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

¡ Sostenga!

Where Tradition Meets Sustainability The Cultural Reemergence of Democracy

2012 and Beyond:

Sustainable Systems and the Predicament of Water in New Mexico

Northern New Mexico’s Solar Energy Future May 2012

New Mexico’s Fifth Largest Circulation Newspaper

Vol. 4, No. 5


Green Fire Times • May 2012

Vol. 4, No. 5 • May 2012 Issue No. 37 Publisher Green Fire Publishing, LLC

Skip Whitson

Managing Editor Seth Roffman Art Director

Anna C. Hansen Dakini Design Copy Editor Stephen Klinger

PUBLISHER’S ASSISTANTs Barbara E. Brown, Karen Shepherd, Camille, John Black

Contributing Writers

Juan Estévan Arellano, Camilla Bustamante, Faren Dancer, Mary Emery, Richard Fagerlund, Steve Fuhlendorf, Jorge García, Kathleen González, Susan Guyette, Craig O’Hare, Seth Roffman, Erin Sanborn, Miguel Santistévan, Brian Skeele, Amanita Thorp, David Thorp, Susan Waterman, Daniel Weinman

Contributing Photographers

Juan Estévan Arellano, Jorge García, Susan Guyette, Anna C. Hansen, Seth Roffman, Miguel Santistévan, Amanita Thorpe, David Thorpe, Susan Waterman

Advertising Sales

Skip Whitson 505.471.5177 John Black 505.920.0359 Cynthia Canyon 505.470.6442 Jack King 505.884.4497


Winner of The 2010 Sustainable Santa Fe Award for Outstanding Educational Project

Contents Northern NM’s Solar Energy Future . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 5 My Solar Story… What’s Yours Going to Be? . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 5 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Homes and Businesses . . .. . .. . .. . . 7 Energy Efficient Buildings’ Benefits . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 7 Environmental Audit for Small Businesses and Community Centers . . .. . .. . .. . . 8 Solar Newsbites . . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 9 2012 and Beyond: Sustainable Systems and the Predicament of Water in NM . . .. .13 Fresh AIRE: Growing Season 2012 . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 14 ¡Sostenga! Where Tradition Meets Sustainability - Eremita Campos . . .. . .. . .. . 17 Del Are Llano: The Moorish Influence in New Mexico Agriculture . . .. . .. . .. . 19 Goatscaping: Going Green by Going Goats . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 20 Homegrown Medicinal Herbs . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .22 Everyday Green: Eating Herbs for Health. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 23 A Visit to the Farmers’ Market to Learn about the Farm Bill . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .25 Ask the Bugman: Control Pests without Toxic Pesticides . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 29 The Center for Innovation and Sustainability . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 33 Faren Dancer’s Unicopia Green: The Cultural Reemergence of Democracy. . .. . .. 35 What’s Going On . . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .38

Barbara Brown, Co-op Dist. Sves., Nick García, Andy Otterstrom (Creative Couriers), Tony Rapatz, Wuilmer Rivera, Skip Whitson, John Woodie Webmaster: Karen Shepherd Office Assistants Claire Ayraud, Sally Calvin

Circulation 22,000 copies

Printed locally with 100% soy ink on 100% recycled, chlorine-free paper

c/o The Sun Companies PO Box 5588 Santa Fe, NM 87502-5588 Ph: 505.471.5177 Fax: 505.473.4458 © 2012 Green Fire Publishing, LLC Green Fire Times provides useful information for anyone: community members, business people, students, visitors—interested in discovering the wealth of opportunities and resources available in our region. Knowledgeable writers provide articles on subjects ranging from green businesses, products, services, entrepreneurship, jobs, design, building, energy and investing—to sustainable agriculture, arts & culture, ecotourism, education, regional food, water, the healing arts, local heroes, native perspectives, natural resources, recycling, transportation and more. Sun Companies publications seek to provide our readers with informative articles that support a more sustainable planet. To our publisher this means maximizing personal as well as environmental health by minimizing consumption of meat and alcohol. GFT is widely distributed throughout northcentral New Mexico. Feedback, announcements, event listings, advertising and article submissions to be considered for publication are welcome.

© Anna C. Hansen

Green Fire Times

A Visit to the Farmers’ Market to Learn about the Farm Bill, see story, page 25

C  OVER: Eremita Campos of Embudo — On May 12, Northern New Mexico College will award her an honorary degree for her lifelong work in the conservation of sustainable agriculture in northern New Mexico. See story, page 17 Photo: © Seth Roffman

Green Fire Times is not to be confused with the Green Fire Report, an in-house quarterly publication of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The NMELC can be accessed online at:

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


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Green Fire Times • May 2012

Sustainable Enterprises

Northern NM’s Solar Energy Future

Community Solar Projects and Scenario Planning Erin Sanborn, Steve Fuhlendorf and Mary Emery


ow our renewable energy future will unfold is unknown. Changes in this industry are multiple, occurring rapidly, and outside forces can shift the industry in a very short time frame. In order to move toward a clean energy future, a business must be able to see different systems and causal relationships plus constantly think outside the box. Given today’s business conditions, one scenario is to utilize the willingness of many, many people to participate in solar energy development and marry it to New Mexico’s underutilized solar potential. One model is for community solar arrays or community shared solar. In the northern region of New Mexico, specifically Taos County, Kit Carson Electric Coop (KCEC) has developed different scenarios and plans of action towards a renewable energy future. Community shared solar, or what KCEC calls “community solar projects,” is spreading across the country. Many environmentally minded residents of this eclectic community would like to take advantage of the

abundant sunlight (more than 300 days/year) to power their homes. To do so requires not only a large monetary investment, but also a large, open location to install a solar array. This dilemma has been solved through the community solar concept. Rather than individual homeowners installing rooftop solar, KCEC has created a means for members to buy panels or shares of panels that are added to grid-tied community solar arrays. The homeowner is actually purchasing a share of the array, which is treated the same as residential solar in terms of available tax incentives, without the additional cost of installation and long-term maintenance. It is a way to take advantage of the many benefits of solar power without having to install and maintain a residential system. Depending on the price of the panels, which is influenced by several factors, they will pay for themselves in as little as five years. From that point on the panels become an investment paying dividends on each electric bill. The panels, installed at solar arrays

Taos High School carport

throughout the community, are maintained by KCEC and are real property that can be sold or bequeathed by the owners. With the life of panels being about 25 to 30 years, the long-term savings make for a tremendous return on investment. This plan works within the current state-mandated standard that KCEC must meet in terms of renewable energy development. The model is brilliant. A current example where community residents can invest in a community solar project is the Foothills Com-

munity Solar Array at Taos Charter School. The school is hosting an array of approximately 100KW or a 500 panel solar array. It is due to be completed in June. Final cost of the panels or shares in the array will be somewhere between $500-$600. The construction contract has been awarded to Mark Johnson of Sol Luna Solar. The best part of this project is that the panels are available to be purchased by the public.  People who buy panels will receive renewable energy tax credits—30 percent from the federal continued on page


My Solar Story…What’s Yours Going to Be?

Daniel Weinman


he evolution of solar power has come a long way since my family began utilizing it in 1979, when the technologies were in their infancy and the only demand for solar power grew from necessity rather than from its “green” benefits. In 2010, New Mexico ranked seventh in the nation among states for its number of grid-tie solar installations, and the industry is one of the fastest growing in the country. During President Carter’s administration, the solar power boom was largely unregulated. A lot of unskilled handymen came out of the woodwork to install solar electric and thermal systems on homes. They would collect their money, which was largely subsidized by the government, and disappear, leaving behind inadequate systems and dissatisfied solar consumers.

In 1979, my father, Michael Weinman, an electrical engineer, wanted to bring electricity to people who were living beyond the power grid. Our family was living in the mountains of northern New Mexico when my father began to install solar for surrounding homes, including our own. The first time I saw an electric light in my home, it was being powered by a solar electric system my father installed. At the time, it was primarily the hippies who were interested in the benefits of solar power, but there were also movie stars, radio stations and even whole communities who saw that solar could meet their needs. The terms “eco,” “green” and “carbon footprint” didn’t even exist. The main drive for these people to seek solar electricity was its ability to give them electric lighting in

remote areas so they wouldn’t have to rely on messy kerosene lanterns. These are the origins of PPC Solar. Back then the technology we currently have to support solar was not available. There were no charge controllers or efficient inverters, so my father created his own devices. He constructed charge controllers and voltage regulators. They were key components to ensure that the batteries did not get overcharged. Aside from my father, there were other pioneers in New Mexico leading the industry into the future, such as Windy Dankoff, a friend of my father’s, who developed his own line of direct-current pumps to run without Daniel Weinman (front) with his brother and the use of inverters. Sandia National mother in the 1970s at Lama Foundation

continued on page

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Solar Energy Future continued from page 5

government and 10 percent from the state—the full amount allowed under current legislation. When you buy a panel, the energy produced will be credited to your electric bill, anywhere within the KCEC system. The Taos Charter School has negotiated its electric bill in exchange for leasing its property over 20 years, which will provide an energy cost savings, flexibility in the school’s budget and an environmental learning experience for students, all while helping improve our planet.  Community Solar Projects are innovative and creative models in the current renewable energy environment of New Mexico. In today’s world, more and more of our experiences are nonlinear, such as weather patterns, new inventions, reversal of legislative gains, or new innovation. Consider how this business sector and model would change if:

• The cost of oil and gas skyrocketed because of war, environmental catastrophe or new innovation and an energy supply shortage ensued; • The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in NM was increased or decreased; • Renewable Energy Credits were eliminated. Or increased. Or if new incentives were introduced; • A new solar energy innovation comes on the market. What if panels were lightweight? Of if the cost of a solar panel decreased to $50 per panel; • Large amounts of local investment dollars come into our communities and neighborhoods strove to become energy self-sufficient; • Current business conditions remain


Green Fire Times • May 2012

the same: price of oil and gas, price of panels, renewable energy portfolio percentages, federal subsidies for oil and gas and renewable tax credits, etc.

It is likely that within the next few years, one of these unforeseen aspects will catch us by surprise. For those who are working in the renewable energy industry, may I suggest you consider using Scenario Planning from your business toolbox. Most businesses use some form of Strategic Planning. Strategic Planning is linear and is very important. It helps businesses go from point A to points B & C, with defined steps and measures of success. Scenario Planning may be a useful business tool to ensure long-term success. It may become imperative to be able to “turn on a dime,” shift your business strategies and develop new models, especially if one of the factors above alters the business environment for renewable energy. New Mexico’s clean energy future may depend on it. Meanwhile, Taos County will strive to live up to the name that Brad Hockmeyer of KTAO Solar Radio 101.9, coined years ago, Taos: The Solar Capital of the World. y For more information on Scenario Planning, contact Erin Sanborn at 575.770.2991 or erin@ For more information on community solar arrays, or to purchase panels, contact Steve Fuhlendorf, Kit Carson Electric Coop, at 575.758.2258, ext. 143, or sfuhlendorf@ To learn more about the Taos Charter School’s array, contact Mary Emery, Coordinator for the Taos Charter School. She is at 575.770.8382 or memery1043@gmail. com.


Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Makes $ense for Homes and Businesses

Craig O’Hare


anta Fe County established the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the spring of 2011. The Office promotes deployment of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies in county facilities and operations and in the residential and commercial sectors to promote “green economy” job creation and economic development. Our public outreach,

clean energy jobs. Money saved through energy efficiency stays in the local economy and contributes to overall (not just clean-energy-related) job creation.

Many citizens and business owners are unaware that solar photovoltaic systems cost about half of what they did just a few years ago. A 3-kilowatt (kW) system, a fairly robust size for a mediumsized home, might have Reduce your electric and heating bills at your cost $30,000 or home or business with energy efficiency. more five years Go solar. Solar has never been so affordable. ago. Today, that system will Act now before the incentives expire. cost between $15,000 and education and technical assistance ser$20,000, depending on your roof condivices are available to all county residents tions and the type of system you choose. and businesses, including those located And that’s before receiving a 30% federwithin the city limits of Santa Fe, Edgeal and 10% state income tax credit! Your wood and Española. Encouraging the net cost for a 3 kW system may end adoption of cost-effective energy-effiup being between $9,000 and $12,000. ciency measures by businesses and homeIn addition, PNM still has incentives owners will decrease energy utility ex(though they are decreasing rapidly) to penditures, while creating locally sourced

pay you for the power produced from your system.

HUD’s 203K Home Improvement Loans for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Buying a home or refinancing your existing home? Use a low-interest HUD 203K loan to fund energy efficiency and solar power improvements! Most energy improvements can pay for themselves immediately. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides loan guarantees to mortgage lenders for home purchases and refinancing. An exciting FHA loan offering is the “203K” loan that allows substantive upgrades to be made to the home, the cost of which can be included in the usual 30-year mortgage. This program is not limited to just low- or even moderate-income citizens. There are no income limits on obtaining a 203K loan. The only limit is on the amount of the loan, which is de-

Basic weatherization measures can eliminate heat loss problems.

termined by region by FHA. In Santa Fe County, the current loan limit (to fund either the purchase or refinancing of the home and the cost of the improvements) is approximately $425,000. All sorts of improvements to the home can be funded with a 203K loan: a new roof, painting, kitchen and bath remodels, energy efficiency renovations (e.g. new windows, blowing insulation in the walls, attic sealing and insulation, a new efficient furnace, etc.) and solar power systems (roof-top solar electric systems, solar thermal water heating or space continued on page


Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save New Mexican Families $309 Annually


amilies in New Mexico could save $309 every year on their electricity bills by 2030 if the government invests in improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, according to a report released last month by Environment New Mexico, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.

Using government data, the report, Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency, says that saving energy in buildings would also reduce global warming pollution from buildings by 31 percent—the equivalent of taking more than 657,000 cars off the road. “It’s time to build better,” said Sanders Moore, Environment NM’s director. “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses by almost a quarter by 2030. The best part is that these measures pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year.”

Environment NM is calling for policies that will help reach efficiency goals, including: • Steady improvements to building codes over time so that all new buildings are increasingly efficient, culminating in a zero net energy standard by 2030, when new buildings should be so efficient that they can produce all the energy they need on site using renewable energy such as wind and solar. • Investing in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings 30 percent by 2030. • Supporting innovative financing mechanisms that will unleash public and private investment in building efficiency.

Right now, 40 percent of the energy used in America goes to heat, cool and power buildings. And because much of this energy comes from sources such as coal, oil and natural gas, this accounts for nearly half of the pollution contributing to global warming in the country. Furthermore, much of this energy is wasted, flying out of leaky doors and windows. This level of energy consumption pumps billions of tons of emissions into the atmosphere and costs Americans nearly $400 billion every year, the report says.

As documented in the report, successful efficiency programs and incentives at the federal, state and local levels are already paying off. For example, Silver Gardens, a mixed-income, award-winning apartment building in downtown Albuquerque, is helping tenants maintain low electric bills by reducing overall energy use by a minimum of 27 percent over conventionally constructed buildings. Shelly Capone with Romero-Rose, the developer and owner of Silver Gardens, noted that they are “very proud to have produced a high energy-efficient, mixed-income apartment complex on a former brownfield site in downtown Albuquerque.”

Gary Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Goodman Realty and owner of Albuquerque’s Hotel Andaluz said, “Energy efficiency is a ‘win-win’ proposition. There is a good payback on the investment, we promote our local economy, conserve resources and reduce pollution. In addition, there is a very real opportunity to make Albuquerque and NM a national leader in the field of resource management.”

“There are already thousands of super-efficient buildings all around the country. The Silver Gardens apartment building and Hotel Andaluz are two examples right here in downtown Albuquerque,” said Moore. “Most buildings last for decades, so investing in energy efficiency locks in savings for years to come and builds a strong foundation for the future of our environment and our economy.” y

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


Environmental Audit for Small Businesses and Community Centers A Simple Environmental Audit to Measure Your Progress in Integrating Earth-Wiser Lifestyle Habits


nyone can conduct an environmental audit of your business or community center. First, choose an audit team. Your team can be made up of members of your leadership, your environmental committee, or any group of people from your organization who will take some time to do it. To conduct your audit, the audit team should review your organization’s procedures, and answer each of the following questions “Yes” or “No.”

Part A. Energy (electricity and gas):

1. Do you know how much electricity and natural gas you use? 2. Do you keep your thermostat at 68 or lower in the winter? At 78 or higher in the summer? 3. Do you turn off lights, heat, fans and air conditioning when the building is not in use? Do you turn off all possible appliances (including computers, copiers, media centers, battery chargers) when they are not in use? 4. Has proper insulation been provided in buildings? Has caulking been applied around windows? 5. For summer heat, do you use shades, cross-ventilation, attic vent fans, and other simple cooling devices? 6. Do you use energy-saving light bulbs? 7. Do you use clean and renewable energy sources? If your power company offers a “green power” program for renewably sourced power, have you subscribed? 8. As you replace products and appliances, are you making “power-down” (energy free) selections?

Part B. Water:

9. Do you know how much water you use?


10. Do you practice water conservation all the time, not just when drought restrictions require it? 11. Have you installed low-flow aerators on all taps? High-efficiency toilets? 12. Have you had your water checked for lead content and other pollutants? 13.  Do you serve filtered tap water, rather than bottled water, at meetings and events? 14.  Have you matched landscaping plants to your climate? Have you eliminated unused lawn areas? 15. If you use landscaping irrigation, is it efficient in water use (drip, soaker, climate-controlled timer)? 16. Do you collect rainwater (with rainwater barrels or with appropriate grading) for watering landscape areas?

Part C. Air pollution:

17.  Have you declared your site a smoke-free zone? 18. Have you had your air checked for asbestos, radon and other pollutants? 19. Is a push-mower used on any remaining lawn areas? Have you eliminated leaf-blowers?

Part D. Cleaning:

20.  Do you use low-impact cleaners such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice? 21. Do you use organic techniques rather than chemical pesticides? 22. Do you avoid the use of toxic products (batteries, cleaning supplies, paint) whenever possible?

Part E. Solid waste:

23.  Do you recycle? Paper and cardboard? Glass? Aluminum? Plastic? 24. Is the number of document copies you make consistent with need so that waste is minimized? Do you use paper efficiently by using both sides?

Green Fire Times • May 2012

25. Do you buy products (such as copier paper, toilet paper) made from recycled material? Do you try to eliminate unnecessary packaging? 26. Do you use reusable items (such as china, plasticware, mugs, silverware, cloth dish towels, cloth napkins) at meetings, dinners, coffee hours, and other functions? 27. Is the amount of food served consistent with need so that waste is minimized? 28. Do you use a compost bin for your yard waste, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds? 29. Have you contacted mail preference services and catalogs with a notice to remove your organization’s name from their mailing list? 30.  Do you “unshop” by buying only things that you really need? Do you make it a practice to buy products that can be reused or repaired? Do you discard goods and products only after their useful life is over? 31.  Do you dispose of toxic products (like batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, old chemicals) through proper means, as designated by your local government?

Part F. Landscaping:

32. If your building has large surrounding grounds, is part of your land used as a wildlife sanctuary, with native trees, shrubs and ground cover chosen to provide food and shelter for birds and small mammals and to reduce the need for water and fertilizer? If your building has small surrounding grounds, do you have wildflower patches or small areas dedicated to preserving the natural environment? 33. Do you use organic methods rather

than chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers? 34.  Have you planted trees to shade buildings and reduce energy costs? 35.  Have you devoted any portion of your grounds to edible landscaping, to grow locally-sourced food?

Part G. Travel:

36.  Does your parking lot offer bike racks? 37. Are group members encouraged to carpool,use mass transit,and to walk or bike whenever possible? 38. Do you keep resource conservation— such as traveling miles—in mind when selecting and planning activities? Do you avoid air flights, particularly “short hop” flights under 500 miles?

Part H. Activities:

39. Do you discuss the needs of the environment throughout the year? 40. Do you sponsor programs on the environment? Joint environmental activities with other organizations? Do you support environmental organizations and activities in your area?


Total number of questions answered “Yes”: _____ Total number of questions answered “No”: ____ Each question that was answered “Yes” indicates that you are doing your part to uphold our commitment to the Earth. Now the audit team should work to build a plan to attack the ones that were checked “No.” And— save this audit and try it again in one year. See how much your score has improved by then. y Source: Environmental Change-Making: How to Cultivate Lasting Change in Your Community (


Utility & Commercial Demand for Solar Is Up in NM

New Mexico Business Weekly reports that NM’s solar manufacturing companies are showing substantial growth in utility- and commercial-scale projects. Native American-owned, Albuquerque-based Sacred Power Corp. installs solar systems at, among other places, military installations and on tribal lands. The company has forecast double-digit expansion. Unirac, Inc., which makes mounting platforms for solar trackers, is projecting an 80 percent revenue increase, and is considering a second expansion of its Albuquerque facility. Part of the reason for the companies’ growth is attributed to price declines for large solar systems. Costs have fallen from about $5 per megawatt hour of installed capacity five years ago to less than $2.50 today. A 30 percent federal tax incentive has also helped. A significant drop in PNM’s solar incentives has helped precipitate increased competition among local installation firms. A number of NM solar firms, such as Unirac and Array Technologies, also sell in national and international markets, and have been able to operate in areas where there is strong residential demand.

Solar Array Coming to Navajo Land

The Diné (Navajo) community of To’Hajiilee has signed an agreement with SunPower to develop a 30-megawatt photovoltaic array on 200 acres west of Albuquerque. The Shandiin Solar project, one of 19 renewable energy initiatives funded as part of the US Dept. of Energy’s Tribal Energy Program, will be the largest photovoltaic power plant on tribal land in the US. Some historic sites are to be protected, and grazing will be allowed to continue in the area.

When a power purchase agreement is signed, construction on the $124 million project could be completed within nine months. Utilities, municipalities and the federal government are considering purchasing the electricity. The Navajo Nation is considering developing up to 4,000 megawatts of solar power.

Chalom Receives Pioneer Award

Santa Fe architect Mark Chalom has been honored by the American Solar Energy Society with a Passive Pioneer Award for innovation in passive solar design. For decades Chalom has researched, designed and built solar homes that can be heated and cooled without highly energy-dependent systems. Through proper site orientation and strategically selected materials, Chalom’s homes absorb heat during the day and release it at night. Chalom worked with William Lumpkin, Peter Van Dresser and others who pioneered passive solar in the ‘70s, when NM was in the forefront of the movement. When tax credits were rescinded and, for a time, energy prices were low, homebuilders lost interest in passive solar as more high-tech options became available. In the meantime, Chalom and passive solar devotees have continued to perfect the efficiency and the aethethics of their designs, some of which are complete systems that include water harvesting, solar cookers and water heaters, recycled effluent and self-generated energy. Chalom has challenged some widely accepted elements of contemporary green building, such as HERS (Home Energy Rating System), which, he says, fails to adequately value the heat retention properties of adobe and other natural materials, and doesn’t give enough credit for the energy efficiency of passive solar designs.

Largest Solar Array in New Mexico

A 1.5-megawatt (MW) solar array, to be completed this month, will provide electricity for 30,000 homes and businesses in north-central NM. The 14-acre array will add to power already being generated from a concentrated photovoltaic 1-MW array near Questa, NM. The new project, called RCCLA Amalia Solar Array 1, is expected to power about 376 homes each year. RCCLA stands for Río Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association, a group of ranchers who allowed the array to be built on their land, and partnered with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Standard Solar, and Washington Gas Energy Systems on the project. Paradise Power Co. of Taos is the project manager.

The single axis tracking system uses 5,280 solar panels. When completed, the array will cover an area larger than 15.5 football fields, making it the largest area of land with the largest number of power consumers in NM to be supplied with electricity by renewable sources. The facility will offset about 1,500 tons of greenhouse gasses, equivalent to planting 221 acres of forest, according to a news release.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


June 2-15, 2012

My Solar Story continued from page 5 This means you can borrow money to pay for a solar electric system and pay the same, or often times less, per month to produce your own energy rather than having to buy it from your utility company. But the utilities are also investing in solar power so that they can offer consumers energy from clean, renewable sources. In fact, utilities are now required under state law to obtain a certain percentage of their energy from Daniel Weinman at KTAO’s array on Picuris Peak renewable sources, such as solar and wind. As a result, there are Laboratories has also had a big role in utility power plants that utilize hundreds solar technological advances for the of acres of solar as well as utility-owned industry. They research and develop distributed generation feeding directly solar power, including photovoltato communities. With this comes a less ics and concentrating solar power, to strained and more reliable grid and also a strengthen the U.S. solar industry and stronger localized energy economy. improve the manufacturability, reliIt seems that solar energy has come full ability and cost competitiveness of socircle. Now that solar is becoming more lar energy technologies and systems. widely embraced, people are asking, As modern technology evolved “How can I get this?” instead of saying, through the years, the solar industry “That hippie stuff doesn’t work.” We owe did not get left behind. We now have it to the solar pioneers who believed in state-of-the-art maximum power the future of renewable energy and put point tracking charge controllers and their efforts into the evolution of soinverters that can maximize every litlar technology. This is my solar story… tle bit of energy from each solar cell. what’s yours going With this technology, solar electric to be? y systems have become more reliable, Daniel Weinman is more efficient and more cost-effective. CEO of PPC Solar Today, we see as many people living in Taos, NM, which with solar electricity on Main Street has been “Powering the Future since 1979.” as those living off the grid. It seems 575.737.5896, www. as though everybody has their eye on solar now—homeowners, businesses and even the utilities. Local rural elecPPC Solar Expanding tric co-ops, like Kit Carson Electric in Services into Taos, utilize solar electricity to meet Colorado Springs their state-mandated renewable portfolio standards (RPS). State and local Paradise Power Company/PPC Solar has announced that the company governments are also getting into the is opening a new full-service branch game, as demonstrated by a joint projin Colorado, in Colorado Springs. ect of Santa Fe County and the city of The existing office in Taos, NM will Santa Fe to power the Buckman Diremain the company’s headquarters. rect Diversion Water Plant, a massive Since its inception in 1979, PPC fresh water treatment facility, with a Solar has been on a mission to bring 1.2 megawatt solar system. renewable energy to help build

Chimney Cleaning, Woodstove RepaiR and installation, insuRanCe inspeCtions, peaCe of mind 10

Green Fire Times • May 2012

Now that solar electricity is becoming mainstream and cost-effective, it offers people the opportunity to control their energy costs and invest in their own energy futures. It is easier than ever for homeowners to capitalize on these opportunities with the availability of low-interest, flexible-term loans.

more sustainable communities. “We are opening the new branch that will make solar services more accessible to more people, and help catalyze small business growth, create new jobs and contribute to the overall economic health of the community,” said Daniel Weinman, PPC Solar’s president and CEO.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times




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Green Fire Times • May 2012

Renewable Energy heating systems, etc.). Even improvements to a groundwater well can be accomplished. 203K loans cannot be used for new homes (homes must be at least one year old) or to increase the “footprint” of the home (i.e., room additions).

Because energy efficiency improvements and/or solar systems reduce your monthly electricity, natural gas and/or propane expenditures, it’s possible that the small increase they add to your mortgage payment will be more than offset by the reduction to your energy expenditures. That means you’re immediately better off financially. This is possible because the 203K loan allows you to both: 1) take advantage of mortgage interest rates (e.g., 4.5%) that are a lot lower than the interest rate associated with taking out a personal loan (possibly 7-8%), and 2) spread the costs of the improvements over the 30-year term of the mortgage, rather than just the 8-15 years of other loans. Both of these loan benefits, combined, result in a much lower monthly loan payment than would be possible with more traditional loans available. So, it’s possible that while a combination of appropriately selected energy efficiency and solar power upgrades may increase your monthly mortgage payments by $30-40 per month, your monthly energy utility bills may decrease by $50-80 per month! Furthermore, as with kitchen and bathroom remodels, market experience confirms that clean energy improvements are later reflected in a higher sales price for your home—creating a secondary investment benefit. If this opportunity is of interest to you and you’re buying an existing home, be sure to let your realtor know that you’re interested in doing upgrades to the home you’re going to purchase using the FHA 203K loan option. If you’re refinancing your existing home and are interested in doing improvements to your home, be sure the mortgage lender you use does HUD/FHA 203K loans. Only certain lenders do FHA lending and, of those, only some of them do 203K loans. Hopefully, more HUD 203K loan lenders will enter the market as consumer demand increases for this great opportunity.

Homewise Energy Improvements Loans

Homewise, a private non-profit organization, is a full-service agency promot-

continued from page 7

ing affordable homeownership through financing home purchases and home improvements and providing financial counseling and classes. Unlike the FHA 203K loan, Homewise focuses its offerings on low and moderate-income families. For home improvements, interest rates are low (approximately 4-6%) and can be financed over as long as a 30 year period—keeping the monthly loan payments as low as possible. If your annual household income is under $103,050, Homewise may be able to help you finance energy-efficiency and water conservation improvements, routine maintenance and emergency repairs. Be sure to check directly with Homewise regarding their current program offerings, interest rates, and income limits! www., 505.983.WISE (9473). Repairs that qualify for Homewise financing include: roof repair or replacement, stucco, Energy Star® windows and doors, high efficiency furnaces and A/C, solar hot water, solar PV, insulation, water catchment and drip irrigation systems and disability modifications. Speakers Bureau: The county’s Energy Specialists are available to your neighborhood or homeowner’s association, business or industry group and to other events and forums to present helpful information about cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities. Feel free to call or e-mail us if you’re interested. Also, see our website for helpful links. y Craig O’Hare is the Energy Programs S pe c i a l i s t w i t h S a n ta Fe C o u n t y. 505.992.3044,,

Renewable Energy Efficiency Forums

Santa Fe County is conducting two free energy assistance forums. On May 3rd, the Residential Forum will focus on energy efficiency and RE incentives and financing for homeowners. On May 7th, the Commercial Forum will focus on cost-effective energy-related improvements for businesses. Both begin at 6 pm at County Commission Chambers, 102 Grant Ave. After a Q&A, RE (solar electric, solar hot water, ground-source heat pumps, etc.) and energy efficiency businesses will discuss their services and options. At the Commercial Forum, PNM will provide an overview of the substantial energy efficiency rebates available. For more info, visit

Water Scarcity

2012 And Beyond

Sustainable Systems, the Predicament of Water in New Mexico, and the Need to Localize Our Local Economies Jorge García


ecently I had an opportunity to fly over Las Vegas, Nevada. As I looked down at the northeast part of the city, I was dumbfounded at the sight of all the suburban houses that have a pool. This was in sharp contrast to the land beyond the surrounding mountains that provide shelter to Las Vegas Valley. I found myself thinking about the water crisis looming beyond those mountains, and how we continue to challenge and upset local ecosystems based on our often irresponsible notions of development. And so I found myself questioning the rationale behind having so many houses with pools and whether these houses belong in the sort of fragile ecosystem landscape in which Las Vegas and many other Southwestern cities have grown.

Why do we fail to take steps toward securing a future in which water can be a source of vitality rather than a source of conflict and possible social unrest?

chain due to the scarcity of water or to any other catastrophe that stopped us from receiving food from neighboring states? It was not a sense of hopelessness and pessimism that evoked this question, but rather an honest quest for understanding how development is viewed in our society and why there is a continuing struggle to keep our water systems from being taken to support new developments. Of course in our market society, demand rules; and so as long as there are eager and able buyers on one hand, and willing and needy sellers on the other, water will continue to be moved from one geographic location to another. The result is that we will witness more and more agricultural land being put to rest because water rights will continue to be transferred to satisfy new housing developments, industrial uses and indiscriminate pumping by municipalities. There are some voices warning us that unless we seriously think about future water scarcity, between the years 2030 and 2080, our future generations will

Preparing the land for planting in the Atrisco Valley

experience a major crisis due to the lack of water and the inability to grow enough food locally. According to a study released by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico2, the Middle Río Grande region experienced demographic growth of 53 percent from 1990 to 2000. Precipitation, on the other hand, is projected to fall 40 percent from present levels, and so the question is, where are we going to get

water to satisfy compact agreements, continue building computer chips, accommodate new development and grow food? The projections made by professors Hurd and Coonrod show that between the years 2030 and 2080, New Mexico will grow between 45.7 percent and 75.7 percent. So as population increases, the whole region will experience a drought that will have to be dealt with somehow. continued on page


As I reflected about water and our own struggle to maintain water in the Atrisco Valley in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I remembered Dr. Brian H. Hurd and Dr. Coonrod’s study on climate change and its effects on development, agriculture and populations in NM.1 Their premise is that “NM’s social, economic and environmental systems are highly vulnerable to the increasing water scarcity that is projected to affect the state as a result of future climate change.” When I read this, I could not stop thinking about how in NM, our food security depends both on a fragile ecosystem and on imports of food from other areas of the country and other countries. What would happen if we lost our ability to produce food here and there was a breakdown in the food

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Growing Season 2012

Miguel Santistévan


his growing season is already progressing with activity, hope and enthusiasm for what is to come. From our grow-dome at Chrysalis High School in Taos, last month we harvested our first batch of greens for salad and sauté. Our students have been surprised at how good fresh greens taste, and have amazed themselves with their ability to thin and transplant seedlings. While our outer beds explode in greenery, we are working to double our production area through the construction of the center beds for fruit and vegetables, in addition to specialty crops like cotton and gourds. We will also have a couple of trees to create an upper story canopy within the dome.

As we try our hand at creating sustainable agriculture for the future, we must relearn the best practices of the past. Cleaning acequias is a fundamental event in the growing season, and this year our students were able to get some hands-on experience with our local Acequia Madre del Sur. Most had already cleaned acequias, and thought our acequia was easier to clean because it is mostly an earthen bed, as opposed to others that have more rocks. They talked about the process of clearing jaras, or willows, from the banks and bed of the acequia. A couple of students noted that one of their acequias seems to travel uphill; they start in the canyon and end up at the top of the mesa. At the time of this acequia cleaning, we were lucky to have a group visiting from the University of California, Santa Cruz that came to learn about regional agriculture. These college students had the opportunity to interact with our students for some cross-cultural exchange while they helped clean a lateral of our Acequia Madre and share a meal afterwards.


Our most exciting project is the Parr Field Garden Project. The President of our Board, Jason Weisfeld, a 5thgrade teacher at Enos Garcia Elementary School, was able to get authorization to establish a vegetable garden at the school, which is located near the farmers’ market and Taos Plaza. It is such a large field that we were able to use a 100-X-60-foot corner to put in a garden for the benefit of the students and families of the Taos schools. The project will provide agricultural experience and the potential to directly supply food for the school lunch program. AIRE has partnered with local nonprofit Tierra Lucero ( to prepare the soil, install a drip irrigation system and implement greenhouse production, raised beds and a milpa of native sweet corn, local purple “green” beans and native squash. Tierra Lucero calls this combination of strategies a “production unit.” It is intended to be able to provide the food needs for 10 families for a year if optimized. We have access to a certified kitchen at Chrysalis High School that can be used to process our produce for the school’s lunch program or to provide opportunities for the students to market their produce. We will also be providing produce to the families of our student participants at a fall harvest celebration. Our site, complete with an horno recently funded by the McCune Foundation, will be used to process sweet corn into chicos, an iconic food of our regional culture. The McCune Foundation has also provided funds for 10 student interns to work at Parr Field and Sol Feliz Farm this year. We have a threeyear agreement with Tierra Lucero to develop the project. And, as we’re just not able to turn interested students away, we have hired 16 interns known as sembradores, or “planters of the land,” and we are looking into aspects of our project that could generate funds to cover their additional stipends.

Green Fire Times • May 2012

The Parr Field Garden Project has the potential to be irrigated by a lateral of the Acequia del Pueblo, which has been all but paved over in the last generation or so. It used to run through the Historic District. I have been appointed to the Town of Taos Acequia Preservation Task Force and have participated in a mapping and planning process to identify the acequias in the district for restoration. Where the Parr Field Garden Top: Chrysalis Students cleaning the La Finca lateral of the Acequia Madre del Sur. Bottom: Students from Chyrsalis High School Project will initial- in Taos with visitors from University of California-Santa Cruz ly be drip-irrigated, a successful collaboration among Given the positive experience with all of these parties may result in the our white corn harvest in 2011, when field being irrigated with water from acequia waters went dry at the end the Acequia del Pueblo in the future. of June, we look forward to another year of crop survival and adaptation, Our ongoing projects at Sol Feeven though there might be some liz Farm are also progressing nicely. challenges ahead. We have planted six rows of alberjon (peas) and habas (fava beans) for We are moving onto two new plots of seed propagation, food and research. land at Sol Feliz this year. On all of our In evolving our cropping strategy, we fields we will be employing the milpa are reorienting our irrigation rows to system (corn, beans, and squash). In run along the contour for maximum years past we preferred to have differwater infiltration. We used an “Aent plots for each crop; for example, frame” or “water level” to find the level four rows of corn next to four rows of the land. Given last year’s experiof beans next to a couple of rows of ence with drought, we are spacing our squash. We will be intercropping all rows and the crops therein to provide of the crops and creating more space a better opportunity for survival if dry between the plants. Where we used to conditions persist. We are grateful space our plants about 1.5-to-2 feet for acequia waters, but are reminded in rows about three feet apart, we are of the age-old dryland agricultural now planting our corn about three techniques that were common to this feet apart, interspaced with beans in region before the arrival of the acerows approximately five feet apart. In quia tradition. The acequia tradition is about every 150 to 200 square feet will also complete with dryland agricultural be a mound of squash. It is important techniques called secano or al temporal. to note that we will be planting about

three seeds in every hole and not thinning any of them out. We are taking our inspiration for our milpas from the books Zapotec Science by Roberto J. González and Believe in the Corn by Robert Mirabal. Where a conventional gardener/farmer might see this as an inefficient use of garden space, given the spacing between rows and plants, it is actually a less intensive use of the soil that allows crops to work together while they develop strength in finding their own soil nutrients and water. In addition, there is a concept in agricultural analysis called the Land Equivalency Ratio that compares the total yields of crops planted in monoculture with intercropped strategies. It has been found that when planted together, maize and the crops mixed therein (beans and squash) can produce as much as 40-50 percent more than when they are planted in plots by themselves. The challenge with the milpa system, however, is that it requires more intimate human management than can be afforded with contemporary conventional/industrial agricultural techniques. This is not a problem for us in

that we prefer to be intimate with our crops, do most of our management by hand and get to know our rows’ and our crops’ individual characteristics. As we begin the 2012 growing season, we are reminded of the challenges of the past while we anticipate the unknown of the future, especially with regard to climate change. As we study the agricultural successes of our predecessors in the region, it is clear that dryland techniques of the Native Americans and acequia culture were important in creating food security for the community. Part of this success must have also been attributed to diverse cropping styles as seen in the milpa system. As we try our hand at creating sustainable agriculture for the future, we must relearn the best practices of the past. y Miguel Santistévan, Executive Director of AIRE, is also Chairman of the Acequia Madre del Sur del Río de Don Fer nando de Taos. Email: solfelizfarm@; For more info, visit: or www.

protecting the public interest Endorsed by Sierra Club, Film Union, Nurses Union, Agua Fría Water Association

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Green Fire Times • May 2012

Native Agriculture

¡Sostenga! Eremita Campos O

Where Tradition Meets Sustainability

Camilla Bustamante

© Seth Roffman (2)

n May 12, Northern New Mexico College will award the second honorary degree in the history of the 100-year-old school. The first went to Esther Martínez of the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh for her work towards the preservation of the Tewa language. This year, Eremita Campos is being recognized for her lifelong work and contribution to the conservation of sustainable agriculture in northern New Mexico.

Eremita Campos

In 1990, the US government defined sustainable agriculture in Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1683, as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.” Only in recent decades have some farming traditions of the northern Río Grande been supplanted by the less sustainable practices of some farmers. Eremita Campos has served to pass on not only the sustainable agriculture practices in which her grandchildren now participate, but also the cultural value for such endeavors. Born March 3,1936 in Ojo Sarco, New Mexico to Fidolino and Celia Leyba, Eremita acquired her farming experience early through lessons from her father. Like many subsistence farmers

of the time, Mr. Leyba migrated for regional employment, leaving Eremita, the oldest of four, to cultivate, irrigate and harvest. They eventually moved to Embudo in 1956 after an exchange for land in Ojo Sarco, where Eremita had her first experience selling her produce. One year she stayed home from a dance and made $150 selling peaches, which inspired her to join her parents at the farmers’ markets. Although Eremita was the water hauler in her family, her father believed that it was important for women to be educated, so he sent her to the Western School of Business in Albuquerque, where she earned an associates degree. When Ms. Campos began employment away from home, her daughter Margaret continued to learn the farming tradition from her grandfather. Once she retired after 30 years with the Department of Corrections, Eremita returned to farming fulltime. Margaret then joined her mother in developing their thriving farm in Embudo, known as Comida de Campos (, where they also offer workshops in cooking New Mexican cuisine. In a brief interview with Margaret Campos, I learned about Eremita’s commitment to their sustainable farming. Margaret shared that, like her mother and grandfather before her, it has always been her goal “to teach her children to feed themselves—so they’re not just able to open a can of food; they’re able to grow their food.” Eremita is a significant influence in teaching her grandchildren. Through her father to Margaret, and now directly to her grandchildren, practices learned from earlier generations are passed on, while also exploring new ways of doing things and maintaining core values. Though the Comidas de Campos farm remains chemical-free, they have chosen not be become organically certified due to the cost and the established market demand for their products. Margaret stated that at times they will try new ways of doing things, yet some things stay

consistent. “When you make the furrow, you make it north to south—the little plants get the eastern light in the morning—to irrigate, the water needs to go really slow so it would consumir to the roots. They have tested and integrated variations of cover cropping, sometimes in place of spreading animal manure when the soil calls for it, and drip versus flood. Berries grow better with flood irrigation. “Now we have to grow all winter because we eat all winter,” stated Margaret. She further pointed out that Eremita has a green thumb. “Everything she plants grows. She gets 110 percent germination.” The family managed their small farm and sold at their stand along the road to Taos on Highway 68 until it was vandalized in the 1970s. “We used to take the fruit and veggies across the bridge,” stated Margaret, echoing Eremita describing her father going over the narrow bridge with bushels in earlier years. In 1987 Eremita and Margaret first started growing commercially and selling together at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. “At our peak we would make two to three thousand by 9:30 in the morning,” stated Margaret. “My mom would wear her daisy duke shorts and colored boots—a different color every week. We were a spectacle of variety and abundance,” she said emphatically. “We looked good showing up with 25 varieties of eggplant and 35 varieties of tomatoes, since we always tried different things. Almonds grow well in Embudo, but we lost the tree to a neighbor’s flood in 2006,” she lamented. Margaret Campos was candid about her motives for farming. They make money and preserve water rights, but most importantly they have “created something for the kids to root them back—they have the knowledge; they won’t leave the land,” she said. “Farming is a tradition my grandfather and his grandfather

Footbridge over the Río Grande at the Comidas de Campos farm in Embudo

had, and it wouldn’t be right to not give [it to] the kids.” In the same spirit, Eremita taught her kids how to weave by kerosene lamp—they built a loom and materials to weave. The grandchildren now know how to do it. Eremita’s influence is extensive, and she is generous with her time and knowledge. “Many, many, many people have been helped and taught over the years by my mom,” stated Margaret proudly. At one point one of Eremita’s peer farmers questioned why she was willing to give helpful tips to new farmers, assuming that it would just add to the competition at the farmers’ market. Eremita quickly stated, “We need more farmers, not less…our neighbors have to be eating well too.” Eremita sees the numbers of farmers dwindling and wants to encourage future generations. Her success has been marked both by revenue and by the positive influence she continues to have on new farmers. Still, her greatest success is likely the experience she has working the farm and teaching with her daughter. “I am there for maintenance and support, and making sure she has enough help so she doesn’t get overwhelmed—making sure she has enough seeds to get her job done,” Margaret said. y Camilla Bustamante, P h . D. , M P H , i s Dean of Community Workforce and CTE at Northern New Mexico College.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times

© Anna C. Hansen


2012 and Beyond continued from page 13

It appears likely that dependency on food from other places will continue to dominate the already fragile state of affairs in which New Mexicans live. We currently spend less than 1 percent of all food cash receipts on local food. More than 99 percent of cash spent on food is spent on imported food and food products, and most of the food produced in NM is exported.3 So the question in terms of development is, what development are we actually fostering as a society when our most basic form of subsistence is being grown outside of NM’s borders? How do we resolve this predicament? Before NM became a recognized state, it was a place where people grew food, survived on a bartering system and were highly dependent on the smart use of limited resources. The advent of modernization and the management and control of water by state agencies have complicated our ability to sustain ourselves as a bioregion. The general sense at the community level and with small farmers is that rules and regulations are being used as a pretext to get rid of traditional farmers and ranchers. Some farmers and ranchers feel that the USDA and FDA are trying to squeeze out the mid- and smaller producers. Meanwhile, trying to survive within this chaos is the acequia culture practiced by Indo-Hispanic NM families, which has created a legacy of sustainability through community networks and democratic systems of decision-making and responsibility at the community level. Urban sprawl and industrial development, along with common contemporary notions about development, continue to threaten the existing acequia system in NM as a viable system for water management and a way to preserve smallscale agriculture as an economic asset for our community. In the relatively modern history of New Mexico (1600s to the present), acequias have served as a social system through which community rituals and responsibilities are created. Acequias have also served as management entities that connect and organize entire communities and connect them to their past and future. Acequias carry seed for economic development by facilitating the growth of local organic foods and healthy families. So, if water is in such a predicament here, we have to ask ourselves why we fail to take steps toward securing a future in which it can be a source of vitality rather than a source of conflict and social stress. continued on page


Green Fire Times • May 2012


Native Agriculture

del are llano / From the Arid Land

The Moorish Influence in New Mexico Agriculture


© Juan Estévan Arellano

o understand “traditional” agriculture in northern New Mexico, one has to go back several thousand years, and several continents, from the first spring-fed irrigated gardens at Jericho to the chinampas of the Aztecs in Xochimilco. And we cannot talk about traditional agriculture without exploring the role of the Moors, though on the surface, when trying to find the Indo-Hispano agricultural traditions, many times they are simplistically and erroneously referred to as “Spanish” in origin. But it was the Moors who made the Iberian Peninsula bloom and produce new and exotic fruits and vegetables.

An old style presa (diversion dam) on the Río Embudo is similar to those found in other parts of the world.

What we have in the Río Arriba of New Mexico and southern Colorado is a hybrid system of Old World and New World systems, techniques, fruits, vegetables and animals. New Mexico’s agricultural tradition is a blend of Moorish and Mesoamerican agriculture with a sprinkling of Roman knowledge. We have huertas, a latin concept; hortus, ti, from the verb orior, “about to be born.” That is where the vegetables and fruits are born and raised, but also milpas, a Mesoamerican idea, the place where corn is planted (from the Náhuatl milli, a seed bed, and pa, where, in this case, a “place where corn is sown”). The method of watering a “huerta,” a Roman concept, is by using an acequia, which is Moorish. An almacigo (a place to start plants early, usually inside the house, as my mother did) is also part of the agricultural vocabulary in the Río Arriba, and

it is Arab in origin. Before pounds and ounces, we used fanegas and almudes. The Moorish farmer carried all he needed when it came to measurements—in his body. Pulgada (inch) from the dedo pulga, palma, the palm of the hand, and codo, from the elbow to the hand made into a fist. These were ways of measuring used by the illiterate farmers as well as the literate. This way they didn’t have to carry any tools with them. As nuevomexicanos, mestizos were heirs to two of the greatest civilizations humankind has known, but sadly they haven’t received their due, as Islam is now seen as a terrorist religion, and the great civilizations of Mesoamerica are nothing more than footnotes in Western history. And in this country they are seen as aliens. Yet, they are our ancestors, and we should be proud of their accomplishments when it comes to science and technology, especially when it comes to hydrology and botany. When Europe was still in the Dark Ages, Córdoba, in the Andalusían region of southern Spain was already a metropolis of half a million people who already had indoor drinking water and libraries with thousands of books. Ziryab, who went from Bagdad to Córdoba in 822, introduced asparagus to the court, as well as the way we still eat our food today, starting with salad, the main course and then dessert. He also introduced toothpaste (not to mention that he had a collection of about 10,000 songs).

La Tierra: Alquerías and Mercedes

The Muslims also brought revolutionary social transformation through changed ownership of land. To the Moors who settled southern Spain, more commonly known as al-Andalus or Andalucía, the communal lands were known as harim and mubaha, which referred to the common lands and those known to the Arabs as mawat, which, in Spanish, became known as tierras muertas, dead lands or the tierras baldías. These were lands that could not be sold and were to be used in common by all the people of the alquerías, as these lands were known in Andalucía. Alquería is derived from Alcarria (qarya) and signifies aldea, village or hamlet. Aclaria is a lady’s name in New Mexico. Dr. Carmen Trillo San José from the Universidad de Granada


Juan Estévan Arellano

recently wrote an excellent book on this topic, Agua, Tierra y Hombres en Al-Andalus: La Dimensión Agrícola del Mundo Nazarí. I have found no scholarly work comparing alquerías to land grants, but to me they appear very similar. Whereas an alquería seems to be one hamlet, a land grant is sometimes composed of several hamlets; but both are surrounded by common lands. One of the big philosophical differences between Christians and Muslims was that the Christians didn’t believe in getting involved in working the land personally, in getting their hands dirty. The Muslims, especially the cultured, believed that it was very important to work their land. Artists, poets, writers, statesmen all worked the land, while the Christians believed that only the poor and uneducated were condemned to work the fields. We are now seeing philosophy such as the Muslims had, return, as scholars, writers, artists and intellectuals have been getting involved in organic farming, sustainable agriculture and permaculture.

La Cocina

Meanwhile the Moors made the Iberian Peninsula bloom and produce new and exotic fruits and vegetables like never before, as evidenced by the work of Dr. Zohor Idrisi, who wrote The Muslim Agricultural Revolution and its Influence on Europe, and the work of many other scholars. Possibly the biggest influence had to do with the foods that were introduced—among them asparagus, almonds, pistachios, citrus and bananas. They also introduced the use of crystal and the fork; the culture of the table changed with the coming of the Arabs.

The Muslim Agriculture Revolution that came to the Iberian Peninsula started in 711 and lasted until 1492, when the last of the Moors were expelled from Spain, and Columbus first encountered the so-called New World. Mohammand El Faiz, an economics historian at Cedimes University in Morocco, in his article Horticultural Changes and Political Upheavals in Middle-Age Andalusía, which appeared in the book Botanical Progress, Horticultural Innovations and Cultural Changes (Harvard University Press, 2007) wrote, “During recent years my own research on the medieval Islamic economy uncovered evidence—behind the massive transformation of agricultural activities—for a true agricultural revolution..” The revolution, also noted by Dr. Idrisi Zohor in his paper The Muslim Agricultural Revolution and its Influence on Europe, began in the Muslim Middle East between the eighth and 10th centuries, but didn’t come to fruition until two centuries later in Andalusía, as the Arabs called southern Spain. He says, “Sevilla ... Córdoba and Toledo became an agricultural capital and the Mekka of agronomers.” He writes that Islam produced the first “tropicalization” of the Mediterranean Andalusía, before the encounter with America produced a second larger “tropicalization” beginning in the 16th century. y Farmer, researcher and community leader Juan Estévan Arellano has devoted most of his life to documenting the traditional knowledge of the Indo-Hispano in northern New Mexico, especially as it relates to land and water. He is translator-editor of the book Ancient Agriculture. 505.579.4027, estevan_2002@

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


Going Green


Going Goats

W h y G oatsc ape ? or T he F irst 12 R easons W e C ould T hink


Amanita and David Thorp

© Amanita Thorp (6)

Tilth/Carbon Sequestration


he use of goats in parks, cities, residences, and along roadways is an authentic alternative to chemicals, weed mowers and fire, which have been overused in the past. The idea of “goatscaping,” while not new, is currently experiencing a resurgence of popularity. But it is not as simple as leaving a few hungry animals on a plot of land until the ground is rediscovered. The way we goatscape is an adaptation of Management Intensive Browse (MiB), which allows the animals to harvest the best bites of vegetation and impact the land acutely, before moving on to new ground. After the area recovers, the mob comes back and is able to again harvest the most nutritious parts of the plants. The short stay time and high animal density creates healthy competition among the goats, which increases the intake of each animal and treads the vegetation into the soil, where bacteria and fungi break it down, increasing soil health and promoting increased vegetation. This approach transitions weeds (usually annuals that enjoy bare ground and sunlight and need little moisture) into a community of diverse plants that support each other. Goats also have a natural tendency to consume the brushy, seedy, thorny vegetation that grazers leave behind. A new generation is quickly recognizing goatscaping as a safer, saner and sounder method of remediating damage to landscape. Still, it is not entirely understood. Here we have broken down a few main points, which exhibit the benefits of Going Green by Going Goats, so that people can appreciate the service that these “horned locusts” provide.


The underground kingdom is composed of the microbial life (fungi and bacteria) whose processes feed the plants. This is the most important and yet perhaps least appreciated element in the soil: the decomposers that process manure (nitrogen-rich) and dried plant matter (carbon-rich) into nutrients that the plants can absorb—thus also sequestering carbon and creating soil. Vegetation management involving chemicals or fire has a detrimental effect on this underground life, whereas goats support and encourage its existence.

Pollen, Allergies, Poison Ivy

Seasonally, annual plants release pollen that forces some people to take refuge behind closed windows, alienated from New Mexico’s beautiful outdoors. This should not be accepted as a normal way of life. The spring wind and the juniper pollen it carries are too powerful for the magic of the goat, but we do not have to suffer from such invasive weeds as kochia/ragweed or the snakeweed, the tumbleweed, the chamisa... that take over on residential disturbed soil. Goats can remove vast areas of irritating pollen, providing people with healthy outdoor air quality and an improved quality of life. Air blowing through these goatscaped lands do not pick up the allergens that affect many of the folks living downwind. Goats also like to eat poison ivy, and over time, can eradicate some really tough stuff.

Revitalize Old Brush

Shrubs need periodic pruning or the top growth ages and the plant becomes tired. With an overbalance of top to roots, the plant slowly becomes unable to push out new growth. Sometimes, with the aid of disease and insect infestations that take advantage of devitalized slow growers, the plant expires of old age before its time. Without pruning by herbivores, which it evolved to support, the bush becomes stagnant and dries away. Many desert plants depend on animals to keep them young and to balance top with bottom.

Green Fire Times • May 2012

Wh y Y

Fire Remediation

Old brush and crowded stands are potential fire hazards. Fast growth of rain-fed annuals can burn quickly and flare out of control. Traditional methods of treating fire fear with fire sometimes results in events like the Cerro Grande Fire. Never has a goat herd gotten out of control causing the evacuation of 25,000 people and causing a city such as Los Alamos to spend $9 million just to bring their water system back on line. How many goats could that money have employed? And while there can be some temporary odor with the use of goats, there is no need to issue a life or death warning to stay indoors to protect lungs and hearts. Goats are referred to as the “living fire.” They remove fuel for fires and revitalize the grass just as fires do, but they also bring life into the soil as they go, creating more vibrant land, which will lead to less frequent and more appropriate “controlled” burns. Fire may be an appropriate tool, but it can’t bring the forest into balance. Domestic herbivores can replace the deer and elk that shy from man’s presence.


As fragile as New Mexico’s soil is, often times when it is damaged by digging or scraping, or is merely disturbed by vehicular traffic, annuals such as kochia (ragweed) appear year after year. This is especially true when that mono-crop of kochia is annually harvested for the landfill and the surface is once again left sunny and bare, ready for the next invasion. You can be sure that there are plenty of seeds, now and for years to come, ready to sprout. When goats clear this invasion (often of highly allergenic agents) they remove most of this year’s seed. This adds up over a few years, with

increasingly fewer re-sprouts. At the same time, the ground is not laid bare, prepared for the next launch of invasive plants, but covered and contacted by the stalks of the previous cover crop. These stalks, mixed with manure and urine from the goats, are digested by a suddenly increased and occasionally thriving community of soil fauna, releasing carbon and nitrogen into the soil, which was previously barren of perennials. With nutritious soil and some shading from broken vegetable matter, perennial grasses can establish, and in short order the perennials are able to shoulder their annual competitors off the field.

Create Access Through Parkification

Over time, weeds and brush grow up under and between junipers and pinons. When the goats open the juniper trees and remove the often-accumulated plant stalks and other debris between and under them, backyards that were previously inaccessible to younger chil-

S hould E mploy G oats dren (and previously attractive to rodents and bugs), are suddenly a natural laboratory where children can explore and play. Backyards and trails are added to a home’s living space with goat clearing; goats can create space that is both open and inviting. Goatscaping can create inviting shade trees, which have a neater appearance and can be enjoyed in the summertime heat. Cleared space is also much more attractive than overgrown brush adjacent to commercial buildings and parking areas.

and bobcats and also more exposed visually to a grateful populace of hawks and owls. Goats open up the undergrowth of trees such as juniper, and brush in general, where pack rats and mice hide and keep house. Reducing the vegetation from around your house, keeping it from overgrowing and becoming impenetrable, keeps rodents from taking over the yard and home.

Revitalize Cleared Land

Land, especially high desert, that has been disturbed by machinery, loses vitality. Goats go through and break up the soil, fertilize and energize the land, aiding revegetation. They provide the primary nutrients for the mycorrhiza to flourish and aid plant habitation. Local seed then fills in these areas, or seed can be brought in and added along with the goats, allowing them to press in and bury the seed where it can be ready to grow when conditions such as seasonal rains and floods set them into action.

Increase Graze / Wildlife Enhancement

Hoof Prints

As hoof prints are left by the browsing ruminants, the hardened surface crust is broken. In barren or sparsely vegetated areas where rain has been running off without soaking in, hoof prints let water gather to soak under the surface, protected from evaporation by the remaining crust above. The “dimples” left behind are perfect for catching and holding wind-blown or hand-spread seed anticipating seasonal rains. Water is retained in the soil around the tracks by manure and stalks, which are naturally mixed into the (often depleted) soil, providing the seed a sheltered spot from which to sprout.

Fewer Rodents

When goats spread out over any size landscape, their hooves cut holes into the shallow burrows of pests such as gophers. Goat-installed “skylights” in a gopher casa causes the resident rodent to become insecure in his castle in the sand, subject to scent location by coyotes

© David Thorp (3)


By adding goats to the management of range and pastureland, the harvest rate actually goes up. Most grazers, such as cows and sheep, usually eat weeds and brush only as a last resort when all else is gone. Goats open up the ground to the sun. By mixing litter into the soil, they increase grass load, thus making possible increased weight gain of cows and sheep that range with or after the goats. Cows and horses will follow the herd through a range, eating at the same spots where the goats have uncovered feed.


Hiring goats is an efficient use of money. The managed goat-mob clears more land more quickly and over more radical terrain than people with tools can. Using goats reduces the need for input in these areas over time. Rather than maintaining a short stand of ragweed as a lawn, goats enrich the soil and improve conditions, encouraging wildflowers, grass and other perennials to redominate disturbed or herbivore-deficient land. Over time, the

Backyard before and after goats

land requires less and less maintenance. Goatscaping requires management (by herders and potentially by biologists), which creates jobs.

Promoting Community

Goatscaping is also a wonderful way to meet your neighbors. The sight and sound of peaceful goats munching is soothing even to the modern human. It causes people to smile. It slows busy people down and draws folks together in unity to see a natural approach to land care in their community. Whatever your current vegetation management program involves, it is likely that goats can do a better job for less cost. Working in Eldorado, east of Santa Fe, NM (within both public greenbelts and residential lots), we have learned that our goats are less expensive than humans with machines and that their effect is multi-layered. From a historic perspective, plants and animals evolved together, so it makes sense for responsible management of lands to include herbaceous animals. The alternative is chronic cutting and/ or toxic herbicides. It is not possible to poison a natural system into balance and health y

Amanita Thorp Dave and Becky Thorp have been raising goats since 1979. They founded SunStar Herbs near Cerrillos in the early 1990’s. On Saturdays the family can be found David Thorp in their booth among gallon jars of dried herbs, herbal products and crafts at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Since 2006 Dave and his daughter, Amanita, have been offering their holistic approach to landcare, based on their knowledge of organic farming, herbs and animals. 505.917.9885, AmanitaMaria@

Links and Resources: http://www.hornedlocustgoatscaping.blogspot. com/2011/03/elemental-fire.html http://www.hornedlocustgoatscaping.blogspot. com/2012/02/bring-in-goats.html

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


My Own Garden

Homegrown Medicinal Herbs

Susan Waterman


© J Susan Waterman (3)

any favorite herbs that we enjoy in savory stews, soups and salads take the lead in home herb gardens for their culinary uses but also have important and effective medicinal properties that go unnoticed or are underutilized. The intention of this article is to touch on common medicinal uses of several easy-to-grow popular herbs. Complete information on medicinal applications can be found online and in herbal resource books such as James Duke’s The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook or Michael Moore’s Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. The information in this article does not comprise a recommendation for treatment of any medical condition.

Chives, from the onion family, are an excellent culinary herb. The leaves stimulate the appetite and help digestion. The juice of the leaves is mildly antiseptic.

Most popular herbs are easy to grow. They thrive in full sun; though basil, borage, catnip, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, parsley, savory and creeping thyme will do well in partial sun as well. Water requirements are moderate for some herbs. For details on composting and building good soil, visit Herbs can be grown amongst your favorite flowers while providing a plentiful and cost-effective source of natural medicine. A benefit to the garden is that some herbs are helpful companion plants for vegetables. For example, basil planted next to tomato inhibits aphids on the tomatoes because the basil will attract the aphids first. Herbs also attract many beneficial insects to the garden, as well as butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Hummingbirds may be frequent visitors to the herb garden too.


The leaves and flowers of herbs can be harvested fresh for immediate use any time in the season. Leaves can be picked fresh as soon as they are large enough. Herbs usually have one main flowering season. Flowers have their peak medicinal properties when their buds are just about to break open. The best way to preserve flowers is to dry them. Keep them out of sun during drying. They can be dried on a cloth-covered frame or by hanging in bunches with the flowers hanging down. Dried flowers are best stored in dark airtight jars to preserve the medicinal properties.

promotes urination, so parsley is a good remedy for kidney stones, bladder stones and urinary infections. It is sometimes used for colds and congestion. Parsley can be taken daily as a tea made from one to two teaspoons of dried leaves or roots in a cup of hot water. To use as a fresh herb, take two to four tablespoons daily.


Garlic: The Allium, or Onion family, is one of the most widely grown herb families throughout the world. Garlic is a cousin of onions, and has been used as food and medicine through all of recorded history. Garlic prefers well-drained fertile soil in a sunny location. The seeds are sown in late spring in open ground or undercover above 60 degrees. It needs to be watered regularly throughout the growing season. Allicin, which gives garlic its aroma, is the primary medicinal component in garlic. The medicinal potency of garlic is available by ingesting the whole herb. Eating one to five cloves a day supports healthy digestion, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure and is useful for high cholesterol. Garlic is also known to lower the incidence of cancer in the digestive system. Topically, the juice of garlic can be used to treat athlete’s foot, burns, sores in the mouth, gum disease and abscesses. Garlic is also a popular remedy for bronchitis, colds and asthma. It can be taken as a tea or the aroma inhaled from a steaming pot of boiled garlic cloves. Parsley, an annual, grows best when sheltered somewhat from the sun and in deep fertile soil. Keep the soil moist during germination. It can be sown outside when the temperature remains above 45 degrees at night. Besides being a popular flavoring in soups and stews, parsley leaves are a natural breath freshener. It

Green Fire Times • May 2012

Rosemary is a shrubby herb that, like garlic, has a familiar fragrance both in the cosmetic cabinet and in the kitchen. It likes to grow in a sunny location, and is somewhat drought-tolerant. The variety “Arp” is the most hardy in our high-desert region. The essential oil is used in toiletries as fragrance. Shakespeare referred to rosemary as the “herb of remembrance” because of its memory-enhancing potency. The rosemary flower essence instills mental agility and can improve poor learning ability. The herb is also helpful in treating migraine headaches. In addition to a number of antioxidants, it has at least six components that help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important chemical for proper brain function, and it stimulates blood flow to the brain. Rosemary is a safe and natural way to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Steep a teaspoon of fresh or dry chopped leaves in a cup of hot water and drink the infusion every day. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a member of the mint family and is perennial in zone 6 or higher. It can be grown in full sun and has low water requirements. Sage is useful for indigestion and to improve the appetite. It’s also useful for sore throat, fever and bleeding gums. Like rosemary, it helps maintain optimal concentrations of acetylcholine in the brain. It also has antiseptic properties

and can help fighting inflammation in the body. Two to four tablespoons of fresh Sage leaves can be consumed daily or put two teaspoons of the dried herb in a cup of hot water as a tea or a gargle for daily use. Thyme is a perennial and grows as a creeper or a small shrub. It is often planted in the spaces between stone slabs. It prefers full sun and needs little water. One teaspoon of the dry herb in a cup of hot water three times a day is helpful for breaking up congestion, stopping coughing and stimulating breathing. Thyme aids digestion and it helps break down fatty foods. It’s also useful to calm a sore throat or to help laryngitis. Thymol oil is a good topical antiseptic. On the wild side, Purslane, or pigweed, often appears in the garden uninvited. Try using it in salad or cook it as a vegetable. As a medicinal herb, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and it helps keep a healthy heart and a strong immune system. It also helps eliminate toxins from the body. Other easy herbs to include in your garden for culinary and medicinal use are basil, borage, lavender, cilantro, lemon grass, oregano, St. John’s wort and stevia.


One of my favorite herb books is Jekka McVicar’s beautifully illustrated New Book of Herbs, DK Publishing. She’s a good storyteller and includes lots of practical information on cultivating and using herbs. y S u s a n Wa t e r m a n has a Ph.D. in botany and over 25 years of experience in sustainable agriculture. For more i n f o, v i s i t w w w . Questions? E-mail



Eating Herbs for Health


hile herbs are well known as tasty additions to cooked meals, the everyday benefits of herbs for maintaining good health are often overlooked. Daily consumption in cuisine is different from the prepared herbs and tonics used to address illness. Uses mentioned in this article can become part of the daily healing process. With this in mind, now is the time to think through the possibilities of a backyard herb garden. Gaining an appreciation of herbs brings us to a sense of place and palate. Diverse cultures globally have incorporated a mix of herbs into their daily cuisines for thousands of years. In the US, exposure to a broad range of cuisines expands our opportunity for nutritional benefits. Processed foods have little of this nutritive value.


Herbs are rich in phytonutrients with antioxidant activity that protect and repair cells from free radical damage in the body—and have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties as well. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in his new book Super Immunity, refers to phytochemicals as the thousands of plant-sourced compounds that have profound effects on human health and immunity. These plant-derived powerhouses increase disease resistance and may benefit longevity. Detoxification is another benefit, particularly with parsley and cilantro. The more the variety of herbs, the greater the nutritional gain, so using delicious combinations can provide a variety of benefits while turning whole foods into a feast. Fresh herbs retain the greatest nutritional benefit, dried herbs next, and the ground form the least—yet it is still beneficial. This highlights the advantage of picking your own. When you pinch your herb plants, the leaves will grow back all season. If buying packages of fresh herbs from the farmers’ market or store, use what you need for the first few days and

then dry the rest to prevent spoilage. If using dry herbs, buying in the bulk bins at a local natural food store costs pennies per bag, compared to buying herbs in glass jars. The high cost is primarily for the packaging. Once you have a set of jars, just refill from the bulk bin or add your own dried homegrown.


Everyday healing and preventive benefits can be gained by the regular use of herbs for cooking, such as: rosemary, tarragon, parsley, cilantro, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, bay leaf, savory, chives, sage, dill, lavender and chervil. Combined with garlic and onion, these herbs are tasty in soups and stews, salads (in both the salad and the salad dressing), marinades (with lemon or vinegar and oil), dry rubs, and in vegetable juices or smoothies.

The secret of fantastic cooking rests with combinations of herbs or spices. Learn the best combinations, and one basic recipe can be varied for salads or to dress those wonderful rice, bean or legume summer mixes. Consider these blends: • Oregano, basil, parsley, garlic • Basil, marjoram, oregano and parsley • Cilantro, cumin, garlic • Thyme, oregano, rosemary, & savory • Dill and mint • Parsley, dill, cilantro, basil • Basil, parsley and tarragon • Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Simon and Garfunkel special)—dry and crush for a rub Some cultures believe that herbs cut before they flower have the best, or less bitter, taste. For example, Italians pinch off oregano flowers as they start to bud. I pinch off the new flowers and use them as tasty additions to salads—very edible!


Herb Garden Vinaigrette

1/2 c. mixed fresh herbs 2 cloves minced garlic 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 1/3 c. wine vinegar 1/3 cup olive oil 1/3 cup canola oil 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper Remove herb leaves from the stems and chop. Wisk ingredients together for a chunky dressing or use a blender for a creamy dressing. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar.

Harvest time, in late summer or early fall before the frost, is the time to dry and store your herb garden. Simply cut bundles, tie with a ribbon, and hang upside down in the kitchen. Drying takes approximately two weeks in the Southwest climate. Hang until dry, but don’t leave them up longer, as they will accumulate dust. Remove the leaves from the stems and put up for later use. Store in jars—pint canning jars are great. Either store the herbs separately, or as a good mix.

©Seth Roffman

Susan Guyette

Herbed vinegars and oils are another use; simply heat the oil or vinegar (not to boiling), crush the herbs slightly, then add garlic and black peppercorns to the fresh or dried herbs and your choice of oil or vinegar in a jar. Let steep at least two weeks before using. Garlic is wonderful roasted and stored in olive oil. Just add vinegar later and you will have a superb salad dressing. Herbs added to the mix give an even richer taste. Another use is bouquet garni for use in soups and stews. This is a mixture of dry herbs (stems removed), tied together in cheesecloth and stored in glass jars. Now is also the time to start planning gifts from the heart, whether for use every day or for a head start on the holiday season. Add a little tag with a recipe or a note about the nutritional benefits, and the gift takes on added thoughtfulness. Eat well and be well! y Susan Guyette, Ph.D. is Métis (Micmac Indian and Acadian French) and a planner specializing in cultural tourism, cultural centers, museums, and native foods. She is the author of Planning for Balanced Development ( and co-author of Zen Birding: Connect in Nature.

Tip: Soak off labels and recycle that used salad dressing bottle. Then, continue to make your own and save the packaging into the future.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


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A Visit to the Farmers’ Market to Learn about the Farm Bill Kathleen González


he Farm Bill is probably not the first thing on our minds when we visit our local farmers’ market. For many of us the Farm Bill means payments to “Big Ag” corn and wheat producers in the Midwest. Most people are surprised to learn that 68 percent of the funding for the Farm Bill goes to the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP—formerly food stamps). And although it’s true that over 90 percent of the remaining funds go to subsidies, conservation payments and insurance programs for those big growers, there is a small, but important sliver of the pie that comes to New Mexico. So, as we stroll by the tables laden with beautiful produce at our farmers’ market, let’s see if we can recognize the Farm Bill at work. First of all, the Farm Bill funds the USDA Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, which has helped establish farmers’ markets across the state. Since 2005, the number of farmers’ markets in NM has grown from 39 to 61, with gross sales topping $6 million in 2011, up from $3 million in 2007. “Farmers’ markets in NM have benefited from more than $130,000 in FMPP funding during the last six years, supporting a variety of projects,” said Denise Miller, Executive Director of the NM Farmers’ Marketing Association.

How NM Benefits from Farm Bill Nutrition Programs

The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market established a pilot program in 1997, one of only three in the nation, to accept SNAP funds. Due to the programs’

success, SNAP benefits can now be spent at farmers’ markets across the country. However, many farmers’ markets are not yet accessible to SNAP or Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) participants because they do not have the machines necessary to collect funds from the EBT voucher cards. As part of the new Farm Bill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY is sponsoring an act that would require that EBT technology be made available to farmers’ markets and roadside farm stands nationally. The bill is co-sponsored by NM Sen. Tom Udall and two others. Sondra Gadell of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute manages the table at the market where SNAP participants and seniors exchange their benefits for tokens that can be used to buy food from the farmers. “It gives them the option to get fresh farm produce and value-added products so they are not restricted to the grocery store,” Gadell said. Miller added, “During 2011, more than 8,600 seniors used their benefits at farmers’ markets. This program accounted for more than $237,000 in sales that went directly into the pockets of NM growers.”

How the Farm Bill Helps Local Farmers

Loretta Fresquez and her husband, David, own Monte Vista Organic Farm in La Mesilla. They have been selling their produce at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market since 1994. The gorgeous heirloom tomatoes on the Fresquezes’ table are grown in greenhouses that were funded by the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. During the Obama administration, a portion of EQIP funds have been reserved for organic farmers and farmers in low-income areas like northern NM. “The EQIP program has helped us a lot,” David said. “It’s helped with drip irrigation, water storage and greenhouses.”

Along with funding for irrigation projects, certifiedorganic farmers like the Fresquezes can benefit from several programs in the current Farm Bill. These include assistance with the cost of organic certification and ongoing research into organic practices. The NMSU County Extension Service (CES) also offers assistance for almost

anyone. Funded in part by the Farm Bill, the CES offers advice and education in a wide range of areas, including business management, crop production, pest management, master gardening, nutrition education and youth 4H programs. continued on page 26

Good Luck and Fast Action Enabled NM and AZ to Get Funds for Seniors

It appeared to be an act of providence that Farm to Table Executive Director Pam Roy was in Washington, DC at a national conference on farmers’ markets in 2007. The hot topic was the Farm Bill and a popular program called the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). Roy had worked on the original legislation for the Farm Bill-funded program that began in 2001. New Mexico, along with Arizona and the Rocky Mountain states, had been left out of SFMNP due to limited funding. Roy heard that states not already participating would not become eligible unless their state health departments included SFNMP in their required program plans. She called Craig Maple of the NM Department of Agriculture, Denise Miller of the NM Farmers Marketing Association and Cindy Gentry of the Food Connections in Arizona and gave them the news. Maple, Miller and Gentry were able to convince the departments of health in NM and Arizona to add the SFNMP program to their plans at the last minute. Several months later the funds were approved, and NM and Arizona were the only new states added to SFMNP. Worried that seniors would not take advantage of the program and use the coupons at local farmers’ markets, the NMDOH issued extra coupons. The Department was surprised when seniors redeemed 116 percent of the program budget. Since then the SFMNP has been a huge success in NM.

Farm to Restaurant Is Now Part of Farm to Table

Farm to Restaurant, a Santa Fe program that facilitates the sale of local food and works with farmers to help them stay up–to-date with health, safety and business developments, is now part of Farm to Table (FtT), a non-profit that promotes regionally-based agriculture through education, community outreach, networking and public policy. Farm to Restaurant also works with Santa Fe chefs to help them stay on the cutting edge of the local food movement, and run public education campaigns. “The work of Farm to Restaurant fits perfectly with our mission,” says FtT Executive Director Pam Roy. “It will help our efforts to increase access to regional produce by allowing us to work with area restaurants in addition to our existing work in schools.” Last month Farm to Restaurant was selected to receive a Sustainable Santa Fe Award for Food Systems from the city of Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division ( The program was recognized for having facilitated sales and deliveries of $50,000 worth of local food into Santa Fe restaurants in 2011. Coordinator, Nina Yozell-Epstein said, “We sold over thirty thousand pounds of produce to our participating restaurants despite the fact that it was one of the hardest farming years we’ve seen in half a century – with drought, late frosts, fires and then flash floods in some areas. To support Farm to Restaurant through donations, participate as a restaurant partner, or to learn more about the program, contact YozellEpstein at 505.819.3518 or

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


The 2008 Farm Bill: Selected Programs and Policies

Title II: Conservation: Environmental stewardship of farmlands and improved management practices through land retirement and working lands programs, among other programs geared to farmland conservation, preservation and resource protection. Title IV: Nutrition: Domestic food and nutrition and commodity distribution programs, such as SNAP (food stamps), Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and other supplemental nutrition assistance. Title V: Farm Credit: Federal direct and guaranteed farm loan programs, and loan eligibility rules and policies. Title VI: Rural Development: Business and community programs for planning, feasibility assessments, and coordination activities with other local, state and federal programs, including rural broadband access. Title VII: Research: Agricultural research and extension programs, including bio-security and response, biotechnology, and organic production. Title VIII: Forestry: USDA Forest Service programs, including forestry management, enhancement and Agro-forestry programs. Title IX: Energy: Bio-energy programs and grants for procurement of biobased products to support development of bio-refineries and assist eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in purchasing renewable energy systems, as well as user education programs. Title X: Horticulture and Organic Agriculture: A new farm bill title covering fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops and organic agriculture. (Many programs in New Mexico fall in this title.) Title XIV: Miscellaneous: Other types of programs and assistance not covered in other bill titles, including provisions to assist limited-resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and agricultural security, among others. (Many programs in New Mexico fall in this title.) For more information see “What is the “Farm Bill?” by Renée Johnson and Jim Monke, Congressional Research Service, January 3, 2011,

Find Out More About The Farm Bill National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Community Food Security Coalition Food and Water Watch Johns Hopkins Center For a Livable Future Farm Bill Budget Visualizer Farm to Table One-Page Farm Bill Policy Sheet New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council: 2012 Farm Bill Priority Requests

Keep up with the Latest News on the Farm Bill National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Community Food Security Coalition Federal Policy Page Rural Coalition New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council Newsletter


Green Fire Times • May 2012

Farm Bill continued from page 18 John Garlisch, Bernalillo County Extension Agent, recently taught a Business Planning Class in the “Farmers Teaching Farmers” program sponsored by Farm to Table. David and Loretta Fresquez served as mentors. A group of beginning farmers visited Monte Vista Organic Farm, where David gave a workshop that covered hoop house construction, soil preparation, drip irrigation installation, compost management, planting, harvesting and marketing. The workshop was funded by the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, which is a Farm Bill program. Matt Romero and Rick Gaudet, both experienced farmers in Dixon who sell at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, and Daniel Carmona of Cerro, also taught workshops for the program. Specialty Crop Grants have been one of the most accessible sources of funding to farmers and agricultural organizations in NM. Chile growers like Romero benefit from a Specialty Crop Grant, funded by the Farm Bill and administered by the NM Dept. of Agriculture (NMDA), that provides roasting and product training, as well as signage and other supplies to gourmet restaurants and retailers to attract and educate newcomers to the wonders of NM green chile. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables and nuts (any crops that are not commodity crops such as wheat, corn or rice). A small number of farmers at local farmers’ markets sell their produce to local schools. School districts often use funds from the Farm Bill-funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program to purchase local produce. These funds are available in NM because of the efforts of organizations such as the NMDA, Farm to Table, the NM Food and Ag Policy Council and its members who, along with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, worked to broaden the access to these funds from 15 states to all 50 states in the 2008 Farm Bill.

the farmers’ market, we have to face the fact that, unfortunately, many of the programs that have supported farmers and farmers’ markets in NM stand to lose funding at the end of the current Farm Bill cycle in September. The NM Food and Ag Policy Council (NMFAPC) held several Farm Bill sessions where members of agricultural and health groups from across the state were invited to submit their Farm Bill priorities. In partnership with national organizations such as the Community Food Security Coalition and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (representing over 300 agricultural groups across the US), local organizations including Farm to Table, the Mid-Region Council of Governments and the NMFAPC have been able to educate our policymakers about Farm Bill programs that are critical to NM and the country. It is now a matter of watching and waiting to see if Congress will vote on the Farm Bill before the elections in November. Farm to Table Executive Director Pam Roy said, “We’ve done our best to work with local and national partners to promote Farm Bill programs that will benefit everyone in NM. There are many areas of our state that are considered ‘food deserts.’ By providing market opportunities for our existing farmers and training new farmers, we can get local, culturally appropriate food to our schools, our stores and our restaurants, and make progress toward providing fresh, healthy food to everyone in our state.” y Kathleen González is a former farmer, rancher and journalist. She is Communications and Program Coordinator for Santa Febased Farm to Table. You can reach her at 505.473.1004 x12 or kathleengonzaleznm@

Working on the 2012 Farm Bill

Once we get home and put away all the wonderful produce we bought at

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May 2012 • Green Fire Times


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Control Pests Without Toxic Pesticides

Richard Fagerlund


esticides are a mixture of chemicals used to kill, repel or otherwise control various perceived pests, including insects, mites, rodents, birds, fish, weeds, fungi and others. Pesticides are comprised of a number of different compounds, including active and inert ingredients, as well as potential contaminants and pollutants. Active ingredients are the only components of the pesticide listed on the label. These are the chemicals that kill and repel the pests. Active ingredients also contain synergists, such as piperonyl butoxide (PBO), to help the pesticide work more effectively. A very commonly used synergist, Piperonyl butoxide can be toxic to the liver and is a possible human carcinogen. Pesticides that contain pyrethrin and pyrethroids are pesticide products that most often use piperonyl butoxide. The inert ingredients are the carrier or sticking agent in the pesticide and may include solvents, stabilizers, surfactants, preservatives, sticking agents, spreading agents or defoamers, depending on the need of the product. Some inert ingredients are more toxic than the active ingredients and often make up the largest percentage of ingredients in a pesticide product. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) only requires manufacturers to list the active ingredients on the label. They allow the inert ingredients to be a trade secret, leaving the consumer and the applicator unaware of the possible danger they are exposed to. Many inert ingredients are considered to be hazardous pollutants, extremely dangerous, suspected carcinogens and occupational hazards. There can be no doubt that pesticides, including herbicides, are associated with a number of public health risks. There are about 110,000 non-fatal pesticide poisonings each year in the United States. In addition, pesticides have been linked with such human diseases as breast cancer, and extensive exposure can have adverse respiratory and reproductive problems, including asthma and sterility. Other problems can include blurred vi-

sion, dermatitis, reduced heart rate and even coma and death. Do all pesticides cause these problems? In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has identified more than 90 pesticides as possible or suspected carcinogens. For farm workers who are exposed to pesticides more often than most other people, the problems can be severe. They have been diagnosed with excessive rates of certain kinds of cancer, including cancer of the stomach, cancer of the testes, prostate cancer and brain cancer. Female farm workers have an increased rate of cervical cancer. Chances are that no matter what you do, you will see an occasional insect or spider or something else. There are several things you can do to minimize the chances of seeing these intruders. First, proper sanitation is important. Keep debris on your property down to a minimum. This includes dead leaves, mulch, wood, garbage, manure, pet feces, weeds, boxes, grass clippings, and anything else that isn’t necessary and that bugs would find attractive. Also, install door sweeps on your outside doors if they do not close tightly. If you can see light under the doors, insects can crawl in. Raise any garbage containers off the ground and place them on concrete pads, bricks or pallets. Routinely clean any gutters you may have. Inspect the outside of your house and seal or caulk any cracks in the foundation or voids around pipes or any other areas that will give bugs access to your house. Of course, make sure all of your screens are in good repair. Do not let any branches from nearby trees or shrubs touch your roof. Prune them back if necessary. If you live in an area where cockroaches are prevalent, make sure all of your drains are closed at night. If you don’t have a drain cover, you can put a ziploc bag filled with water on the drain to keep roaches from coming up and into the house. Cockroaches are most active from 10 pm to 2 am.

Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a mined alkaline mineral. When insects eat it, it releases carbon dioxide bubbles that are fatal. A paste made from baking soda will also give quick relief to an insect sting. You can sprinkle baking soda around your home inside and out and around pet food dishes. It will repel ants and roaches. If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, you can bathe him/her in a tub of warm water with a cup of lemon juice, a box of baking soda and a cup of shampoo. That should neutralize the odor.

The waxy coating is used to retain water, and without it, the insect quickly dies from dehydration. When mixed in baits, it can also control ants, cockroaches and some other insects. The insects also ingest the material while continued on page


Borax / Boric Acid

Borax is a combination of sodium, boron and oxygen, and is mined from the soil. Boric acid is a crystalline material made from borax. 20 Mule Team Borax is very effective in controlling a wide variety of insects. Boric acid is a powder that removes the waxy coating on the exterior of the insect’s body when they crawl over it.

Here is a list of products you may find around the house or can easily purchase that will help manage your pest problems. There are many others, but these are the easiest to find and use.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Green Fire Times • May 2012

Control Pests

continued from page 29

grooming and subsequently die. Boric acid can be mixed with any food the roaches or ants are eating, including peanut butter, jelly, sugar, syrup or honey. You can mix it in ground hamburger meat to control wasps. While boric acid doesn’t cause cancer, birth defects, allergies or other ailments that pesticides can cause, it should not be taken internally, as it is toxic if eaten. Keep any baits you make out of the reach of children and pets.

Diatomaceous Earth

I frequently recommend using diatomaceous earth (DE) for controlling a variety of pests. If you use this product, be sure it is food-grade quality. Diatomaceous earth is mined from the fossilized silica shell remains of microscopic diatoms. Diatoms are animals that are related to crustaceans of today. The produced shells are now ground up and used as a powder or dust for insect control. Diatomaceous

2012 and Beyond I believe that it will be extremely difficult to change the existing political will needed to secure and create development that takes into account our water limitations. That does not mean that we need to stop pushing for development that is responsive to our needs and the needs of our future generations. Our notion of development has to respond to our future needs as a society, not just to the excesses and bad planning that have been created under notions of grandeur that have ruled over any logic to protect agricultural land and water resources. According to Herbert W. Yeo, former NM State Engineer, “There are approximately 31,435 irrigable acres in the South Valley. This represents approximately 94,305 acre/feet in pre1907 water rights. The enormous cultural and capital values of these water rights are irrefutable. Culturally, they represent a historic treasure unique to the Southwest.” Using a value of $50,000 per acre/foot of water, this represents a South Valley capital asset worth in excess of $4.7 billion, less the value of water rights transferred from the ancient and existing acequias. This asset must be used for the benefits of the citizens that own water rights and to do smart planning around food

earth absorbs the waxy layer on the surface of insect skins, causing the insect to desiccate (dry out). Diatomaceous earth also effectively controls slugs and snails. This least-toxic insecticide is considered harmless to humans and is used in stored grains. Mix a cup of foodgrade DE in a gallon of vinegar and spray pests with the mix or pour into any mounds as a drench. You can make a very good pest barrier by applying Tanglefoot or petroleum jelly to the area, e.g., trunks of trees, and then lightly dusting the adhesive with food-grade DE. Do not buy or use DE sold for swimming pool filters. This form is not effective as an insecticide, and when inhaled, can cause silicosis, a deadly lung disease. Diatomaceous earth is abrasive to the lung and eyes, so use proper personal protection when using this product. If you have a crawl space, I recommend getting it dusted with diatomaceous

continued from page 18

earth to keep roaches and spiders out and to deter termites.

Garlic Oil

Garlic is very effective in killing and repelling insects. Simmer about a dozen finely chopped cloves of garlic in cooking oil for about an hour, cool, strain it and spray your plants. It will work on many plant pests, including whiteflies, thrips, spider mites, grasshoppers, leafhoppers and aphids.

gnats and wasps. You can mix 3 parts vinegar with 1 part dishwashing soap to kill weeds. If you have cats wandering in your yard to go potty, you can spray the ground with white vinegar to repel them. y Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund is a pest control consultant. He will help you control pests without using toxic pesticides. His website is You can subscribe to his newsletter at his website or contact him at


Salt will kill any vegetation and is a good herbicide for killing weeds in a sidewalk, along a fence or similar areas. Salt mixed with water will also kill snails and slugs. Salt will kill many insects and can be used in crawl spaces or other areas to deter termites and cockroaches.


White vinegar is effective against ants. Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, will attract and catch fruit flies, fungus

“It’s a diamondback rattlesnake. Someone had it in their wellhouse and was afraid of it, but didn’t want to kill it; so they called me and I got it and took it out to the desert and released it.”

systems. This capital asset has the potential to derive extensive benefit for South Valley community development and for the entire region. So, understanding that we are in the middle of a drought, we need to do checks and balances on what is important for our food security. My take on is that we need to better prepare for the long ride and for the adversities that the lack of precipitation promises to bring. There is a lot that needs to be done to secure the future sustainability of our region, and unless we start thinking right now, when we get around to do it, it might be too late; our future generations will have to suffer the consequences of our irresponsible use of water today. 1 2 Río Jemez & Río Puerco Subregional Water Plan 3 food/ff-local-foodshed/ff-foodshedfacts Jorge Gar cía, vice president of the South Va l l e y R e g i o n a l Association of Acequias, is the founder of the Center for Social Sustainable Systems. He is currently working with El Centro de la Raza at the University of New Mexico.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


giggle. wiggle. groove. An eclectic mix of informative and entertaining programs await you on KUNM – your passport to the worlds of news, music, community and culture. Publicly supported. Publicly responsive. KUNM is an essential part of New Mexico’s day. KUNM 89.9FM | STREAMING LIVE 24/7 AT KUNM.ORG


Green Fire Times • May 2012

Think & Do Tank

The Center for Innovation and Sustainability

Developing the Santa Fe Region’s Emerging Sustainable Economy Brian Skeele


ast September I got to be the guest associate editor of Green Fire Times. The entire issue was dedicated to envisioning the creation of “Sustainable Urban Villages” in our area—vibrant, alive, quality-filled, deeply affordable, mixed-use, mixedincome neighborhoods that live lightly on the planet. The challenge remains: How do we actually create sustainable “triple-bottom-line” alternatives to suburban sprawl— thriving, resilient communities that are good for people, the planet and the polar bears? If done right, a smart infill demonstration Sustainable Urban Village (SUV) showcase in Santa Fe would generate local economic development, expand ecotourism and help transform the planet. In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere solves problems everywhere. So Santa Fe, let’s get it done!

The Puzzle of 1000 Pieces

Santa Fe and northern New Mexico have a lot of talented innovators, creative thinkers and pioneers. As the accompanying illustration shows, there are many pieces (see blue sectors) that need to be integrated to achieve sustainability. How can we put the puzzle together so that we create win-winwin solutions? I contend we need 1)

an accessible, supportive, collaborative environment for innovation; and 2) smart 3D modeling tools. I’m proposing a Center for Innovation and Sustainability (CIS), an ongoing Think and Do Tank facility to harness our genius, wisdom and caring to create local market-driven sustainable products and services. With deep collaboration we can create living examples of desirable neighborhoods where less is more—where lowered consumption from a systems-integrateddesign approach creates a higher quality of life and affordable lifestyles that use less energy, generate little waste and take into account the less visible impacts of the choices we make.

Unmet Needs Point to the Emerging Sustainable Economy

Nine thousand employees are currently commuting 2-to-2 1/2 hours daily to jobs in Santa Fe. Even though we have an oversupply of suburban sprawl nationwide, various surveys point to significant unmet market demand for simpler, walkable lifestyles. One third of the Baby Boomers want to be living in mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods, and 77 percent of their children, the Millennials, want to live in creative, lively, urban environments.

Gathering Information, Best Practices, Innovation and Modeling Tools

So how can the Center for Innovation and Sustainability best work with these demographics and tap into this widespread unmet demand to create attractive, sustainable neighborhoods? I think that an essential part of our approach must be to conduct a more detailed survey and involve these people/customers as planning partners. The CIS could provide audit and assessment services to local institutions, businesses, neighborhoods, nonprofits, schools and families to gather information on existing conditions such as energy usage and waste, and record what people would like to see improved and created. The CIS could then offer viable options based on best practices and emerging technologies to come up with sustainable products and solutions that address people’s needs, such as length of commutes, af-

fordability, health, advanced training and professional development, etc. With the rapid evolution of technology, the complexity required for the deep integration of systems and the necessity for innovative financial and policy mechanisms, we need highfunctioning modeling tools. Smart 3D modeling will allow us to test-drive scenarios to ensure triple-bottom-line outcomes: social, economic and ecologically beneficial solutions. When residential densities in a mixeduse neighborhood become high enough to make commercial businesses successful, car-free households become viable options and life becomes more affordable. With neighbors out and about, walking and biking to their daily tasks, the neighborhood gets a simpler lifestyle with vibrant, alive, child-friendly streets. By integrating the community design with smart grids of renewable energy, cogeneracontinued on page


Strong Towns: The Curbside Chat Courtni Hale Recently, Charles “Chuck” Marohn, the Executive Director of Strong Towns, spoke in Albuquerque. Attendees said they found Marohn’s message to be highimpact and concise in its explanation of how our economy has come to where it is and how a new approach to development could end the current economic crisis. Marohn says that imbalanced growth and the tax burden on citizens for infrastructure needs to shift into a new paradigm that is actually in the public’s and future generations’ best interest. Lora Lucero, a long-time Albuquerque activist concerned about the community’s future, organized the event. Lucero had been researching city planning and economics. She came across the Strong Towns blog, started reading Marohn’s ideas and began to participate in an online “Curbside Chat,” along with hundreds of other people across the country. “I immediately knew that this was the kind of paradigm shift that we need for our city, and I got him here as early as I could,” Lucero says. She is planning another series of talks in October. Marohn, meanwhile, is traveling all over the country, sharing his ideas and apparently sparking somewhat of a movement. Among Marohn’s recommendations: The adoption of strategies to improve the public’s return-on-investment and improving the use of existing infrastructure; large-scale changes in local zoning regulations to streamline approval processes and provide the necessary regulatory flexibility within existing neighborhoods; significant changes in the standard engineering approach to road and street design, shifting emphasis away from increasing auto mobility and creating new development along transportation corridors and towards increasing pedestrian mobility within neighborhoods while eliminating accesses and intersections along auto corridors. Sidsel Overgaard’s KUNM interview on Strong Towns and the Curbside Chat can be found at The website for Strong Towns is

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Green Fire Times • May 2012


The Cultural Reemergence of Democracy


n these challenging, if not fascinating times there is opportunity for advancing ourselves individually and as a culture. The sense of powerlessness that comes with scarcity is readily offset by a creative resolve and the reinvention of one’s personal status quo. When it comes to the larger cultural phenomenon of citizens and communities taking back the inherent, inalienable rights upon which our republic was founded, this grassroots effort demonstrates democracy may be alive and well. The progress toward personal and community empowerment is being driven by what is just and sustainable for the future of our children and our environment. In an effort to protect our water, air and quality of life, community organizations, local governments and private citizens are teaming up to rewrite the basic laws that govern how corporations and extractive industries do business. When a corporation moves to exploit the resources from a municipality, county or region, begin fracking operations, set up a toxic waste incinerator or factory farm, the legal deck has been so stacked in their favor, they virtually always win out. The community is left to pick up the pieces. For well over a century the basic thrust of constitutional law has placed the power in the hands of business, in the name of commerce, dictated by the states or federal governments, leaving local communities without a legal basis with which to resist. What the state allows, the community cannot, traditionally, prohibit. And typically, the threat of lawsuits and financial retribution, whereby the corporation sues the municipality (with constitutional law on their side), wins the ruling and then goes after retribution, including all legal fees, potential fines and lost profits. So, the fear of losing a lawsuit often deters a community’s legal action. Corporations have a tool bag of legalities that were designed to help override the collective will of communities. The highly publicized Citizens United case has given corporations

the same rights as private persons, with no differentiation between people and corporate personhood. This concept, however, is not new, and has been spooling up for decades. The evolution of corporate-driven laws was poised for the conservative makeup of the current Supreme Court. Typically, if a community bans a big box store in favor of real persons who are merchants in the community, it is now considered unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment (equal protection clause). In Washington State, this prohibition regarding local governance has gone as far as overruling local bans on plastic bags. That’s right… the placing of a ban on the banning of plastic bags! The established legal precedent allows state laws to supersede municipal laws and ordinances, granting free reign to mining, drilling and other corporate interests who’ve long been riding this gravy train of the profit-driven, business-friendly legal system. The current structure is camouflaged to most, other than to those who are reluctantly impacted. If a factory farm moves in next door, or a fracking operation begins pumping millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the ground across the street, persons turn to the system for help. At this juncture they discover that the system is solely designed to help the corporations. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is now providing free legal services to communities around the country. Given that there are only 200 full-time public interest lawyers in the United States, the same number as 15 years ago, this vital service couldn’t have come along at a better time. This is especially true given the national campaign, with accompanying propaganda, to extract natural gas wherever possible with the latest, unregulated, chemically infused fracking processes. This campaign even goes so far as touting natural gas as our “truly renewable resource.” Profits are huge, and as it turns out, there isn’t much that is renewable about this fossil-based energy source. The frack-

ing process has been shown to cause a serious threat to water tables, and the methane released into the atmosphere as a part of this extraction process turns out to be the most detrimental of the greenhouse gases. CELDF’s mission is to change the very fabric of our constitutional law, whereby communities, municipalities and local citizens would have the ultimate control over their own land, resources, water tables, watersheds, lakes and streams. Doesn’t this sound like the way it should be? The evolution of this movement is not only timely but will, potentially, shift the power back into the hands of the citizenry and local communities to be able to determine their own destiny. CELDF is now working with city councils to pass ordinances that assert a community’s right to self-governance and declare that within their jurisdictions corporations will no longer enjoy the rights granted to “real” people. This Democracy School movement, and the application of local community-based ordinances, has been applied in over 140 communities in six states, with municipalities as large as Pittsburgh joining in and creating these new legal parameters that align with community self-determination. Though this movement has been occurring mostly in the East, Midwest and various locations in the Northwest, such as Washington State, we’re now seeing some strong activity close to home. Mora County and the town of Las Vegas, NM, are the first in the Southwest to move this process forward. Sponsored by Las Vegas City Councilman, Andrew Feldman, the Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordi-

Fracking rig with gas flare

nance was recently passed by the City Council. And now, the legalities and potential lawsuits will, no doubt, begin in earnest. Why? Because, essentially, this process involves changing the current constitutional law in order to shift the power back to the “real” people. Thomas Linzey, executive director of the CELDF says, “Corporations not only have personhood rights, but also non-personhood rights under the commerce clause in the Constitution, which gives them the right to override community law making when the issue pertains to interstate commerce in the United States.” Since corporations have all the ammo, the citizenry is left with no choice but to revamp the current constitutional legal precedent. Various fundamental changes in our constitutional legal structure were brought about in the past by various movements of active citizens looking to assure a true democratic process. A prime example includes the Suffrage Movement, which brought about the constitutional right for women to vote. I have to scratch my head and ask, “Shouldn’t this have been part of the Constitution to begin with?” We tend to forget that the founding fathers were rich, slave-owning, white males. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were very much a part of the original 1 percent. It appears that the current GOP leadership see continued on page

May 2012 • Green Fire Times




Please go our website and study the articles presented in the new issue. We welcome your comments and suggestions.


Green Fire Times • May 2012


continued from page 35

themselves as the embodiment of that original elitist model. “We work with communities to establish the greatest degree of local selfgoverning authority possible,” says Ben Price of CELDF. “If we want people to be the stewards of the environment and to create sustainable communities, first-off it can’t be illegal to do so.” You heard that right. It is basically illegal to create sustainable communities based on the current legal model. We will be watching closely the process in Las Vegas and Mora County in the months ahead. It is time for New Mexican citizens who prize their environment enough to participate in this leading-edge activism. This entails taking over municipal govern-

ment or working hand-in-hand with local government to restructure the local legal system. In the case of communities, civil disobedience may not be enough. Civil, municipal disobedience is what it takes to change the law. Power to all the people and communities who are working hard to bring about this fundamental change. y Faren Dancer is an awardw i n n i n g designer, builder, educator and activist. His UNICOPIA G R E E N RADIO show is each Saturday at 4 pm on KTRC (1260AM) and simulcast at All the archived shows are available at www. Email:

Innovation Center

Network of Key Influencers

To achieve this interdisciplinary capability, we are using the “Network of Key Influencers” process practiced by Susan Davis since the 1970s. Susan begins by gathering peer recommendations so the Center’s board will be made up of a talented team from a wide range of sectors, balanced by age, gender, race and geography. Nominees are chosen for their integrity and innovations, their ability to collaborate, high credibility in their field, their innate spiritual connection and willingness to serve the highest good for all, and their passion for the network’s mission; in this case, creating thriving, vibrant, alive, mixed-use, mixedincome sustainable neighborhoods that are “good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears.” Once a list of “Key Influencers” is established, nominees will be invited to a Founder’s Retreat, and a dynamic community support system will be initiated. Together we can build a legacy for future generations.

Is this the kind of community capacity building process you’d love to participate in? If so, please join in! Here’s some things you can do: Recommend potential key influencers (see list of sectors graphics). Send in your ideas of projects you’d like the CIS to take on. What kind of equipment would you use in a fabrication lab? y Go to, contribute your thoughts and ideas. Consider becoming an online forum moderator of your favorite sector/ field. The Center for Innovation and Sustainability is a project of Sustainable Santa Fe, a New Mexico non-profit. The New Mexico Community Foundation is the project’s fiscal sponsor.

© Anna C. Hansen

tion and district heating and cooling systems, even greater levels of affordability and resiliency are achieved. By adding in a variety of shared amenities and facilities such as parks, plazas and conveniently located lifelong learning opportunities, construction and maintenance costs are lowered and the quality of life increases.

continued from page 33

Brian Skeele may be contacted at 505.310.1797 or For more info, visit or www.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times


What's Going On! Events / Announcements

Cooke hosted by Green Build Council of Central NM. Info:

May 20, 10 am-noon Wetlands Observation & Ecology Workshop Bachechi Open Space


May 2, 11:30 am-1 pm USGBC Luncheon Program Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW

“A Tale of Two Certifications: Silver Gardens – Half LEED NC, Half LEED for Homes panel discussion. $25/$30 members, $30/$35 non-members, $18/$23 emerging green builders. Register:

May 8, 11:30 am-1:30 pm Biofuels NM Panel Technology Ventures Corp. 1155 University SE

Luncheon discussion on the latest activity in biofuels in NM. Panelists include David Glass of Joule Unlimited Technologies, Paul Laur of Eldorado Biofuels, Charles Call of Bioprocess Diagnostics, John Elling of Incitor and others. Free. Info: nmbiobaker@ To register: news/upcoming-events/event-registration

May 9-11 Rocky Mtn. Río GeoFiesta Hotel Albuquerque, Old Town

More than 400 members of the Geological Society of America’s Rocky Mountain Section meeting. Professional geologists, university researchers, students and others interested in geoscience. Keynote address: 5/10, 7:30 pm at the NM Museum of Natural History.,

May 12, 10 am-4 pm Herbfest 2012 Río Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria Rd. NW Herbs, wildflowers and native plants; arts & crafts, guided bird and nature walks, speakers, raffle, music, kids’ activities. Free; parking: $3. Info: 505.343-1373,

May 15, 12-1 pm Brown Bag Lecture Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW

Learn about the American Indian Chamber of Commerce with Theodore Pedro, Executive Dir., of Laguna Pueblo. Tickets: $6, $4, $3. Info: 505.843.7270,

May 16, 5:30-7 pm 100 Years Panel Discussion Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW

Indigenous Science / Cross-cultural Science: Teaching for the Future. Free. Info: 505.843.7270,

May 16, 8:30 am-4:30 pm High Performance Green Homes Marriott Courtyard, Journal Center Blvd.

Sales & marketing seminar with Gord


Local ecologists will lead participants on an exploration of the plants, birds, amphibians, mammals and aquatic species that can be found in the wetlands. Free but registration required: 505.314.3098,

May 22-24 6th Annual NM Native American Economic Summit Hard Rock Hotel, 1100 B’way SE

Presented by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of NM and the NM Indian Affairs Dept. Info: 505.766.9545, rfpedro@,

May 24, 9 am-5 pm Practicing Disability Justice University of New Mexico

Anti-oppression training on integrating disability justice into community work. Facilitated by Sebastian Margaret. $180. info@,

May 25, 9 am-5 pm The Artist as Community Facilitator University of New Mexico

In this workshop, participants will practice moving away from “teaching art” into the more complex role of facilitating creativity in diverse community settings. Facilitated by Molly Sturges. $180.,

May 30, 4-7 pm Growing Local Series: Grower/Buyer Mixer The Source, 1111 Carlisle Blvd., SE

For growers, buyers and distributors. RSVP: 505.243.2230, agriculture-mainmenu-55/growing-localworkshop-a-event-series

June 2-3, 10 am-5 pm East Mountain Fiber Farm & Studio Tour

Rural area where fiber artists and fiber animal breeders open their studios and farms one weekend a year. Alpacas, sheep, camels, angora goats, llamas and angora rabbits. Demonstrations, sales. 505.286.1783, Download map and brochure:

Xeriscape Guide Available

A comprehensive list of plants and trees best suited to the climate and soil of the Middle Río Grande region including the East Mountains. Revised by landscape designer Judith Phillips. How-to info on garden planting, plant selection efficient irrigation, rainwater harvesting, xeriscape basics, etc. Available at local libraries, nurseries, home garden centers and community centers or by calling 505.245.3133. More info: 505.768.3655.

Rain Barrels Available Bernalillo County

Barrels are offered to property owners in unincorporated areas who are not customers of the ABQ Bernalillo Water Authority. To qualify, residents must sign up for a home water conservation survey. $40 for a 100-gallon barrel. 505.848.1500,

Green Fire Times • May 2012

Southwest Barter Club

wildlife habitat, learn about greenhouse design, solar heating, soil building in dry climate and more. $10. Community potluck follows tour. To RSVP and get directions: 505.455.0541 or

Beneficial Farms CSA

May 5, 11 AM-4PM Solar Festival & Green Jobs Fair SFCC Trades and Adv. Tech Center 6401 Richards Ave.

Healthcare using Barter Bucks instead of cash or insurance. Access to acupuncture, chiropractic, eye care, fitness and more. 505.715.2889, Weekly distribution at La Montanita Co-op Warehouse, 3361 Columbia Dr. NE. This CSA works with up to 40 regional farms each year, and offers abundant, affordable shares of fresh fruit and vegetables and other local and regionally produced foods year round. All produce is grown with sustainable chemical-free methods.

Seminars, vendors, demos, kids activities, music. Info: 505.428.1251, solarclub@sfcc. edu (See ads on page 2 and 37)

CNTK Summer Internship Based near Old Town

May 5, 10 am-3 pm Campus Opening/Consecration 133 Seton Village Rd., Seton Village


May 5, 7 pm Golden Acorns Summer Camp Benefit Railyard Performance Center, 1611 Paseo de Peralta

The nonprofit Center for Natural and Traditional Knowledge is seeking a summer intern for its Green Jobs program. Get trained for backyard garden installations and have your crew work in association with CNTK to invest in a sustainable future. 10-15 hours of service in exchange + room rental if needed.

May 3, 7; 6 pm Free Renewable EnergyEnergy Efficiency Forums SF County Comm. Chambers, 102 Grant Ave.

May 3: Residential forum on energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives & financing for homeowners. May 7: Commercial forum on cost-effective energy-related improvements and rebates for businesses. Info: 505.992.3044, cohare@santafecounty. org, energy

May 4, 10 am-12 pm PRESERVE Public Presentation SF Girls’ School, 310 W. Zia Rd.

A report with exhibits and a film from SFGS’s outdoor classroom for environmental science, focused on riparian restoration of nine miles of the SF River. A collaboration with other teachers, schools and organizations. 505.820.3188,

May 5, 9 am-noon Plants for the SF Area SF Greenhouses, 2904 Rufina St.

Workshop with horticulturalist/landscape designer Tracy Neal. Participants will receive the revised Recommended Plant List for the SF Area and the new Xeric Plant List for the SF Area. $10 for SFBG members/$25 for non-members. Reservations required. Info:

May 5, 9 am-12pm Creating Bounty for Honeybees Railyard Park

Loretta McGrath will introduce backyard beekeeping and gardening for honeybees and guide participants through basics of pollination, pollinator habitat creation and top-bar beekeeping. 505.316.3596, alanna@

May 5, 19, June 30, 9 am-1 pm Permaculture Site Tours Pojoaque, NM

Tour passive solar straw-bale house, visit extensive permaculture gardens and pollinators’ hedges, mature food forests and heirloom orchard, goats, chickens, restored wetlands and

Academy for the Love of Learning dedication and blessing of the land led by Kathy Sanchez and speeches by Michelle Otero and Mayor David Coss. Shared stories and experiences + tour. Free. 505.955.1860,,

To raise scholarship funds for campers. International performers, silent auction, delicious deserts. $15. 505.795.9079

May 6, 11 am David Bacon and Faren Dancer Travel Bug Books, 839 Paseo de Peralta

Journey Santa Fe hosts a discussion on the shifting paradigm of awareness and sustainability. Dancer will also talk about his work on a municipal grid. 505.992.0418, www.

May 6, 11 am-3 pm Green Café – Water Conservation La Tienda Center, Eldorado

Solutions-oriented forum for Eldorado residents and the surrounding region. Knowledgeable presenters, Q&A. 11-1 breakfast/ networking at La Plancha, 1-3 pm presentations/dialogue at the Performance Space. Free. Sponsored by SERA. 505.466.2295,

May 9, 6-7 pm Earl James Booksigning OP Cit Books, 930 Baca St.

Author of Bella Coola, www.earldjames. com,

May 10, 5-6:30 pm Arts Community Development Meeting Lannan Meeting House, 313 Read St.

Creative SF, Artspace Projects, Inc. and the Natl. Endowment for the Arts will conduct a Community Needs Use Assessment with artists and community members. Free public informational meeting. Info: 505.989.9934,

May 12, 10 am-10 pm CommUNITY Day Santa Fe Plaza

Listen to music, pick up information from local nonprofits & government agencies (10 am-3 pm) and dance to many bands. Applications accepted through May 4. 505.955.6979 or

May 12, 4-6:30 pm Native Plant Hike Ampersand Sustainable Center, Cerrillos, NM


Get to know local plants, natural history and enjoy the land. $10-$15, For details and to register: 505.780.0535,

May 12, 5-6:30 pm Imagined Futures/Santa Fe Series NM History Museum Auditorium

“Evolve or Die?” A team of international experts explore the role of culture in city economies. Tickets: $10. 505.988.1234, Presented by Creative Santa Fe.

May 14, Noon PIT Rule Protest March SF Train Depot, 410 S. Guadalupe

Students for a Sustainable Future will march 1 mile to protest the oil & gas industry’s attempt to overturn the PIT rule. RESPONSIBLE%20ENERGY.pdf

May 14-18; Grand Finale 5/18, 4 pm Bike to Work Week

Workshops at various businesses throughout the week. Grand finale, Bike-to-Work Day is May 18, 4 pm at the Railyard. There will be bike demos, exhibits, music, food and giveaways. Community Ride on May 19. Sponsored by the city of Santa Fe Recreation Division, the Bicycle and Trails Advisory Committee and many local businesses. 505.955.2503

May 15, 8:30 am-5 pm Española Basin Technical Advisory Group Workshop SF Community College Jemez Rooms

Theme: “Española Basin Watersheds: Natural and Anthropogenic Impacts on Surface and Ground Water Resources” Geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, geophysics, hydrology, fluvial morphology, water quality, etc., that influence water resources. http://

May 16, 12-1 pm Campus Tour 133 Seton Village Rd., Seton Village

Academy for the Love of Learning tour of creative green building design with incorporation of landscape. Free. RSVP to 505.995.1860 or programs@aloveoflearning. org,

May 18, 5 pm Deadline Green Business of the Year Award Nomination

Part of the 2012 SF Business Awards, to be announced June 7. Presented by the city of SF and the SF Chamber of Commerce. Go to V22WLQ8 to nominate. Info: 505.231.2943,

May 19, 9 am-12 pm Integrated Pest Management Railyard Park

Introductory workshop presented by Jeff Clark of the SF Master Gardeners. He will explain diagnosis and treatment options. 505.471.6251,

May 19, 10 am-12 pm National River Clean-up Day Alto Park, 1043 Alto St.

Join the SF Watershed Association. 505.820.1696,

May 19-20, 10 am-4 pm Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary Open House 3749-A Highway 14 (1/2 mile S. Lone Butte Store)

SF University Screen Theatre


Art & Design

Eldercare & hospice for dogs, horses and poultry. Talks on animal wellness by healthcare providers. 505.471.5366,

TED is an international movement promoting innovation in Technology, Entertainment and Design. This event on Nov. 3, which will be simulcast across northern NM, will showcase local individuals sharing ideas on a wide range of innovative and provocative topics.

May 19 (time TBA) Rivers Run Through Us San Ysidro Crossing, SF River

June 1, Sunset Film Screening of Rango Railyard Park


Improvisational, site-specific choir performance organized by Littleglobe. info@, php?q=rivers-run-through-us

May 19, 7-10 pm Tribute and Fundraiser for the Hogles El Museo Cultural, SF Railyard

Musicians including Terry Allen, Terry Diers, dancers from Pomegranate Studio, Rulan Tangen, Wise Fool, SF Shakespeare Society, Teatro Paraguas, Roger Montoya and other performing and visual artists will honor and assist long-time community supporters Dick & Mogi Hogle. Food by Adobo Catering, raffle, Info: 505.577.2679,,

May 20, 10 am-4 pm Passive Solar Design and Solar Cooking Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

Cook with the sun and learn the fundamentals of passive solar design for heating/cooling buildings. $60. For details and to register: 505.780.0535,

May 20-25 Truthdig Retreat

Concerned people will take stock of this time in our nation’s history and the prospects for progressive change. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Robert Scheer, Chris Hedges and Col. Ann Wright will lead a series of discussions. $2,250 one person, $2,850 two people. Payment must be received by April 15. Info: 310.876.2344,

May 24, 6:30-8:30 pm Herb Lecture Whole Foods Community Room St. Francis Dr.

Doug Simons on herbal tooth care and more.

May 25-27 Doug Simons Camping Workshop Cañyoncito (20 min. from SF)

Learn about herbal first aid, plant communication, tools from pine trees, medicinal remedies, edible plants and more. $260-$290 or $95/day. Info: 505.629.3464,

May 26-27 Land Stewardship and Erosion Control Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos

Free workshop with instructor Steve Carson and crew. Learn hands-on restoration skills in the application and techniques of constructing structures such as One Rock Dams, Zuni Bowls and Media Lunas. Sponsored by Partners for Fish and Wildlife. To register, call 505.780.0535,

June 1, Speaker Application Deadline TEDx AcequiaMadre

Water conservation awareness night sponsored by the SF Watershed Assn. Free.

Saturdays, Approx. 2 pm Meet Your Farmer Joe’s Dining, Rodeo & Zia

A lunch experience. An opportunity to ask questions about farming, enjoy a local meal and meet farmers who grow NM foods. Vendors from the farmers’ market have an after-market lunch and meet the community. Info:

Unwanted Mail & Phone Books

Opt-out of unwanted phone books, catalogs, credit card solicitations. Free service will help SF shed thousands of pounds of waste and dollars in costs. http://santafe/

Santa Fe Creative Tourism Initiatives

Artists and craftsmen who offer workshops and classes within SF County are invited to list their offerings with Santa Fe Creative Tourism at See “Get Involved” tab to list. This service is free and provided by the city of SF Arts Commission.


May 5, 11 am Food For Thought Brunch Camino de Paz School & Farm Santa Cruz (near Española) Brunch buffet with food grown & raised by Camino de Paz students and prepared by local chefs from Joe’s Dining and Rancho de Chimayo. Guest speaker is innovative farmer, author Joel Salatin. Supports CdP financial aid. 505.747.9717, www.caminodepaz. net

May 14-16 Governor’s Conference on Tourism Taos Convention Center, Taos, NM

Delegates, speakers, trade show. New opportunities and roles for the tourism industry. Registration: students $170, members $250-$300, non-members $300-$350. Info: 505.345.5553,

May 15, 5 pm Nomination Deadline Sustainable Business Awards

Nominate a sustainable business, building, product/service, workplace or leader for the Sustainable Business Summit, presented by the NM Green Chamber of Commerce and NM Business Weekly. Applications will be judged on commitment to sustainability and the impact of sustainability efforts. A panel of experts on sustainability will evaluate the applications. The awards event/ summit will be in July. Info: 505.348.8322,

May 17 Pecha Kucha Night Taos Taos Center for the Arts (TCA)

Honoring Taos’ Remarkable Women. Internationally renowned event where local artists showcase 20 images of their work. Each presentation is 6 minutes 40 seconds. Live entertainment, food, drinks, “chit chat.” 575.613.0601,,

May 19 Aboretum Tome Open House Los Lunas, NM

See a unique collection of native high desert trees. Lectures by Michael Melendrez, Rudy Garcia and Clarence Chavez at 10 am on organic soil building, landscape design and how to successfully plant trees. Exhibitors. Afternoon music by Mike Montiel’s band. Info and directions: 505.866.5027,,

May 21-22 Renewable Energy Projects in Indian Country Conference Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

5th annual forum of tribal leaders and professionals. 201.857.5333, NativeNationEvents.asp

May 25 Submission Deadline Green Living Project Spring 2012 Student Film Project

May 12, 12:30-5 pm Gallinas Watershed Olympics United World College, Las Vegas, NM

Community celebration of the watershed. Fun, informative activities for all ages. Team competitions, horseshoes, wood splitting, kite flying, poetry, music and more. Info: 505.454.3012,

May 13-17 ASES World Renewable Energy Forum Colorado Convention Center Denver, CO.

The American Solar Energy Society and the World Renewable Energy Network presents this educational event for solar energy professionals in North America. This year’s theme: Empowering the World with Renewable Energy. Prominent speakers and technical presentations from universities, renewable energy laboratories, installations and industries around the world. 303.443.3130,,

In 5 minutes or less, student short films should tell a unique, creative and compelling story about a local or global sustainability-related project. Winning films will be screened at GLP’s Washington, D.C. Film Premiere on June 5.

June 2-15, 9 am-5 pm Permaculture Design Course Lama Foundation, San Cristobal, NM

Certificate course taught by Scott Pittman of the Permaculture Institute at the legendary intentional community north of Taos. Info: 505.4550514,

June 18-22 and June 25-29 Summer Camp Camino de Paz School & Farm Santa Cruz (near Española)

CdP and Española Valley Fiber Arts Center are offering two exciting weeks of fun on the farm. Animal care, food growing, cooking, making cheese and ice cream. Craft activities such as weaving, felting, sewing, puppet making, drawing offered. Students 8-11: $150/wk. Students may attend one or both weeks.

May 2012 • Green Fire Times



Green Fire Times • May 2012

May 2012 Edition