, the water judges had to resolve conflicts, and members of the vigilance committees adjudicated water distribution according to grants given by the state. Those vigilance committees were the first attempts to organize management around water demand, a model that has endured to the present day.

a result, over the years they have brought lawsuits against the state. The rights of these communities are now included in discussions about possible modifications to the current water law. Globalization pressures, international markets and demands from social sectors seeking a better quality of life, environmental protection and respect for indigenous communities

© José Luís Arumí

Acequias in Chile

Chilean students on the acequia

The Chilean water management system is similar to the acequia systems of New Mexico in that both stem from Spanish tradition at the northern and southern extremes of the American colonies. Until the early 20th century in New Mexico and the late 20th century in Chile, these systems relied on water management governed by the people that use the water. In New Mexico, the 1907 water code put the Office of the State Engineer in charge of all waters, separated water rights from agricultural lands and gave priority rights to Indian tribes. In Chile in the 1970s, when the Agrarian Reform broke up large estates, centralized management disappeared, and acequias started declining. In the 1980s, Neoliberal programs separated land from water rights, which were privatized with the emergence of agribusiness. But politics aside, across history, the management of water remains with WUOs, with the state still in a regulatory role. One major difference is that, in Chile, the water rights of indigenous communities have not yet been taken into account. As


Green Fire Times • February 2015

are changing agriculture and irrigation in Chile. The system is evolving to respond to new social demands and expanding uses for water for human consumption, agriculture and the environment. The authors wish to express our thanks for the support given by the Chilean Scientific Council (Conicyt ) through the project Conicyt/ Fondap/15130015. i

José Luís Arumí is a civil engineer, research professor and dean of the School of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Concepción, Chile, where Ovidio Melo and Rafaela Retamal (unpictured) are his colleagues. arumi.joseluis@gmail.com


Land and Water in the Middle East The Yemen Connection Juan Estevan Arellano


of the land. Only people with such knowledge and wisdom can survive in this harsh environment. They not only survived but thrived and, as a result, found the knowledge and wisdom embedded in the landscape, which became their greatest teacher.

© Grete Howard

he word acequia seems to have its roots in Yemen. Sabaean was the language spoken by the Yemenis, and it seems most of the words related to hydrology came from Sabaean, an old South Arabian language. Here then is where our global acequia sojourn

Harraz Mountains, Yemen

begins. The scenery in the Harraz Mountains as seen in the photos is breathtaking: cultivated terraces rolling down the fertile slopes, with a backdrop of jagged mountains common to all desert environments. On the ridges, villages cling to the peaks.

Our journey to understand water and community begins here. On the carefully constructed terraces,coffee plantations flourish. Here, agriculture is practiced more intensively than in other parts of North Yemen. The area is known as the Fertile Mountains because it benefits from bountiful monsoon rains. The terracing, carried out in such a fine and impressive manner, has been so carefully maintained by farmers that it has survived for thousands of years. In addition to coffee, millet, rye, wheat, barley, lentils and beans have been grown on these multiterraced fields for centuries. Since the word acequia seems to have been born from this type of environment, our journey to understand water and community begins here, for here we see where people definitely understood the knowledge of water and the wisdom


Sabaean was spoken in Yemen before Islam arrived, and it named places and other things in the peninsula. Many of the words with Arabic roots come, in reality, from the language of the descendants of the Queen of Saba. Sabaean words related to water are alberca (al-birka), cistern for irrigation; acequia (assaqiya), irrigation canal; zanja (az-zanija), channel that is sculpted in rock; noria (an-naura), water wheel, well.

Other Sabean words that relate to water are As-sirr (as-sarr in Sabeo-Arabic), watercourse in the mountains. The word sierra may actually be derived from this word. Al-jahl, a rapid watercourse with waterfalls. As-sirb, this concept relates to acequias, the user’s turn to use the water for irrigation. Al-jisr, a diversion dam with steps to slow down the water. Al-aqm and Al-maqam, partial diversion dams that direct the flow or establish the volume amount. An-nahr, channelized the torrents of water. Wad is a permanent watercourse such as a river, for example, the Guadalquivir river in Andalucía. Guadalquivir means the Big River such as the Río Grande. The word Guadalupe also has its roots in Wad, the river of wolves.

This article was taken from Estevan Arellano’s book “Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water.”

Much of the vocabulary used today for irrigation, agriculture and construction— the central elements of the civilization in southern Arabia—are encountered in the Sabaean language. The Yemenis also made great contributions to the Spanish language as shown above in storage,

Juan Estevan Arellano (1947-2014) was an esteemed acequia activist, journalist and novelist f rom Embudo, NM. He received hundreds of students and researchers at his almunyah or experimental farm there.

management and distribution of water. Contrary to the Romans, famous for their big hydraulic projects, the Yemenis had specialized in micro-engineering of water for community projects. Accustomed to having to reclaim land from the desert in order to cultivate, they brought to Spain their advanced hydraulic knowledge and, from here, it spread around the globe. From there, the names that came to signify canal, torrent, river channel and waterwheel, whose origins in many cases are from Sabaean and Yemeni roots. i

The majority of the Yemenis were campesinos from the mountains of eastern Yemen. Even though Arabic was becoming more common, Sabaean continued to be used to name the flora, fauna and all the vocabulary used for irrigation and agriculture. That still continues today. Sabaean is a Semitic language that flourished about 3,000 years ago, close to the civilization of Southern Arabia, the center of which was in Mareb and predominated in what today is Yemen. In the year 628, they became part of Islam, and they adopted more modern Arabic from the Quran. This Arabic, laced with Sabaean, or vice versa, was what was spoken by the Yemenis who arrived in Iberia. And with this language, they named towns, rivers and mountains.

Green Fire Times • February 2015


Juan Estevan Arellano ¡Presente!

September 17, 1947 – October 29, 2014 Enrique Lamadrid

La noche está llegando, Night is falling, yo sigo trabajando I keep on working para mantener to maintain lo que yo quiero tanto. what I love so much. —García, Montoya, Vigil Although the wind has taken his voice, Arellano will continue to speak to us in years to come through his writing and his example. Activist, farmer, builder, poet, journalist, sculptor, historian, father, husband, leader, teacher, he was true to his name, Estevan (Stephanos, in Greek), the crown of leaves and flowers given to poets and champions, for he was both. As one of the preeminent cultural journalists of his time, his chronicle and critique of the last half century in New Mexico is spread across more than half a dozen newspapers, at least six of which he founded. In the Taos News alone, more than 500 weekly columns spoke to the issues of the day, both in English and in El Crepúsculo, the Spanish section, originally founded in the 1830s by Padre Antonio José Martínez. His last few articles, already written, will continue the conversation in Green Fire Times even after his passing. True to his other name, Juan (Yohannes, in Greek), there is sometimes a strident tone of prophecy in his voice as he tirelessly defended culture, land and water. Yet the name Juan also means full of grace and recalls the blessing of the waters.

Arellano will continue to speak to us in years to come through his writing and his example. One of his most memorable newspapers was Are Llano, the “arid plain” of his surname, recalling the forebears, the people of the deserts of the Middle East and Iberia, of Mesoamerica and New Spain, who sought refuge and the precious, life-giving waters of the mountains, valleys, and canyons of New Mexico. Its pages overflowed with analysis, dialogue, research and art. Another was called Caminante and chronicled his interest in the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, our historic corridor and link to México and beyond. Caminante also means pilgrim, and Estevan led neighbors, students, f riends and colleagues to Spain and México on cultural pilgrimages to explore their roots. Arellano served a number of years as the most dynamic director of the Oñate Center in Alcalde, which he transformed into a venue for Resolana, the critical community dialogue that emerged from the sun-drenched corners of the town plaza. His cultural agenda included lectures, theater, art exhibits, regional food and music. Among the many events to honor New Mexico’s Cuartocentenario celebration in 1998 was a call for commemorative Juan the Bear and the Water of Life by corrido ballads, which was answered Enrique Lamadrid and Estevan Arellano


Green Fire Times • February 2015

by the region’s most important composers and musicians. The center hosted community meetings and symposia, including historic gatherings of land-grant and acequia activists, who joined together to revitalize their movements. Arellano’s home and ranchito in Embudo, over the years, hosted hundreds of students interested in sustainability and acequia culture. He liked to call his gardens his almunyah, an Arabic term for the experimental gardens where plants were adapted for desert agriculture. Many lively seminars were held in the shade of the ancient apricot tree behind his house. He served the Acequia Junta y Ciénega his whole life— as parciante, comisionado and mayordomo—and was justifiably proud of it. Its banks and easements were always clear of undergrowth. Where it ran across an unstable, sandy hillside, he identified and helped install a kind of interlocking brick designed in Afghanistan to stabilize the watercourse. He defended it at every turn. A tireless scholar and spokesman, Arellano was recognized as the conscience of the acequia movement in New Mexico. He approached problems and threats directly, criticizing insiders as readily as outsiders for neglect and mismanagement. Acequia culture is in danger, and Arellano was quick to sound the alarm and educate his community by example. Acequia landscapes are culturally green, and part of cultural literacy is learning how to read the land, its wisdom and its memory. Since periodicals are ephemeral, he wisely chose to inscribe his knowledge in a book, published in the UNM Press Querencias Series only weeks before his passing, Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water. His most lasting contribution is in its pages: “The elders, the viejitos, talk about la sabiduría del agua, and the juicio de la tierra, but that wisdom is rapidly disappearing as the Spanish language, which is the keeper of our environmental ethics and philosophy...” In his last paper, delivered to the fall 2014 Acequia Symposium in Valencia via Internet, he theorized the observation, confirming that there is a “linguistic infrastructure” for the acequias in language itself that must be decoded by much more than translation. Most people know Arellano as an activist, as a vecino, as a friend. But his legacy is also that of a filólogo, a logófilo, a lover of words. As poet, storyteller and novelist, he loved and defended the ancestral language of this land as fiercely as he defended his cultura. His literary work exemplifies the combative, old 19th-century verse:

Nuevo México insolente, entre cíbolos criado, ¿quién te hizo letrado para cantar entre la gente?

Insolent New Mexico raised among the buffaloes, who taught you to write, to sing among the people?

Arellano loved folklore, which he considered “el oro del barrio,” full of creative expression, dialogue, and sharp cultural critique. He was a founding member continued on page 30


© Alejandro López


t the edge of the Río Grande’s bosque, still resplendent with the golden bower of the cottonwoods, hundreds of people joined together in Española to commemorate the life and celebrate the legacy of Juan Estevan Arellano. We began by acknowledging the antepasados, realizing he is now one of them. He took his last breath not long after midnight on Oct. 29, 2014. Once again in northern Nuevo México, the “Canción de las acequias” became a hymn:

Op-Ed: The Almunyah

Enduring Acequias

Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water By Estevan Arellano

University of New Mexico Press, 220 pages For several reasons, Estevan Arellano’s recent book, Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water, can only be described as a tour de force. Foremost is the author’s depth of knowledge of his native watershed. This knowledge is centered on the many streams born of springs and snowmelt, which flow together to comprise the upper Río Embudo watershed and its nearly 40 major acequias. Through the acequias’ diversion and channeling of the río’s waters to fertile bottomlands, they successfully irrigate the traditional agricultural holdings of Arellano’s ancestors in La Junta, near Embudo. Secondly, Arellano manages to integrate into an already complex tapestry a wealth of knowledge regarding every other aspect of regional northern New Mexican life that has had a bearing on the acequias and local agriculture. As a result, he brings into sharp focus land-settlement patterns, family histories, legal documents governing the use of the land and water, as well as the relentless tides of history that shape and reshape the landscape and its hydrology.

One of the preeminent cultural journalists of his time

One learns about the Laws of the Indies that prescribed the layout of “New World” Spanish settlements that, in northern New Mexico, were a reflection of peninsular Spanish, Criollo (“New World Spanish”) and Mexican Tlaxcalan Indian components. One also learns about Pueblo Indian resistance to the “Spanish” settlement of the Embudo watershed, of the two varieties of corn most commonly grown here before the American period, together with innumerable other pertinent facts that increase our understanding and appreciation for this historic place from the point of view of a critical native thinker. Thirdly, the book takes on the world and many other outstanding examples of waterworks akin to acequias, all the way from the Indus Valley of India, Jericho and Yemen, where it is thought the agricultural revolution took place nearly 9,000 years ago and where acequias may have had their beginnings, all the way to southern Spain, the highlands of Perú and central México. What is more remarkable is that in the midst of conducting this captivating grand tour of the world’s most impressive, ancient irrigation systems, Arellano, like a good New Mexican, invites you into his home, his family and his heart and shares with you not only his most intimate insights regarding the wisdom of the land and his knowledge of the water but also his own sense of cultural identity as a Chicano. It is clear from all that he writes, the late Estevan Arellano was in love not only with the acequias of northern New Mexico and the water-transmission technologies of other parts of the world but also with the continuously adapting mestizo culture and people of his país, or homeland, upon which the acequias and their greening of the world depend if they are to endure.


– Alejandro López

An Integrated Place for Living Alejandro López


he late New Mexican writer and community leader, Estevan Arellano, left this world while still in the process of enhancing his 2.5acre, garden-like plot of land in La Junta, the place in Embudo where the Río Embudo joins the Río Grande. He described this special place as an “almunyah,” a word derived from classical Arabic, meaning “desire.” In

healthy, cultural engagement with one another and with nature that landbased activities foster. In the IndoHispano community, people used to meet in their plazas and homes, where news was shared and ties renewed. They also met in their lush fields and gardens, where they might take a break, eat and tell stories beneath a large cottonwood tree.

the Iberian Peninsula, where Arab and Moorish peoples occupied Spain for nearly 800 years, almunyahs were designed as experimental and recreational gardens where imported tre e s a n d ve ge ta b l es c o u l d b e acclimatized. The almunyah concept that Arellano envisioned transplanting to New Mexican soil included a protected, garden-like place dedicated to learning, relaxation and living fully.

The concept of the almunyah builds upon this sort of experience, always in communion with the fullness of hearth, land and cosmos. The need for such places emerges from the collective human need to affirm our humanity amid the plentitude of nature. As a kind of cultural and agricultural sanctuary with a profusion of plants and animals, an almunyah could be a place where one goes to immerse oneself in life and into the work— solitary or communal—that makes us whole. Ideally, it could be located at an old family farm, perhaps one that has been reclaimed to serve a purpose that goes beyond raising food. In an almunyah, there could be opportunities for an examination of the forces at work in nature, in society, as well as within our own spirit and psyche, all of which are undergoing tremendous revolutions at this time. Whether as a nonprofit or as a for-profit entity, each almunyah could serve as a repository for all that is beautiful and valuable in our cultures and which, in the future, might serve as seeds for the regeneration of our communities. i

© Alejandro López


Aside from some homes, few such places exist in our society today. Most spaces within our communities have been denatured, commercialized or relegated to serve but a single function; i.e., kindergarten, park or church. There are few fully integrated spaces remaining where food is grown, meals prepared and hospitality shown. It is even harder to find places where, in community with others, individuals can pursue creative activities and exchanges, ranging from conversation to collective physical work. For a people who, until recently, were land-based and had practiced farming for hundreds of years, modern commercial spaces such as fast-food outlets, movie theaters and bars do not invite substantive exchanges like dialogue, storytelling or the kinds of

Alejandro López is a writer, photographer and educator.

Green Fire Times • February 2015


Estevan Arellano continued from page 28 of La Academia de la Nueva Raza, with other Nuevomexicano cultural activists Tomás Atencio, Facundo Valdez, E.A. Mares, Antonio Medina, Alejandro López and many others. In collaboration with them, he published Entre Verde y Seco, a collection of traditional narrative and poetry compiled from the landmark oral-history project that the Academia conducted in the early 1970s. He also edited El Cuaderno, the journal of the Academia, in whose pages could be found their philosophy and manifestos.

Arellano’s internationally celebrated literary writing is his novel Inocencio: ni pica ni escardia, pero siempre se come el mejor elote, one of the only books written in Nuevomexicano Spanish, which won him the prestigious José Fuentes Márez prize in México. In it, he places his homeland within the millennial Ibero-American Picaresque tradition, which links ancient Eurasian animal fables to Roman satires, to Lazarillo de Tormes in Golden Age Spain, to El Periquillo Sarniento of Colonial New Spain, to Pito Pérez of post-revolutionary México. In these writings the pícaro, or trickster hero, lives by his wits, avoiding work, surviving on the edges. Since he has nothing to lose, his gift to society is sharp and relentless criticism, delivered through satire. Inocencio is a composite of characters drawn directly from the plazas of northern New Mexico. Estevan Arellano’s most enduring lesson to us can be summed up in the way he cultivated and wrote about his Querencia, the folk term for love of place, land, culture, and people: if we don’t learn to love them, we will never defend them. i

The Zanjeras continued from page 25 1700, with Spanish officials in charge of laying out the town plans. Reportedly, the Spanish friars closely supervised these newly created mission settlements and taught the natives how to parcel and clear the lands, plow and sow the fields with newly introduced plants, flowers and garden crop varieties from México and Spain, thresh grain, and store the harvest in order to supply food to a growing population. To boost the production of rice within old cultivated and new lands, parish priests directed the opening of channels starting around the last quarter of the 18th century with enlargements and expansions into dozens of towns by subsequent Augustinians throughout the 19th century. Guided by the friars, the newly constructed dikes and irrigation systems made for good rice yields, even in times of sparse rainfall. Other crops included wheat, cotton, sugar cane, cocoa and lucrative indigo for export in both Ilocos Norte and neighboring Ilocos Sur.

Most historians date the zanjeras to around 1740. Operating procedures and water distribution rules in the zanjeras closely resemble the Iberian tradition as transplanted to the New World and perhaps from México to the Philippines by way of the friars. As with land shares, water shares are proportionately distributed and, in times of scarcity, a system of rotating turns per day can be implemented, called barsak in Ilocano, or a share of time allocated for the use of canal water, a concept dating back to the Ilocano ancestors. The rules for allocating water in times of scarcity can vary depending on which schedule is determined at a zanjera meeting that covers duration and the location of water distribution activities with much flexibility for these arrangements per canal or laterals. When rainfall becomes abundant again, the rotation schedule is undone. To ensure equity of water distribution, irrigated land parcels within each zanjera are recorded and accounted for in relationship to the names listed in a journal for each zanjero. Of special interest is the fact that the length and width of each parcel is measured in metros, palmas and puntos. To divide the canal water evenly, the larger zanjeras employ a physical divisor called the padila tablon, a traditional proportional weir that takes water into laterals in proportion to the sum of water shares owned by gunglos, or section group members, within the zanjera system. Like the Valencian and New Mexican partidores, these divisors express how water


Green Fire Times • February 2015

NM Acequias continued from page 15 in an economy of common good, for nurturing an important agrobiodiversity, the use of multiple languages and more. From the perspective of the Acequias, the case to be made to UNESCO would address, as a minimum, criteria ii, iv and vi. A possible motto for the project would be the popular saying used during planting and harvest time: “Una para nos, otra para vos, y otra para los animalitos de Dios (One for us, one for you, and another for God’s little animals).” Towards this goal, I would propose these ideas to construct an ambitious proposal with profound meaning. The incorporation of the Acequias of New Mexico in the UNESCO List would give universal recognition to their resilience, principles and values demonstrated during their lengthy history. The memory of Estevan Arellano and other respected leaders calls for the participation of all those

who can offer their efforts to guarantee the future of this extraordinary cultural landscape. i Carlos Ortiz Mayordomo of Elche, Spain, has a PhD in physical chemistry and a graduate degree in environmental sciences. He has conducted research on landscape evaluation, heritage and chemistry. Now retired, he keeps active in the study of traditional f ood production. carlormay@gmail. com Lina Gracia of Spain has a PhD in biology. She has specialized in environmental management and natural resources and has conducted research on Elche’s palm grove, landscape evaluation and heritage.

shares are measured to ensure equity in flow distribution. As physical structures, they can be monitored by guards, other water officials and the sectional irrigators themselves for their own particular lateral. Did the zanjeras derive from the Iberian model of irrigation? Likely, the friars built from existing traditions diffused into the Manila region by Chinese and other Asian traders, before the Spanish regime, as was done for wet rice cultivation. Sources for the organization of zanjera societies along the Ilocano coast to the north, however, are not known but, upon close examination, zanjera operations reflect a Spanish influence in locations where the Augustinians created new settlements for Ilocano converts that they organized and resettled. Some of the names given to the zanjeras are derived from Catholic saints, a few of which are the Zanjeras San Juan, San Marcelino, San Antonio, San José, San Blas, Santa Rosa, Santa Ana, and Santo Rosario. The strongest resemblance to the Iberian model centers on governance and institutional arrangements where the community of irrigators, in Spain, New Mexico, and Ilocos Norte determine their own rules, establish days for canal cleaning and any repairs, elect a Junta Directiva of officers who conduct administrative functions, guard and monitor their systems, impose fines (multas), for infractions or when irrigators do not contribute their share of obra (labor), and convene a Junta General (General Assembly). As a whole, the zanjeras fulfill the criteria as corporate bodies that control and allocate resources to its members based on common ownership of the diversion structure, the main canal and, in the case of zanjeras, a kamarine (meetinghouse) as well. This factor alone makes a case for continued investigation of zanjeras and acequias as comparative irrigation societies. We hope this brief essay will stimulate additional work by all of us who are students of acequia culture. i José Rivera is a research scholar at UNM’s Center for Regional Studies and professor of planning at the School of Architecture and Planning, UNM. He is author of Acequia Culture: Land, Water, and Community and has done field research on acequias all over the world. jrivera@unm.edu


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Green Fire Times • February 2015


Sustainable Santa Fe Monthly Update

2015 Sustainable Santa Fe Award Nominations Sought Awards Celebrate Community Sustainability Leaders Katherine Mortimer, SSF Programs Manager, City of Santa Fe


he city of Santa Fe is seeking nominations for the 2015 Sustainable Santa Fe Awards to recognize model projects that are helping Santa Fe reduce its ecological footprint, mitigate carbon emissions and build resilience in the face of climate change. These annual awards are limited to projects or programs with significant events that occurred during the 2014 calendar year or ongoing programs that haven’t yet been recognized. Award recipients will be recognized at a gala on April 8. Nominations will be accepted until March 15 and can be made online. A link can be found at www.santafenm.gov or at the websites of co-sponsors: Earth Care (www. earthcarenm.org), Santa Fe Green Chamber (nmgreenchamber.com/santa-fe) and Green Fire Times (www.greenfiretimes.com). Separate nominations must be made for each project, but you may nominate as many as you wish. 2015 Award Categories: Community Outreach or Education, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Justice, Food System Adaptation, Water Adaptation, Ecosystem Adaptation, Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency, Affordable Green Building or Building System, Green Economic Development, Triple Bottom Line, Low Carbon Transportation, Waste Reduction, Youth Led, Other

• Waste Reduction: SF Public Schools and EcoVim for a pilot project, which helped reduce waste by 28 percent and saved $60,000. EcoVim takes food waste and dehydrates it, reducing the weight by a factor of 10 and recovering water. They also recycled electronic waste and required school contractors to recycle. •C  limate A dap tation – E cosystem : Surroundings Studio for design and construction of El Parque del Río, which follows the SF River through downtown. The park was beset with long-term problems. Incising the river channel has helped the health and viability of many old trees. •R  enewable Energy: Consolidated Solar Technologies for their 62.64kW solar installation at Amy Beihl Community School, offsetting 125 tons of CO2. They also started constructing a 192.6kW solar installation at Capital High. School installations serve as living laboratories for sustainability education. •Y  outh-Led: Global Warming Express, a group of 9- and 10-year-olds working to raise awareness about climate change and to get kids involved in climate activism. •G  reen Building System: Aerolenz, which manufactured the most energy-efficient daylighting products on the market,including skylights and translucent curtain-wall systems.

Last year there were winners in 13 categories: •C  ommunity Outreach: Desert Academy Outdoor/Sustainability Club for a series of events focused on climate issues. They brought in local experts to speak to youth, had community groups share information and demonstrate their work, and raised funds for local climate-related causes.

•T  riple-Bottom-Line: Mark Choyt and his company, Reflective Images, which is working to reform the mining sector through responsible jewelry materials sourcing and use of recycled metals.

•E  nvironmental Advocacy: Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute for their Agri-Kids program, which brings sustainable agriculture into the classroom and schoolyard, and brings students to their farm for hands-on learning. This teaches about global warming, climate change, sustainability, organic farming, recycling, green building, vermiculture/composting and traditional agriculture.

•G  reen Economic Development: SolarLogic, whose mission is to increase the adoption of residential and commercial solar hydronic heating systems by developing, manufacturing and selling products that couple plumbing design standardization with state-of-the-art technology and ease of use. They also conduct educational programs and work with local contractors.

•F  ood Systems: SF Community College Culinary Arts Garden, a living laboratory that offers volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Specialty garden beds make possible 4-season vegetable production. Environmentally friendly techniques allow produce to be grown without pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified plants.

• Low-Carbon Transportation: Santa Fe County for a bike lane retrofit. A road between the Tesuque River and US84/285 can now be integrated into “State Bike Route 9” to make a wonderful non-motorized alternative for local and long-range travel.

• Climate Adaptation – Water: The Raincatcher, which creates water-wise, beautiful landscapes and healthy soil. Storing and using rainwater reduces carbon emissions associated with utility-provided water processing and transportation and adapts residences for the new climate.

• Innovative Sustainability Research: The U.S. Geological Survey for their Western Mountain Initiative to help natural resource managers, planners and policy makers understand the responses of Western mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change, emphasizing sensitivities, thresholds, resistance and resilience.


continued from page 14

recognition until now. Only a few sites on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage List have been selected because of the significance of their traditional acequia or acequia-related irrigation systems, like the Palmeral of Elche, Spain, the Aflaj of Oman, or the cultural landscape of Bam, Iran. But there is an increasing interest in the rediscovery and promotion of acequia values. Experts in human development have pointed out the role that existing, selforganized acequia communities play in the successful introduction of new development policies and projects. Likewise, biologists and ecologists cite the contribution of traditional acequias to biodiversity and the sustainable use of water. Geographers, historians and


archaeologists are learning how to read acequia landscapes for their historical content. And, above all, the irrigators themselves—such as those in the upper Río Grande basin—recognize the importance of their traditional acequias in shaping and maintaining their way of life and cultural identity. Small wonder that acequia landscapes count among the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative promoted since 2002 by another U.N. agency, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).

Consejo de Hombres Buenos (Council of Good Men) and the Valencian Tribunal de las Aguas (Tribunal of Waters) were inscribed jointly on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. These two traditional water courts—custodians of the Andalusi irrigation wisdom—have, since medieval times, resolved internal conflicts in a speedy, fair, inexpensive and effective manner for acequia farmers from the Segura and Turia rivers in Spain.

Nowadays, the effort to preserve and promote intangible cultural heritage under UNESCO’s leadership presents new and promising perspectives for the preservation and revitalization of acequia heritage. In 2009, the Murcian

For sure, traditional irrigators from the Americas to Asia will push for recognition, either for the tangible and intangible items of their acequia culture or for their acequia cultural landscapes as a whole. In an age of

Green Fire Times • February 2015

uncertainty and conflict—often over water—acequia heritage offers a wealth of knowledge on the sustainable use of water, strengthening local communities and promoting respect and intercultural dialogue on both sides of the Atlantic and, indeed, wherever community canal irrigation exists. i Luís Pablo Martínez is a historian, anthr opologist and inspector of Cultural Heritage for the government o f t h e R eg i o n of  Valencia. He has coordinated numerous UNESCO nominations for the cultural  heritage of Mediterranean Spain. luispablo.martinez@gmail.com


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Green Fire Times • February 2015




Green Fire Times • February 2015


NEWSBITEs New Regulations for Methane Emissions

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), human activities are responsible for 60 percent of all methane emissions. According to NASA, a 2,500-square-mile area of the Southwest’s Four Corners region is the nation’s largest emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Scientists say excess methane is significantly contributing to global warming and acidifying oceans. Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a biologist, says this is a concern because we have acidified the oceans to a degree 30 percent higher than optimal to fully support life. She says that the ocean’s plankton, which produce half of the oxygen on Earth, are dying. Methane is known to leak during coal production and at all levels of the oil- and gas-drilling production process. Increased drilling and production are expected to increase emissions unless new controls are in place. Last month, the Obama administration announced that it intends to cut methane emissions by nearly half by 2025 through new regulations to be administered by the EPA and the Bureau of Land Management. A spokesman from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has said that such rules are burdensome and unnecessary because the industry is already working to reduce leakage.

Piñón Pipeline Would Facilitate San Juan Basin Oil Boom

The San Juan Basin in the Four Corners region may be on the verge of a shale-oil boom. The proposed, 130-mile Piñón Pipeline, capable of carrying 50,000 barrels of crude a day, would start out as smaller pipelines that would gather oil at well pads and other points. A larger pipeline would then move the oil south to a distribution center near Interstate 40. The pipeline would span Navajo, private, state and federal land, including an area near Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, a World Heritage Site. Hundreds of people spoke out at public hearings last month, including Navajos who traveled hundreds of miles to ask the Bureau of Land Management to deny a permit to Saddle Butte San Juan Midstream LLC, a Denver-based corporation. Navajo activists and a Chaco Canyon archaeologist said that the permanent infrastructure the pipeline would fracture cultural and archaeological heritage, threaten endangered species, flora and fauna, ruin the recreation economy and bring inevitable oil spills. Fracking, they say, is already degrading air and water and negatively impacting local communities. If the pipeline is constructed, oil and gas wells could quadruple in the San Juan Basin.The industry rationale for the pipeline is that current infrastructure—tanker trucks—can’t handle the crude being produced and developed and that trucking costs more and is riskier than a pipeline. At one of the hearings, however, an industry executive admitted that increasing drilling to such an extent would mitigate any environmental benefits. The Sierra Club has urged the BLM to conduct a more detailed review, as required for an environmental impact statement, to consider the cumulative effects of all oil and gas development in the region and to fund a health assessment, as required by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Record Closed in PNM Replacement Power Case

After more than three weeks of testimony in the case before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) over Public Service Company of New Mexico’s regional haze plan to retire two of four generating units at the aging coal-fired San Juan Generating Station (SJGS), the record is now closed. Some highlights: PNM executives admitted that, due to errors and omissions, original estimates to replace power at the SJGS need to be increased by $1 billion. The more-than-$7billion energy replacement plan would dictate energy resources (or cause further “stranded assets”) for ratepayers over 20 years. PNM began the case stating that its replacement portfolio of coal, nuclear, natural gas and 40 megawatts (MW) of solar was the “least-cost” and “most cost-effective.” The company’s argument shifted during the case, as the utility’s computer modeling (Strategist®) analyzed the plans and four alternatives, including New Energy Economy’s proposed 400 MW of wind and 260 MW of solar, were shown to be less expensive for ratepayers. Farmington Electric Utility System—a co-owner of the SJGS plant—announced its intention not to buy additional capacity when the other partners leave in 2017. As a result, Wall Street analyst Jefferies Equity Research downgraded PNM to a “hold,” rather than a “buy,” stating, “Our economic analysis of the plant makes it unlikely that PNMR (PNM Resources, PNM’s parent company) will find a third party to acquire [Farmington’s] 65 MW interest in the plant.”


On Jan. 5, more than 300 people protested PNM’s energy plan. Community groups from the Navajo Nation led the demonstration. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, (above, right), Rep. Brian Egolf and the Latino group Juntos were among the speakers calling for clean replacement power. Three parties that were part of a Stipulation Agreement with PNM—Western Resource Advocates (WRA), Renewable Energy Industry Association (REIA), and New Mexico Independent Power Producers (NMIPP)—have withdrawn their support. WRA cited concerns that PNMR might be negotiating to buy 65 MW. REIA and NMIPP withdrew after citing concerns over misestimated coal costs and the plant’s economic viability. The groups were also upset by a new “access fee” PNM wants to charge people who install residential solar panels. On Jan. 27, the Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Authority filed its opposition to the Stipulation. After the parties file briefs, the hearing examiner will make his Recommended Decision to the full PRC.

Santa Fe Higher Education Center Opens

Four New Mexico institutions have joined with Santa Fe Community College to form the Santa Fe Higher Education Center. The Institute of American Indian Arts, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico offer 20 major areas of study. After completing two years at the community college, students can now obtain a bachelor’s degree through one of the center’s partner institutions. The new campus at 1950 Siringo Road features state-of-the-art classrooms, geothermal heating and cooling and a solar photovoltaic array that generates about 80 percent of the facility’s energy demand.

Renewable Energy Day at the Roundhouse February 27, 10 am-3 pm

With 300 days of sunshine per year, New Mexico has the potential to lead the nation in renewable energy (RE) development, creating jobs, improving the economy and reducing water use. On Friday, Feb. 27, the economic, environmental and social benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency will be celebrated at the state capitol. A diverse array of advocates, including public institutions, RE developers and environmental organizations will have display tables at the event. To encourage a favorable political climate for expanded clean energy, the Sierra Club will offer citizen lobby training and information about current legislation. A press conference at noon will feature legislators, industry specialists, youth and nonprofits who will share their policies and plans to help grow the RE industry in New Mexico. Free parking is available in the facility at 420 Galisteo St. For more information, call 505.310.4425 or email esha@gotsol.org

Green Fire Times • February 2015


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Green Fire Times • February 2015



Green Fire Times • February 2015


What's Going On! Events / Announcements Feb. 14, 7-10 pm; Feb. 15, 4-6 pm Arts, Crafts & Global Fusion Fashion Show VSA North Fourth Art Center 4904 Fourth St. NW

Presented by NM Women’s Global Pathways and created by refugee, immigrant and indigenous artisans of NM. $10. 505.345.2872

ALBUQUERQUE Feb. 4, 5:30-7 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz 125 Second St. NW

Network with people interested in doing business locally, clean energy alternatives and creating sustainable opportunities in our communities. Presenter: Theresa Cardenas, founder of Nobel Renewables Group, LLC will speak on Innovative Solutions for a Safe, Sustainable Future. www.greendrinks.org

Feb. 5-6 Urban Tree Conference Crowne Plaza Albuquerque 1901 University Blvd. NE

Updating the basics of tree care. Presentations by professionals. $170/$70 students. www.thinktreesnm.org/conference.html

feb. 7, 8 am-5 pm Advanced Photovoltaic Design CNM Workforce Training Center 5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE

Participants will learn to apply National Electrical Code standards and industry best practices to design the best systems for your company. $169. 505.224.5200, workforce@ cnm.edu, www.cnm.edu

Feb. 7, 9 am-12 pm Trees & Tree-Pruning Workshop ABQ Garden Center, 10120 Lomas NE

Presented by Dr. John Ball. Open to master gardeners, tree stewards, docents and community volunteers. Free. gdavis1@nmsu.edu, Registration: http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/pruning

Through Feb. 9 Art in Public Places Submissions Central NM Community College

Artist or artist team sought to create sitespecific commission project on the CNM campus, to be completed by January 2016. $120,000 available for the project. https:// www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info. php?ID=1491&sortby=fair_name&apply=yes

Feb. 12, 7-9:30 am Education for a Changing Workforce Marriott Pyramid

Panel discussion with an array of education leaders. $35. 505.348.8326, tfenster@ bizjournals.com, www.bizjournals.com/ albuquerque/event/115861#eventDetails

Feb. 13, 12-1 pm Global Divestment Day Demonstration UNM Student Union Building (outside), Central at Cornell

Sustainable UNM=Fossil Free UNM endowment investments. 350.org NM. Info: www.face book.com/events/428782533946434/?ref=22


Feb. 15, 7:30 pm Buffy Sainte-Marie Kimo Theater, 423 Central NW

$15-$45 adv. 505.866.1251, holdmyticket.com

Feb. 18, 5:30 pm Pueblo Women: Inspiring Change & Preserving Tradition Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW Panel discussion of prominent Pueblo women artists Marla Allison, Deborah A. Jojola and Glendora Fragua. They will talk about the role of Pueblo women and provide an inside look at a new exhibition. www.indianpueblo.org

Feb. 19-20 Land & Water Summit Sheraton ABQ Airport 2910 Yale Blvd. SE

Watershed CPR: Restoring Natural, Built and Human Environments. Presented by the Xeriscape Council of NM. Sponsored by Bernalillo County and many others. $175/$325. 2/18: Pre-conference workshop on Flood Control for Watershed Health. 505.843.7000, www.xeriscapenm.com

Feb. 20-21 NM Organic Farming Conference Marriott ABQ Pyramid North

The SW’s premier conference for organic agriculture. Producers and researchers will share their experience and expertise. Mark Smallwood, executive director of the Rodale Institute, is the keynote speaker. $100 includes Saturday’s luncheon. Organized by Farm to Table, the NM Dept. of Agriculture’s Organic Program and NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. 505.473.1004, ext. 10, le@farmtotable.org, www.farmto tablenm.org/programs/new-mexico-organicfarming-conference

Feb. 21, 8 am-4 pm Haute Highlights Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, Bernalillo, NM

A Festival and Celebration of Startups, Small Business and Nonprofits in New Mexico. Local and national speakers, panel discussions, exhibitors, gala dinner, live auction. Tickets: www.hautenightout.eventbrite.com

March 14-18 American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference

Southwestern faculty, college and university presidents from AIHEC member colleges and universities. Student competitions, meetings, presentations and events. 505.259.8010

Green Fire Times • February 2015

Through May 31, 2015 El Agua es Vida: Acequias in Northern New Mexico Maxwell Museum of Anthropology,UNM

Groundbreaking, multidisciplinary exhibit. Free. 505.277.4405, maxwellmuseum.unm.edu

Daily Our Land, Our Culture, Our Story Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW

Historical overview of the Pueblo world and contemporary artwork and craftsmanship of each of the 19 pueblos. Weekend Native dances. 866.855.7902


Feb. 4, 11:30 am-1 pm Green Lunch SF Area Home Builders Association 1409 Luisa Street

Topic: The New Rules of Social Media. Presented by Kathy Walsh, Carolyn Parrs and Rubina Cohen. $15 for SFAHB, $20 others. Sponsored by the SF Green Chamber of Commerce. Reservations: 505.982.1774, Raquel@sfahba.com

Feb. 5 Water Policy Day NM State Capitol

Join New Mexico First to advocate recommendations from the 2014 Statewide Water Town Hall. The platform calls for commonsense changes to water funding and planning, watershed restoration including forest tree thinning, long-range drought planning, resolution of legal issues, protection of environmental resources and exploration of new water sources. http://nmfirst.org/_blog/ Legislative_Updates/post/water2015/

Feb. 5, 5:30-7:30 pm Buckman Recycling Tranfer Station Community Meeting Nancy Rodriguez Center 1 Prairie Dog Loop

5:30: Open House; 6:30: Presentation/discussion. Learn about the services BuRRT provides and offer ideas how BuRRT can meet community needs. Written comments may be mailed to Randall Kippenbrock, SFSWMA, 149 Wildlife Way, SF 87506 or email rkippenbrock@sfswma.org

Feb. 5-April 16, 1-3 pm Renesan Institute for Lifelong Learning Lecture Series St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1200 Old Pecos Tr.

Lectures are held Thursdays. $10 per lecture, $66 for all 11. 505.982.9274, renesan@newmexico.com

Feb. 6 American Indian Day NM State Capitol

Exhibits, presentations of state departments and agencies. Organized by the NM Indian Affairs Department.

Feb. 7, 10 am-12 pm The Future of Libraries Great Hall, St. John’s College

Panel Discussion with Michael Delello, deputy cabinet secretary for Cultural Affairs; Sarah Heartt, former librarian, SF Public Schools; Patricia Hodapp, director, SF Public Library, Tomas Jaehn, archivist, NM History Museum, Jennifer Sprague, library director, St. John’s College. Free.

Feb. 7, 2 pm Dyes in Early Navajo Textiles Wheelwright Library 704 Camino Lejo, Museum Hill

Presented by David Wenger, Ph.D. For members only (memberships available). Reservation required. 505.982.4636, ext. 110. www.wheelwright.org

Feb. 7-8 Volunteer Weekend Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

Help install a retrofit to a greenhouse from Zomeworks. RSVP. Also internships available from May-July in earthen building, land restoration, organic gardening and sustainable food systems. Applications due by March 6. Details: www.ampersandproject.org

Feb. 8, 11 am SAN Augustin Ranch Water Rights Permit Update Collected Works Bookstore 202 Galisteo

Former NMELC attorney Bruce Frederick. Moderator: water rights attorney Peter White. Journeysantafe.com

Feb. 8, 2 pm Santa Fe Reads James A. Little Theater 1060 Cerrillos Rd.

Readings and discussions with 5 nationally acclaimed northern NM authors: Sallie Bingham, Natalie Goldberg, Anne Hillerman, John Nichols and Valerie Plame. $15. 505.428.1353. Presented by Literacy Volunteers of SF.

Feb. 9-March 16, Mondays, 1-4 pm Legacy Writing Workshop SF Community Foundation 501 Halona St.

A 6-week life story class with Hollis Walker. $150. Registration: 505.988.9715, www.santafecf.org

Feb. 11, 9 am-12 pm Working Together for a Thriving Community SF Community Foundation 501 Halona St.

Dreaming a Better World through Collaboration. A technical assistance workshop for nonprofits presented by Valeria Alarcón and Roberto Aponte. Sliding Scale: $15-$45. Registration: 505.988.9715, www.santafecf.org

Feb. 11, 10 am Building the Business Different SF Business Incubator

Presentation for startup companies and entrepreneurs about SFBI grants. 505.424.1140, soshea@sfbi.net

Feb. 12, 7 pm Mountainfilm on Tour The Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco St.

Mix of films, from mountain sports to amazing wild places. $15. Info: 505.988.9126, ext. 0. Presented by WildEarth Guardians.

Feb. 14, 8 am-12 pm Contemporary Hispanic Market Jury SF Convention Center

For prospectus, visit contemporaryhispan icmarketinc.com. Market dates: July 25-26.


Feb. 14, 10 am-12 pm SF River Cleanup Frenchy’s Field Barn, Osage @ Agua Fria

9 annual Love Your River Day. 505.820.1696. RSVP: stewards@santafewatershed.org th

Feb. 14, 1-4 pm; 2 pm tour Kindred Spirits Valentine’s Day Party 3749-A Highway 14

Animal sanctuary offers wellness care and hospice to senior animals. 505.471.5366, kindredspiritsnm@earthlink.net, www.kindredspiritsnm.org

Feb. 15, 1-4 pm Wood-Carving Demonstrations Museum of International Folk Art 706 Camino Lejo

Wooden Menagerie: Made in NM exhibit with music and refreshments. Free to NM residents and children under 17. 505.476.1200

Feb. 15, 1:30-4 pm The Art of David Bradley Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

32 paintings, bronze sculptures and mixedmedia works by the Chippewa artist. 1 pm and 2:30 pm: Jemez buffalo dancers; 2-4 pm: Reception; 505.476.1250, 2:30-3 pm: catalogue signing with David Bradley and Dr. Suzan Harjo. IndianArtsAndCulture.org

Feb. 16, 3-4:30 pm Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo MoCNA 2nd Floor

Reading and book signing of Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the U.S. and American Indian Nations. Feb. 17, 1-2:30 pm: Poetry reading at IAIA campus. Free.

Feb. 17-April 2, 6-8 pm Landscape for Life Small Annex, SF County Fairgrounds

Learn how to create a landscape that uses less water and flourishes as the climate changes. Six different classes sponsored by the SF Botanical Garden and the SF Master Gardener Assn. $125/$150. 505.471.9103, www.santafebotanicalgarden.org

Feb. 17, 6-9 pm AgFest SF Convention Center

Feb. 20-21 ARTfeast Santa Fe

A weekend of fine art, food, fashion & homes tour. Benefits ARTsmartNM youth programs. Appetizers, silent and live auctions. Fashion designer Patricia Michaels: 2/20, 6 pm at Peters Projects, 1011 Paseo de Peralta. Advance tickets: $75. Feb. 21, 6 pm: Gourmet dinner and auction at the SF Convention Center. Advance tickets: $175. Artfeast.org

Feb. 21-22 Book Launch/Workshop Railyard Performance Center

Nina Hart’s new book of prose poems and short fiction is called Somewhere in a Town You Never Knew Existed Somewhere. Her book launch party is 2/21 at 7:30 pm ($5-$10.). Her Writing from the Top of Your Head workshop is 2/21-22. Details: 828.254.3586

Feb. 22-March 1 Santa Fe Restaurant Week

An extravaganza featuring 57 local restaurants; most present a prix-fixe dinner and a specially priced two-course lunch. Nmrestaurantweek.com

Feb. 24, 6-7:30 pm Health Effects of Wireless Technology La Montañita Co-op Community Room, 913 W. Alameda

Free practical solutions and mitigating products to combat electronic pollution will be discussed. Free.

Feb. 27, 10 am NM Acequia Commission Meeting Bataan Memorial Building, Rm. 238, corner Don Gaspar & South Capitol

Info: 505.603.2879 or molinodelaisla@ gmail.com. Agendas: 505.827.4983 or www. nmacequiacommission.state.nm.us.

Feb. 27, 10 am-3 pm Renewable Energy Day NM State Capitol

A technical assistance workshop for nonprofits on the 4Cs (Connection, Collaboration, Creativity and Consistency). Presented by Rubina Cohen. Sliding Scale: $15-$45; Registration: 505.988.9715, www.santafecf.org

Celebrate the economic, environmental and social benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Ecological art table, electric cars, solar ovens and hands-on demonstrations. Noon press conference featuring legislators, nonprofits and industry specialists who will share policies and plans to grow the RE industry in NM. 505.310.4425, esha@gotsol.org

Feb. 19 Application Deadline AIA Canstruction Design and Build Competition

March 2015 DIY Santa Fe: A Creative Tourism Journey

American Institute of Architects open call for design teams to create structures made entirely from canned goods for an April 11 exhibit held at SF Place Mall. Winners in five categories entered in an international competition. Entry fee: $100. Benefits the Food Depot. Santafe.canstruction.org/design-teams

Feb. 18 Reservation Deadline WorldQuest 2015 SF Community College Jemez Room

Feb. 20, 5:45-9:15 pm: College Bowl-style game of international trivia, played in teams of eight. Prizes will be awarded. Presented by the SF Council on International Relations. General Admission: $40 includes buffet. Registration: 505.982.4931, www.sfcir.org


Learn about the planned Greenhouse Grocery Food Cooperative, local businesses and ecological stewardship. $5-$10 suggested donation. 505.466.2665, bj@greenhouse grocery.coop, www.greenhousegrocery.coop

March 22, 10 am-9 pm World Water Day Celebration El Museo Cultural

Art exhibition, music, dance, food, information tables, children’s activities. Premiere film screening of Last Call at the Oasis, about the global water crisis, and Gasland II. A fundraiser for the Santa Fe Global Water Festival. By donation. Artists are invited to submit water-related art. 505.919.8751, www.water awarenessgroup.wordpress.com/GWF

March 27-28 Municipal Energy Production SF Community College

Learn from experts about local energy production and how to make a “genius” municipal grid a reality. 3/27, 7-9 pm: lecture ($10); 3/28, 9 am-5 pm: workshop ($99). Info: 505.819.3828, Registration: www.carboneconomyseries.com


Feb. 14, 12-4 pm Española Rising: A Time to Heal Our Youth

Join communities around the world speaking out against violence towards women. Help heal the community from last year’s shooting death of one of its children. 10 am: March for Justice for Victor Villalpando begins at Park & Ride. 11 am: Rally at the Hunter Ford building. 12 pm: Potluck at the Plaza gazebo; 12-4 pm: Performances, art contest, poetry slam, Trashyn Show by La Tierra Montessori at La Mission Convento. Sponsored by FBTPI, NNMC, ENIPC Peacekeepers, MalinalCo Nursing, Tewa Women United. Info: 518.332.3156, fourbridges@live.com, www.4bridges.org

March 1, 2 pm Camino de Paz Montessori Middle School Open House Santa Cruz, NM (25 min. north of SF)

Legislative event showcasing NM farm- and ranch-related organizations and agencies.

Feb. 18, 1-5 pm The 4Cs of Marketing SF Community Foundation 501 Halona St.

March 1, 5-7 pm Food, Music and Stories of Community Iconic Coffee Roasters, 1600 Lena St.

An immersive cultural arts experience; month-long celebration of workshops and events offered through Santa Fe Creative Tourism, a program of the SF Arts Commission. An opportunity for visitors to learn from experienced artists and artisans while enjoying world-class restaurants, sites and accommodations. 505.792.5746, santafecreative tourism@gmail.com, www.diysantafe.org

March 1 Application Deadline Lodgers Tax Event Funds

2015 special event funding for nonprofit organizations. Tourism support and community involvement are key. Does not include events June-August. 505.955.6211, www.santafenm. gov/document_center/document/2739

Presentation of curriculum and Montessori philosophy followed by Q&A with staff and parents. Student-led tours. Come see why Camino de Paz received Edible Magazine’s “Local Hero Award.” 505.231.2819, www.caminodepaz.net


Feb. 20, 8-10:30 pm Indigenous KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Rd. 150, El Prado, NM

2015 Native American Music Award winners (Artist of the Year, Best Blues Recording) from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in So. Dakota. $12. http://holdmyticket.com/ event/192561

Through Feb. 28, 2015 Art through the Loom Weaving Guild Show Old Martina’s Hall, Ranchos de Taos www.artthroughtheloom.com

Feb. 17 Application Deadline Paid Conservation Positions

Looking for young adults 18-25 to join a nonprofit in Albuquerque and Taos as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Earn a college scholarship and make a difference conserving natural lands. Application: 575.751-1420, ext. 34, www.youthcorps.org


Feb. 5, 7 pm Bag It Screening Reel Deal Theater, Los Alamos, NM

A film about plastic bags, their effects and what we can do about it.

Feb. 8, 2 pm Living in the Ancient Southwest Abiquiú Library and Cultural Center, Abiquiú, NM

David Grant Noble will discuss his latest book of essays and photography.

Feb. 11, 7 pm The Chama River: A NM Gem Pajarito Environmental Ed Center, Los Alamos, NM

Presentation by Noah Parker of Land of Enchantment Guides. Free. 505.662.0460, www.PajaritoEEC.org

Feb. 12, 5:30-7 pm Green Drinks/NMSEA Meeting Little Toad Pub 200 N. Bullard St., Silver City

Monthly meeting of the SW Chapter of the SW NM Green Chamber of Commerce and the NM Solar Energy Association-Silver City Chapter. Held every second Thursday. 575.538.1337, swGreenChamber@gmail.com

Feb. 13 Application Deadline Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area Grants

Grant cycle open to nonprofits in Río Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties. 505.753.0937, riograndenha.org

Feb. 14, 10 am-2:30 pm La Resolana: Rural Land & Water Restoration Edgewood, NM area

Work party focused on forest health hosted by Permaculture practitioner Christian Mueli with Back Yard Tree Farmers and rainwater harvesting friends. Ends with a potluck. 505.331.0245, mpermadr@msn.com

Feb. 19, 7 pm A Thousand Voices PBS-TV Network

Documentary film about New Mexico’s Native American women who are grounded in traditional values. Produced by Silver Bullet Productions.

Feb. 21-22 Las Cruces Spanish Market Hotel Encanto, Las Cruces, NM

Presented by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society. 45 artists. Tinwork, colcha embroidery, retablos, straw appliqué, weaving, jewelry, filigree, pottery, ironwork, carving. Admission: $5/person;$8/couple

Feb. 26, 7 pm Solar Power for Los Alamos? Downtown venue TBA, Los Alamos, NM What would it take to move off of fossil fuels entirely? A presentation by Karen Paramanandam of Positive Energy. Free. 505.662.0460, www.PajaritoEEC.org

april 10 deadline Earth USA 2015

8th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Construction with Earthen Materials. Abstract submission form online closes April 10. Conference will be held at the NM Museum of Art in Santa Fe, Oct. 2-4. Organized by Adobe in Action. Earthusa.org

Green Fire Times • February 2015



Green Fire Times • February 2015


Profile for Sun Publishing

February 2015 Green Fire Times  

Featuring: The Hermanamiento of the Acequias of Valencia and New Mexico, Valencia and New Mexico’s Hermanamiento Ceremony: A Personal Persp...

February 2015 Green Fire Times  

Featuring: The Hermanamiento of the Acequias of Valencia and New Mexico, Valencia and New Mexico’s Hermanamiento Ceremony: A Personal Persp...