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News & Views

B u i l di n g


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

S u s t ai n ab l e R e g i o n a l E c o n o m y II

Complementary Currencies: Creating a Monetary Ecosystem Community Solar Development in New Mexico The Taos Entrepreneurial Network Wisdom of the Mayordomo Investing for Social Impact April 2013

New Mexico’s Fifth Largest Circulation Newspaper

Vol. 5, No. 4


Green Fire Times • April 2013

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


YOU CARE WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY… You Should Care What You Put ON Your Skin! “The Body deli” fresh superfood skincare. it’s like going to the juice bar for your face. AvAilAble At Seventh Ray Skin Care

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Green Fire Times • April 2013

Vol. 5, No.4 • April 2013 Issue No. 48 Publisher Green Fire Publishing, LLC

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Managing Editor Seth Roffman Art Director Anna C. Hansen, Dakini Design Marketing Director Anna C. Hansen, Dakini Design 505.982.0155

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David Breecker, Carrie Christopher, Douglas Conwell, Margo Covington, Dr. Elene Gusch, Merle Lefkoff, Dr. Japa K. Khalsa, Loretta McGrath, Quita Ortiz, Jennifer Pontzer, Seth Roffman, Mariah Sacoman, Erin Sanborn, Elizabeth Sanchez, Miguel Santistevan, Mary Schmidt, Tania Soussan, Drew Tulchin, Yanna Wilhemsen

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c/o The Sun Companies PO Box 5588 Santa Fe, NM 87502-5588 Ph: 505.471.5177 Fax: 505.473.4458 © 2013 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 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 north-central NM. Feedback, announcements, event listings, advertising and article submissions to be considered for publication are welcome.

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


A Systems Approach to Sustainable Economic Development . . .. . .. . .. . .. 7 High Desert Discovery District/Arrowhead Innovation Network HD3 Discovery Day . . .. . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 8 Power Up! Low-Cost Websites for Cultural Entrepreneurs . . .. . .. . .. . .. 8 The Taos Entrepreneurial Network . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 11 Community Solar Development in New Mexico . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 12 2013 Solar Fiesta – April 27-28 – Santa Fe Community College . . .. . .. . . 13 Zero-Waste Economic Development. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 15 Connecting Education for Sustainability to a Sustainable Economy. . .. . .. 17 Investing for Social Impact . . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 18 Complementary Currencies: Creating a Monetary Ecosystem . . .. . .. . .. . 20 Can You Trust a Tomato in January?. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 24 Managing Manure and Creating Value for NM . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 25 The Wisdom of the Mayordomo . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 26 Newsbites . . .. . .. . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . 27, 43 Is Adaptation Possible? Climate Change & Food Security in the Evermore Arid Southwest. 29 Homegrown New Mexico: Urban Homesteaders . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 31 Bringing Magic into the Garden and Farm by Inviting Pollinators . . .. . .. 33 The Wealth of Health: Oriental Medicine as a New Mexico Resource . . .. . 37 Health and Wellness Tips . . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 39 Earth Week Events . . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 44 Gross National Happiness Comes to Santa Fe . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 45 What’s Going On. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 46

Building a Sustainable Regional Economy


(Part II)

elcome to the April Green Fire Times! Due to the overwhelming number of submissions for last month’s “Building a Sustainable Regional Economy” edition, we extended the theme into this month. With the arrival of spring, and Earth Day this month, we look into elements of a regional economy that help the planet, such as renewable energy, clean technology and sustainable industry. Leading scientists have identified that 350 parts per million of carbon is the safe upper carrying capacity in our atmosphere. Recent estimates count more than 392 parts per million. We’re beginning to physically see effects with greater frequency: “frankenstorms” such as Hurricane Sandy, higher temperatures across the nation and persistent droughts that are likely the new normal. Of course in the Southwest, we know firsthand what it means to experience the direct effects of limited, and in some cases, polluted water. Some political leaders continue to tell us climate change doesn’t exist—or, if it does, it is not because of us . Lucky for us, right? Hope is not lost. Positive things are being done, and there are solutions—affordable and available now. Some are quite practical. Throughout these pages, you’ll learn of inspiring ventures that are re-envisioning the nature of business and how we as people interact with our community and the planet. For example, check out Margo Covington’s article on zero-waste, a systems approach to sustainable development by David Breecker, and community solar. Learn about unique agricultural initiatives, such as Mary Schmidt asking, “Can You Trust a Tomato in January?” And Carrie Christopher, on managing manure and creating value for NM. Along with your neighbors and fellow community members who are helping shape the future, you can be part of the solution. The folks at Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, Homegrown New Mexico and the Santa Fe Timebank give us specific things we can do. Merle Lefkoff explains why Gross National Happiness makes sense as a measure of success. We encourage you to contact and support these enterprises. Communicate your position on these sorts of issues to your elected officials. Support green businesses in your shopping. Above all, engage with your community and breathe…

Drew Tulchin, Guest Associate Editor – Social Enterprise Associates

COVER: New Mexico Bux by Noel Chilton • La Mano by Peter Aschwanden 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:

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013

Regional Economy

A Systems Approach to Sustainable Economic Development

David Breecker


s most Green Fire Times readers know, the world is reinventing electricity. This reinvention will affect every aspect of the electric power system and its economic opportunities, including: How we make it (from distributed, local, renewable sources) How we use it (far more efficiently) What we use it for (including electric transportation) How we deliver it (via a smart, interactive, self-healing grid) Estimates of the potential economic benefit from this transition are as high as $2 trillion, meaning the opportunities for business- and job creation are huge. But so far, progress has been slower than anticipated.

Microgrid Systems

One important component of this revolution is a shift to a decentralized energy network, featuring a design known as a “microgrid.” Microgrids are modern, small-scale versions of the centralized electricity system. They achieve specific local goals, such as reliability, carbon emission reduction, diversification of energy sources and cost reduction, established by the community being served. Like the bulk power grid, smart microgrids generate, distribute and regulate the flow of electricity to consumers, but do so locally. Smart microgrids are an ideal way to integrate renewable resources on the community level and allow for customer participation in

the electricity enterprise. They can be connected to, and part of, the main utility grid, or operate independently.

Shifting to a decentralized energy network

Many experts believe that microgrids are a critical component of an effective smart-grid strategy. Microgrids will serve as enabling infrastructure for many advanced energy system goals, including: large-scale penetration of intermittent renewables and electric vehicle integration; intelligent energy-efficiency applications; combined heat- and power efficiencies; and system resiliency and security. The economic ramifications will be enormous, and new global industries, businesses and jobs will be created. But before these benefits can be realized, there is much research and development that needs to be done.

The key elements of the Lab are: the Microgrid Innovation Consortium, to be developed and operated by the Santa Fe Innovation Park, for applied R&D, cross-sector collaboration, human factors, and simulation and modeling; the Global Microgrid Center, a comprehensive testing and certification facility, for performance and interoperability standards at the system- and sub-system module levels; and a Workforce Training and Professional Development Program, to be developed and operated by Santa Fe Community College (with its university partners), to meet future humanresource needs. In summary, the Lab brings three components together in one integrated complex, as depicted in the graphic:

The Microgrid Systems Lab

The Santa Fe Microgrid Systems Lab (MSL) will play a crucial role in this energy transformation worldwide, with a significant and sustainable local economic development impact. MSL is a new initiative, with a mission to “accelerate the commercial deployment of microgrid systems worldwide.” This includes deployments in the developing world, to help alleviate “energy poverty” for an estimated 2.4 billion people; and in the industrial world, retrofitting the existing grid for improved performance, and to meet economic, security and environmental goals.

The initiative is endorsed by the New Mexico federal congressional delegation, and the city and county of Santa Fe have passed resolutions in support. Efforts are underway to secure approximately $1 million in planning and engineering stage funds; and from there, an estimated $50-$100 million

in implementation funds via a public/ private partnership.

The Microgrid Innovation Consortium

The Microgrid Innovation Consortium supports MSL’s mission to accelerate the commercial deployment of microgrid systems worldwide, by addressing critical aspects of this challenge, and the associated opportunity. By bringing leading companies, utilities and public agencies, drawn from all relevant sectors, to Santa Fe, the Consortium (along with the testing and certification center) will also fuel economic development in the region: Large companies will have an incentive to locate satellite units here, and small companies will spin out of the innovation process and be attracted to the region as a fertile start-up arena with global connections. As a precompetitive collaboration, the Consortium is designed to promote vigorous competition by solving shared challenges, and to unleash the full innovation capacity of its members and the global community of interest. The Consortium is assembling its initial cohort of members and has begun work on developing innovative solutions to practical challenges in the field. The Lab and Consortium support the U.N. Sustainable Energy for All program, and are collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on challenges related to this initiative. MSL also supports ongoing commercial microgrid deployment programs continued on page 9

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


High Desert Discovery District and The Arrowhead Innovation Network’s HD3 Discovery Day Innovators throughout NM Access Resources to Accelerate Start-ups


ast month, the High Desert Discovery District (HD3) and the Arrowhead Innovation Network (AIN) hosted HD3 Discovery Day™ on the campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Innovators and from all over New Mexico presented their discoveries to a group of highly experienced entrepreneurs, innovators, management experts and investors. HD3, based in Santa Fe, is New Mexico’s only private-sector high-technology start-up accelerator. AIN is a collaborative network centered around Launch, Arrowhead Center’s proof-of-concept center for technology commercialization in NM and Texas, which is supported by i6 Challenge, a federal innovation grant.

HD3 Discovery Day is held in the spring and fall in different regions throughout NM to offer broad access to HD3’s resources. HD3 operates from a belief that discoveries are more likely to be positively shaped and generate wealth if innovators have the opportunity to share, discuss and strategize about their challenges, opportunities and ideas with those who can provide unbiased, unvarnished, market-facing advice. Each advisor has extensive experience in matching technology opportunities with marketplace needs, product development, investment strategy, marketing, sales and management valuations. The advisors also bring a wide international network of contacts and resources that can be tapped to accelerate the most promising discoveries.

PowerUp! Builds Low-Cost Websites for Cultural Entrepreneurs


ike the Taos Gorge, the digital divide is becoming a fixture in our western landscape. In communities large and small across northern New Mexico, entrepreneurs are working to connect to new markets via the Internet. Their efforts are thwarted by the increasing complexity of e-commerce, cloud computing and mobile payment systems. Beginning in 2010, the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship (GCCE) began offering trainings for artists, gallery owners, musicians, filmmakers and others working to build their online presence. According to a recent Google report, 47 percent of NM’s small businesses do not have a website. “Nearly half of our small businesses are trying to be competitive without a website. That’s like trying to fly without wings!” says Alice Loy, co-founder of GCCE. Based in Santa Fe, GCCE is a nonprofit that supports cultural entrepreneurs to strengthen their business and expand into new markets. GCCE’s award-winning Internet training program, “Power Up!”, provides cultural entrepreneurs hands-on learning with online tools and e-commerce solutions. But the training wasn’t designed to help people create websites. “Building a website with an entrepreneur takes


more time, more one-onone work,” Loy says. “The classroom trainings with 20 people made it hard to go from scratch to an operational website in a week.” That’s why GCCE is starting to work with individuals and small groups to build websites on a sliding scale. “It is actually pretty easy to create a website that attracts customers, looks great and accepts online payments,” Loy added. “We have built some great websites for a tenth of the cost people have been quoted—and we teach them how to manage it themselves, so they are in control of their own website and can make changes whenever they want to.” Ava Peets, an oil painter from Grants, worked with GCCE to launch her website, www., and now can add photos of her new works and update her prices whenever she needs to. “Artists in particular often have the most beautiful content for their sites,” says Loy. “Their works are so colorful and visually delightful, we just need to get them online for sales to start picking up.” Call Selena Marroquín at GCCE for more information about low-cost websites and their PowerUp! trainings. 505.819.9093 or selena@ i

Green Fire Times • April 2013

Each presentation/discussion is limited to 30 minutes. Panel presentations are conducted in a private setting to allow sensitive and proprietary business and technological information to be shared, and a fluidity of discussion, strategy and suggestions to occur. All discussions remain confidential. Each event typically receives 25-30 applications. Twelve-to-fifteen are selected to present. The criteria used to select those who present at Discovery Day includes: •A  clean and protected intellectual property path •A  n understanding of the market need/commercial application that the discovery seeks to serve or solve •A  n opportunity that is scalable, with the potential to become a high-impact product or high-growth enterprise • An idea of what the innovator needs to see the discovery succeed in the marketplace •A  n idea of the initial capital required to commercialize the discovery and what the capital would be used for For more information, visit or contact HD3’s founder and CEO, Michelle Miller: 505.310.5711 i

Green Money Journal Publisher Honored Santa Fe is the home base of the Green Money Journal, where founder and publisher Cliff Feigenbaum has been named one of the “Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior” for 2013 by Trust Across America, a group that highlights ethical and trustworthy business leaders.

“During the course of our research, we have met with and spoken to hundreds of thought leaders across a variety of professional disciplines who, when their efforts are combined, help create trustworthy organizations,” the group writes. Feigenbaum started Green Money Journal in 1992 in Spokane, Wash., and relocated to Santa Fe in 2000. Green Money Journal has a worldwide readership and covers sustainable business and investing. Feigenbaum also blogs and has a website; visit for more information. To learn about Trust Across America, visit:

Green Job Growth

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report released last month, the US economy had over 3.4 million green jobs in 2011, an increase of 157,746. The manufacturing sector had the most–507,168–while the construction industry had 487,709. Green goods and services jobs—such as those in renewable energy or green building that restore environmental quality, conserve natural resources and minimize or eliminate waste or pollution— constitute 2.6 percent of the nation’s jobs, according to the BLS. New Mexico increased its official number of green jobs in 2011 by 1,453 to 24,337, which represents 3.1 percent of all jobs in the state. California has the highest number of green jobs–360,245–while North Dakota lists the fewest at 9,481.

Once a Day Marketing Helps Sustainable Businesses

One of the best ways to ensure that your business or organization remains sustainable is to have a brand that is highly regarded and clearly understood by your target customers. With the appropriate brand stature it’s much easier to sell your product, or, if you are a nonprofit, share your mission and secure donations and volunteers. Branding consultant James Glover, founding partner of The Idea Group of Santa Fe, LLC, develops brands for a variety of clients, including rural communities. His Once a Day Marketing™ daily video blogs, provide knowledge, strategy, tactics and the inspiration for people to be able to more effectively brand and market. His insightful blogs may be found at or search Once a Day Marketing online to find his related social media sites at SantaFe. com, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Blogger.

Regional Economy

© Grace Communications /

A Systems Approach continued from page 7

The Santa Fe Innovation Park

With MSL as its flagship energy project, the Santa Fe Innovation Park is a real-world R&D lab for social systems innovation, with a mandate to “Think Globally, Act Locally, and Scale Broadly.” Other projects in development include such critical systems as social media and digital community; water and natural resources; holistic health and wellness; and community capital and impact investing. To learn more, visit i

David Breecker is the founder and president of the Santa Fe Innovation Park and serves as general manager of the Microgrid Systems Lab.

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


YOU CARE WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY… You Should Care What You Put ON Your Skin! “The Body deli” fresh superfood skincare. it’s like going to the juice bar for your face. AvAilAble At Seventh Ray Skin Care

2019 Galisteo Street N8 since 1992 Santa Fe 505-982-9865


Green Fire Times • April 2013

The Taos Entrepreneurial Network

© Geraint Smith

Erin Sanborn

Overland Ranch

eople have always come together to reach a goal and solve problems that are larger than themselves. Most of us find ourselves collaborating with others throughout our lives. At its essence, collaboration essentially means the ability to work with others to solve complex problems, reach a desired result or make a dream come true. Through collaboration we increase our ability to see the connections between elements in a system, build our willingness and methods to work together, find new partnerships and relationships.

Taos Community Solar

Another attribute of collaboration can be leading change in a system against all odds. Many people in Taos County have an audacious goal of meeting all of Taos’ energy needs from local, renewable sources by 2023. Yet renewable energy generation is limited to a 5-percent cap of total production because of

Community Solar array in Taos, New Mexico

their business. The professional volunteers at TEN match businesses with needed resources to expedite success. Whether the business needs customers, loans or marketing services, a TEN meeting is the place to begin to meet others of like mind and needs. TEN is a collaboration ensuring the systems surrounding an entrepreneur are working together. Collaborations also encourage reciprocal learning. When we deeply listen to

ergy production, tax credits, no maintenance, etc. This unique collaboration is playing its part to facilitate reaching the goal of 100-percent renewable energy generation in Taos County by 2023. Facilitation is the art of guiding the process of people working together and is another important aspect of collaboration.

Collaboration is Fundamental for Thriving Local Economies.

© Mary Emery

The entrepreneurial spirit is required to build these thriving local economies. In Taos County, the Taos Entrepreneurial Network (TEN, was founded on the need to connect entrepreneurs with people and resources required to succeed in their businesses. TEN has cultivated professional services and provides these to individuals seeking guidance in starting or growing

others, we will probably be changed by another’s ideas and values. The TEN’s mission is to improve the economic wellbeing of the citizens of Taos County. Many entrepreneurs today are committed to a triple bottom line—the balance between environmental stewardship, social equity and economic opportunity. As these entrepreneurs seek the support of TEN, reciprocal learning is shifting the meaning of what economic well-being means and how to obtain it.

current energy producer and distributor contracts. A very creative collaboration between a local nonprofit, an installer, an electrical cooperative, a regional operator, a public charter school and the community was formed to make progress towards the 2023 goal despite the 5-percent limit. This group of people and organizations has installed its first community solar array. A community solar array is a group of solar panels that anyone can purchase and receive all the benefits of solar energy: clean en-

hand with land preservation. Community foundations are invited to partner with land trusts, farmers, the community and entrepreneurial networks in order to preserve this farmland in perpetuity, thereby sustaining multiple agricultural-based businesses. This is a substantial collaboration, and could be what the future of collaboration in Taos County needs to become.

Taos Food and Agriculture

Lastly, people involved in the food and agricultural system in Taos County have been shaping creative collaborations for a very long time and have recognized that future collaborations must embody the above qualities for success and more. Only through new, mature and sophisticated collaborations can a community ensure a fundamental shift in a whole system. Any food and agricultural collaboration will necessitate building on past successes, rethinking the food and agricultural system, learning together, being changed through our interactions and involving stakeholders who may never have participated before. One new and sophisticated collaborative effort underway is embedded within the vision for the Taos Local Food Farm Café, Bakery and Market (www. at the Overland Ranch. The people building this project have over 12 years of experience running a Community Supported Agricultural farm ( and mentoring new farmers. They have a vision of an integrated food and agricultural food system. The Taos Local Food Farm Café, Bakery and Market is an anchor business that supports many local farmers and value-added producers. This initiative is reminding the community that food production and entrepreneurial endeavors go hand-in-

© Jim Cox


Newly hired manager for the Town of Taos, Oscar Rodríguez, is welcomed at a Taos Entrepreneurial Network meeting.

Collaborations continue to grow and nurture mutually beneficial relationships in local communities. What is happening in Taos County is only a small example. Collaboration is unique because it clarifies our common goals and vision and then facilitates the process by which we arrive in our future. This exquisite balance of ends and means leads to sustainable community economic development, localizing our economies and reinvigorating our cultural and environmental well-being. Collaboration has the potential to bring prosperity to all and enable us to thrive. i Erin Sanborn is senior associate with Skeo Solutions, whose mission is excellence and innovation in pursuit of environmental stewardship, social equity and economic opportunity. 575.770.2991, esanborn@skeo. com

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Community Solar Development in New Mexico

Seth Roffman

n a state with obvious wind and solar resources, more and more people are looking to renewable energy. Right now, if you’re interested in solar-powering your home, it has become increasingly affordable, and many people can manage it without much of a problem. But if your building has too much shade or poor solar orientation, or if you happen to be a renter in an apartment or have a business that’s leasing space, or you live in an historic district—then installing solar panels may be more challenging, or may not even be an option. Community Solar may be the solution. Community-owned solar allows multiple community members to lease or purchase photovoltaic (PV) panels within offsite solar arrays that are built, operated and maintained by a utility, a municipality, a business enterprise or a charitable nonprofit. The value of the electricity generated from the panels is deducted from a customer’s electric bill each month. Besides saving money and making clean energy more accessible

to people of more income levels, this approach also reduces the atmospherepolluting emissions that are contributing to global warming. Utilities are interested in Community Solar because it is one way that can help them meet their energy portfolio standard requirements. Excel Energy is now offering it in six states. Through the addition of Community Solar projects, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is able to offer renewable energy-derived electricity beyond Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s (Kit Carson’s wholesale power supplier) 5 percent limit. Kit Carson Co-op, the city of Taos and the Clean Energy Collective established a 1.2-megawatt agreement to launch New Mexico’s first community solar gardens. Under this model, members buy solar panels located in arrays on the roofs of schools and carports in parking lots. Members receive the same tax credits and electricity discounts as they would if the panels were installed on their own roofs. The panels have warranties for 50 years. What happens to your investment if you relocate? Kit Carson Co-op provides some flexibility. If a community solar customer moves within the cooperative’s service area, the utility sends the credit to the new account number for the new location. Or, customers can sell their panels, transfer them or give them to a charitable organization to get a tax credit. “The intent of having


Green Fire Times • April 2013

feed power onto the grid from a 100acre old landfill site. He says the facility would be able to make power more cheaply than can be generated from roofs of individual buildings. “With the most panels we could squeeze on top of City Hall, we would probably be able to provide something like 20 percent of the building’s electricity needs,” says Schiavo. “That’s a good start. But I would rather be able to say that 100 percent of City Hall is on Community Solar, particularly if I can show City Council that we can save a few dollars in the first year, and then, with the fixed price over the next 20 years as the cost of electricity goes up, we’ll be in better shape.”

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is currently evaluating its involvement with Community Solar. For PNM to include it among its offerings it apparently will take some adjustments by the Public Regulation Commission to accommodate the percentages of residential vs. commercial pricing rates and inter-utility transmission issues that Community Solar raises. PNM would also have to do a lot of accounting. With net metering, customers are credited for the exact amount of kilowatt-hours produced by the panels they have leased or purchased. The utility would receive a spreadsheet from the city or third party each month, saying how many kilowatt-hours an account produced. That number would be applied against what the customer’s meter says has been used, and the balance (if any) would be what is owed to the utility. The Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective has a proprietary system that automatically calculates monthly credits and integrates with existing utility billing systems, enabling all utility customers to easily have renewable energy credited directly on their monthly bills.

Community Solar in Santa Fe

A resolution recently passed the Santa Fe City Council unanimously in support of studying Community Solar options for the city. In the interest of powering municipal buildings, Nicholas Schiavo is proposing a 20-megawatt Community Solar project, which would

© Seth Roffman (2)


community solar is not to start another utility within a company’s territory,” says Nicholas Schiavo, energy specialist with the city of Santa Fe. “It’s just to provide power Nicholas Schiavo to people; it’s not to generate more and cut into a utility’s profits. To make sure you’re not causing that problem there are things that can be done, such as not allowing a customer to buy more panels than would generate 100 percent of his or her needs as demonstrated in previous years.”

Democratization of Solar Systems

Interconnected PV systems could also help democratize the availability of solar-generated electricity. With a thirdparty developer, as has been demonstrated in Boulder, Colo., even people with low incomes can negotiate lease payments; they don’t necessarily have to come up with a large chunk of money up-front. If the lease arrangement or flexible purchase plan is set up right, the payment can be less than a current utility payment, and you get renewable energy at a fixed price for decades. For more information on Santa Fe Community Solar or to add your name or business to the list of local supporters, visit: i Seth Roffman is editor of Green Fire Times. His work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Native Peoples, Native Americas Magazine, Weekly Reader, New Mexico Magazine and many other publications.

Touch the Future 2013 Solar Fiesta

Renewable Energy


ids of all ages will have the opportunity to see and touch the future as the New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA) and the Solar Club at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) join forces with Affordable Solar to present the 2013 Solar Fiesta on April 27 and 28. Founded in 1972, the NMSEA is one of the oldest organizations in the country devoted to renewable energy (RE) education. NMSEA’s Solar Fiesta is the only RE fair in the Southwest. “The consumer trade shows that have helped the industry develop to this point are now fewer and farther between,” said NMSEA President Gary Vaughn. “But we’re proud to carry on with a great new location and new partners,” he said. “We’re closing the loop between RE training programs and the purchase of systems by homeowners. This alignment gives Solar Fiesta a powerful new way to bring the public together with trusted sources of information.” The free fiesta will offer a wide range of demonstrations and exhibitors. There will be family-friendly workshops sponsored by Positive Energy Solar. Experts at the forefront of sustainable technologies will offer tours of SFCC’s biofuels lab, green building, energy efficiency and solar energy teaching facilities, as well as the renewable energy installations in SFCC’s Trades and Advanced Technologies building. SFCC has one of the few fully operational training programs for commercial biofuels, including algae. The fiesta will also showcase electric cars and a solar car-charging station.

© Seth Roffman (2)

April 27-28 Santa Fe Community College

Workshop tracks will include:

Renewable Energy in New Mexico: Meet Your New PRC Commissioner, Valerie Espinoza, What’s REnew in Santa Fe?, RE & Energy Efficiency at NM’s Electric Co-ops and Community Solar in NM. Energy, $$ and You: Energy Myths, Schemes & Scams, Energy Efficiency in Japan and Efficiency Upgrades on a Budget. Climate Change & You: Global Warming–The Moral & Ethical Issues, Adios Coal and Making a Difference—Your Actions Count, plus The Architecture 2030 Palette, Ed Mazria’s latest innovations. State of the Renewable Art: Los Alamos Smart Grid Project, Off-grid Photovoltaic Systems, NM’s Passive Solar Architecture, Active Solar Heating and Alternative Summer Cooling. There will also be screenings of NMSEA’s new Renewable New Mexico TV series, which features 26 interviews with some of NM’s eclectic entrepreneurs, educators and inventors; and the 2012 award-winning film Chasing Ice. For more information, visit and i

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013

Economic Development

Zero-Waste Economic Development Where Economy and Ecology Harmonize Margo Covington


n the medical industry, it has been proven time and again that preventive medicine is the least expensive and most cost-effective form of care. Helping people with proper diet and exercise is cheaper than treating diabetes. For New Mexico, how to best leverage our natural resources to preserve our lands, trees and water, while also providing economic opportunities for our people, requires similar forethought. With the terrible fires of the last few years, each worse than the last, and predictions for more dire conditions, there are some innovative options worth considering:

• Improve the health and diversity of NM’s forest landscapes and watersheds • Replace costs associated with firefighting, property loss and ecosystem destruction with net revenue and job creation • Be key to developing a renewable-energy business sector in NM • Enhance local economic development activities throughout NM • On an ongoing basis, engage educational institutions across NM in the process (Institutions are eager for real-life education opportunities for their students. Their engagement also reduces the costs of this project and will provide the means to fund those institutions’ continued participation.) • Educate students of all ages in the many aspects of sustainable utilization of woody biomass for energy and other wood-based products • Create a robust, sustainable and reliable energy and fuel resource for NM’s essential services and community power during supply disruptions like the natural gas outage in a recent winter, where many New Mexicans had to brave the cold because their natural gas was suddenly not available • Provide users with the assessment tool they need now to protect and utilize their woodland resources • Create the potential in the first five years of use for 400 - 1,200 new and permanent, direct, indirect and induced (restaurants, etc.) biomass-based jobs in NM, resulting in $14 million to $42 million of new payroll (based on a current average salary of $35,000/year). These salaries would also directly enhance local tax bases and bonding capacities. • Further enable the robust, creative development and implementation of NM renewable energy technologies now being researched in NM’s national labs, universities, community colleges, as well as many eager entrepreneurs • Support a larger zero-waste economic development initiative in NM and enable a shift in focus toward an efficient and sustainable zero-waste economy • Be a replicable tool for forest restoration across the US and the world

Here are two other possibilities for forest thinning and watershed restoration: Option B: Brent Racher, biomass specialist under contract to NM State Forestry Division, estimates the state could spend $50 million a year for the next 40 years to restore the forests. The huge amounts of thinning that must be done on a landscape scale, costing taxpayer dollars, would generate veritable mountains of waste wood, a fire risk in itself, especially when many of those piles of “slash” are burned. That is how the Cerro Grande fire started—a “controlled” burn that went out of control. Option C: Continue the current approach: Racher estimates that state and federal agencies are currently doing about a tenth of the treatments that need to be performed to restore our forests and make them fire-resilient. According to the NM State Forestry Division, the state of NM, in the last nine years, has spent

© Anna C. Hansen

Option A: Use the cost of fighting one day of a New Mexico catastrophic forest fire ($3–5 million) to create 500 jobs—a $17,500,000-per-year woody biomass industry for local New Mexicans. A major economic development program in northern New Mexico could be created now with a project that turns community liabilities (unhealthy forests, fire devastation, watershed vulnerability, wastes) into community assets (forest restoration, “fire-ready” communities, clean water, economic development). This initiative would also:

Northern New Mexico forest $89 million fighting wildfires. The federal costs are much greater than that, and costs to the counties are not included in that number. Even more stunning, according to a January 24, 2013 study, The Full Cost of New Mexico Wildfires by Impact DataSource of Austin, Texas, forest fires have resulted in losses estimated at $1.5 billion to the State of NM in the last four years alone. This figure is in addition to the normal fire-suppression costs and buildings losses. Not only do we lose an enormous amount of water in fighting the fires; the watershed takes longer to recover, so we lose more of the water from the watershed, we lose healthy ecosystems, livelihoods, cultural sites and tourism, and decimate our future economy and livelihoods.

Leveraging resources for conservation and economic development And so… because the biggest renewable resource we have in NM besides sun is woody biomass (thanks to forest fire-suppression for 100-150 years), and because thinning and restoring our forests benefits water, agriculture, jobs and the economy; the least expensive option and the option for the most economic development becomes Option A. The most expensive and least economically beneficial option is what the state is doing now in regard to this potent opportunity: maintaining the status quo. As Brent Racher says, “It’s not whether we can afford to address the problem, it’s really whether we can afford not to.” continued on page 35

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013


CONNECTING EDUCATION for SUSTAINABILITY to a SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY By Elizabeth Sánchez and Yanna Wilhelmsen, Students from Santa Fe High School


Across the nation, from day one of their schooling, students focus on drills, which may or may not assist them in their future endeavors. Students are given unimaginative guidelines that are intended to aid in college entry and preparation. However, this kind of learning is dull and

© Seth Roffman (3)

conomy. It must be adjusted. It must be improved. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the nation, yet little has been done. How can we work collaboratively to make change and dollars? The answer is in the term itself: economy. “Oikos” in Greek, means “family or caring for the household.” By addressing, early in their education, the sustainability aspects of the economy, which includes the social and environmental effects as well as the monetary aspects, young people have a better chance of growing into positive, caring adults. Thus they will have a better understanding of the world around them and will be prepared to flourish to the best of their abilities while helping improve our society, the economy and the planet.

Students, teachers and administrators during a forum on education at Santa Fe High School last month.

Recently, Santa Fe High students held a forum attended by Superintendent Joel Boyd and school board members Steve Carillo, Glen Wikle and Susan Duncan. They heard from students about issues students face on a daily basis that create barriers to learning and graduating. Most of those students suffer from the weak economy, which contributes to the issues they deal with of homelessness, poverty, immigration challenges, lack of resources, and lack of education in their family. There will be a second forum focused on solutions.

means, most of them won’t know, or only know a vague definition. High schools don’t teach sustainability even though it would benefit students a lot. It would not only help them to solve their day-to-day problems, but if taught in a compelling and meaningful way, it would also motivate them to learn and improve communities. Colleges that know this have green programs that focus on sustainability. Harvard, Yale and many state universities are offering these programs. And check out the EcoLeague colleges. This sort of education helps ensure that we have eco-

Students at the Santa Fe High forum discussed struggles and solutions toward education reform. Fernando Romo spoke about hands-on learning and building community, while RJ Porras, Sara Toya, Rainbow Buzzalini, Jennie Martinez, Arianna Maestas and Chloe Wolff listened and took part in the discussion.

may push students away, rather than increase the numbers of graduates who are ready to solve real-world problems. Innovation and imagination are not emphasized in most schooling. Secondary schools keep teaching to prepare for colleges that exist more and more in the past. In fact, many colleges are changing their ways in the interest of improving the world, rather than solely using obsolete textbooks. Why shouldn’t younger children have opportunities to be exposed to sustainability-based education? If you ask students what sustainability

bring higher graduation rates. Higher graduation rates bring more jobs. More jobs bring more experienced, caring people, who will, in turn, bring rapid solutions to the planet’s issues. If New Mexico were to increase its graduation rate by a mere 10 percent, our research says that over $500 million would be added to our economy. Today, students are beginning to speak out about these issues. They truly understand that they are able to alter school systems by focusing on schools that have already achieved engaging students in school, using their ideas as a template for inspiration. As poetically proclaimed by a student at the Santa Fe High forum: Do you hear the evolution Of the revolution? We are forming a solution To the persistent mind-pollution To dig up the scorning answers to this confusion, Which has been a twisted illusion Of the institution,

That has sent our creativity to the stage of execution.

This poem alludes to the fact that we not only have to clean up the trash we have physically created in our environment, but we must also clean up all the “trash” that old, conventional ways of thinking and learning have done to pollute our minds. We must realize that education is one of the keystones to developing and maintaining a sustainable economy and society. i

SFH Junior, Victoria Gonzales delivered a profound yet humorous poem.

nomic systems that won’t collapse at the hands of a few greedy, exploitive and powerful people. Furthermore, the impact of dropouts in our country costs us billions! Engaging students in career-ready programs and exposing them to realworld issues will surely allow teachers to pave the road to a more progressive future. More enthusiastic students

Elizabeth Sanchez is a sophomore at Santa Fe High. She writes and performs poetry, is an honor student and will be attending a journalism workshop at Stanford this summer. Yanna Wilhelmsen is a student in residence at Santa Fe High from the Netherlands. She i s i n te r e s te d i n documentary-video and climate-change issues.

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Investing for Social Impact

Socially responsible or green investing is a growing trend Mariah Sacoman


or some, the days of protest marches and songs may be over. Today, a new method of voicing beliefs or dissention with the status quo is available via socially responsible investments (SRI). Whether the focus is on advancing environmental causes, building healthy communities or promoting corporate ethics, investors interested in making a difference in the world are spurring interest in SRIs.

Socially Responsible Investments: The Back Story

Socially responsible investing traces its roots to religious concerns, and expanded in scope in the 1970s and 1980s as investors joined other protestors against apartheid by choosing not to invest in companies involved in South Africa.1 From there, the definition of SRI evolved to include the avoidance of “sin stocks”— stocks of companies that derive earnings from gambling, alcohol or tobacco. More recently, the concept has expanded further to include any number of social and environmental issues, as well as a growing concern with “corporate character”—seeking out companies that have commendable records on corporate governance. Interest in socially responsible investments has surged in the past decade. According to US SIF (The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investments), assets in professionally managed SRI funds totaled $569 billion in 2010—up from $12 billion in 1995.2 And the number of funds that utilize environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their portfolio construction has risen dramatically.

Growth of Sustainable and Responsible Investment Funds, 1995 to 2010

How to Find Socially Responsible Investments

With more than 250 mutual funds, 25 exchange traded funds and 175 alternative investment vehicles available to US investors (such as hedge funds and private equity funds) that utilize ESG factors in their selection criteria, there are many opportunities for individual investors to find suitable socially responsible funds. Among some of the more popular options: • Alternative Energy Funds: These funds hold baskets of securities of corporations that are actively involved in researching or producing alternative


Green Fire Times • April 2013

energy sources. They search out corporations involved with technologies like solar and wind power, biofuels, hydropower and other sustainable and renewable energy sources. • Eco-Friendly Funds: Mutual funds that focus on eco-friendly corporations have a broader range of investment options than more targeted SRI funds. These funds can include companies that strive to improve the environment, produce environmentally friendly products or take steps to minimize their negative impact on the environment. • Sustainable Resource Funds: These funds invest in companies that strive to maximize returns while ensuring the survival of natural resources. Examples include sustainable water, which includes everything from water distribution to treatment to consumption, and sustainable climate, which looks at companies that try to delay or moderate global climate change.

Is a socially responsible investment strategy right for you?

One of the ways to find these funds—or to invest in individual stocks or bonds of these companies—is through screening. Screening is the practice of evaluating investments by defining certain guidelines. Originally, the focus of SRIs was to avoid companies that were engaged in undesirable activities that were harmful to individuals, communities or the environment. More recently, this negative (or exclusionary) screening technique has given way to a positive (or inclusionary) screening approach to invest in companies that make progressive contributions to society via strong environmental practices, making products that are safe and useful and employing policies that respect human rights around the world. Another way to engage in socially responsible investing is through shareholder activism. Investors seek to positively influence corporate behavior of the companies whose securities they own by prodding management to steer a more responsible social and/ or environmental course. These efforts can include initiating conversations with corporate management on issues of concern and by submitting and voting on proxy resolutions. The process of dialogue and filing shareholder resolutions generates investor pressure on company management, often garners media attention and educates the public on social, environmental and labor issues. Such resolutions filed by SRI investors are aimed at improving company policies and practices, encouraging management to exercise good corporate citizenship and promoting long-term shareholder value and financial performance. A third way is through community investing. Com-

munity investing projects are small and local, and work by lending individuals and local groups the capital they need to improve their own communities in a socially positive and environmentally sustainable way. They can focus on affordable housing, small business creation, development of community facilities and the empowerment of women and minorities. You can invest in community investing institutions such as community development banks, credit unions or loan funds. Your dollars will help provide access to capital and basic financial services to low-income communities.

The Performance Question

Proponents of socially responsible investments have always had to combat the notion that SRI underperforms the broader universe of investments. Yet there is a growing body of evidence that suggests otherwise. For instance, the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index (which screens out sin stocks and companies with poor human rights records) shows that since 1990 (the year of its inception), the index posted annualized returns of 9.51 percent versus 9.07 percent for the S&P 500.3 Still, skeptics of sustainable and responsible investing say selecting one or two quality funds from the SRI fund universe is one thing, but building a well-diversified portfolio consisting entirely of socially screened funds is quite another. Even though top-performing SRI funds can now be found in all major asset classes, adequate diversification remains a key consideration.4 i Contact Mariah Sacoman, Morgan Stanley, Santa Fe: 505.988.7708, Footnotes/Disclaimers:

1Source: US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investments, “2010 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States,” 2010. 2 Ibid. 3Sources: MSCI Inc.; Standard & Poor’s. Data is from April 30, 1990, to September 30, 2012. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 4Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against a loss. If you’d like to learn more, contact Mariah Sacoman, Morgan Stanley, Santa Fe, 505.988.7708, Article by McGraw Hill provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor. Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor engaged Green Fire Times Publishing, LLC to feature this article. The author(s) are not employees of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“MSSB”). The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of MSSB. The information and data in the article or publication has been obtained from sources outside of MSSB and MSSB makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of MSSB. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation by MSSB with respect to the purchase or sale of any security, investment, strategy or product that may be mentioned. Mariah Sacoman may only transact business in states where she is registered or excluded or exempted from registration, Transacting business, follow-up and individualized responses involving either effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made to persons in states where Mariah Sacoman is not registered or excluded or exempt from registration. Because of their narrow focus, sector investments tend to be more volatile than investments that diversify across many sectors and companies. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives and risks as well as charges and expenses of a mutual fund/exchange traded fund before investing. To obtain a prospectus, contact your financial advisor or visit the fund company’s website. The prospectus contains this and other information about the mutual fund/exchange traded fund. Read the prospectus carefully before investing. Investments and services offered through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC. CRC 575440 [11/12]

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Complementary Currencies Creating a Monetary Ecosystem

Illustration by Noel Chilton

ever, you have for sale a checkbook with very beautiful pictures, different landscapes. And you buy it, say, for $100 and you have in it 10 units or 120 units on “The New Mexican” or the “Pueblo Dollar” or whatever you want to call it. So you have 120 “pueblos” for $100. And on the back of the checks, you actually have a list of all the places where you can spend them. And it includes many of the typical attractions here, so there is something in it for the tourist. Let me tell you what happens: If you make it very beautiful, people will keep it as souvenirs. So, the whole thing can actually pay for itself. It will take about 2-3 years to start these things from scratch.


ommunities, businesses and governments around the globe are rethinking money. Transformation is taking place, not through conventional taxation, enlightened self-interest or government programs, but by people simply reconsidering the concept of money. In their visionary new book, Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity, (http:// Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne explore the origins of our current monetary system, which was built on bank debt and scarcity, and reveal the surprising ways its unconscious limitations give rise to so many serious problems. They propose establishing “complementary” private currency systems, something that is already successfully operational in thousands of cases around the world. Lietaer, MIT PhD in economics, served as an official of the Central Bank of Belgium, and was an architect of the European Union. Dunne is an award-winning journalist and a leader in promoting development of environment friendly technologies. Last month, prior to a presentation before an audience in Eldorado, near Santa Fe, NM, Lietaer and Dunne sat down for an interview with Seth Roffman of Green Fire Times.


GFT: What is the relationship between our monetary system and regional sustainability?

BL: Anybody who talks about sustainable regions or ecological sustainability without touching the money system is wasting their time. Spontaneously, people used to live in bioregions and adapt their lifestyle. By imposing a single currency, top down, which is basically putting everybody in competition with everybody else within that space where that currency functions, you are destroying bioregions. We’re suggesting that the hypercompetitiveness can be dampened with a number of different types of complementary currencies, namely regional currencies, be they local currencies, healthcare currencies, educational currencies… You can structure a monetary ecosystem that can adapt to the bioregion in question. You can have regional development if you have a currency for that region. This can be done both for the inhabitants there and for tourism. You could have a tourist currency, for example, in New Mexico that leads you through many of the interesting things in the state.

GFT: How might that work?

BL: it’s very simple. When you come into NM, in the gas stations or wher-

Green Fire Times • April 2013

GFT: Who would administer it?

BL: Well, you have a choice. It could be the state; it could be a NGO that deals with beautifying the region; it could be the chamber of commerce—whatever organization is willing to take this on, because you need to bring to the table, of course, all the participants.

Understanding Money

JD: I think a more fundamental understanding needs to be in place. What Is Money? Most people think it’s a thing, you know, you say money and you get out your billfold. Classical textbooks never touch what money really is. They say what it does: It’s a unit of account; it’s a store of value; something that you save, or it’s a medium of exchange—something that you spend. That’s what it does. What money is, is an agreement; an agreement to a means of exchange. All through history, lots of different things have been used as a means of exchange: kola nuts, rocks, stones, axes—a bunch of different things. So, we have a modern money system that was created about 400 years ago. It is brilliant, but it is based on banks—which is a monopoly—creating money. And as a result of the way it is structured, its DNA if you will, money has to remain scarce or else it would lose its value. As a result of that, there isn’t enough to go around.

An Interview with Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Linking Unused Resources with Unmet Needs

So, ordinary people in various communities (a geographical community, a community around a certain interest; a business-to-business community, a community on the internet, a global community, etc.) are getting together; ordinary people are stepping outside the box and saying, “Why are we poor? Why isn’t this working?” And what they are doing is making an inventory of the unused resources… there could be spare capacities in restaurants, empty seats on an airline, empty seats in a theater, it could be vacant football fields at schools… and all the unmet needs. You list all the unmet needs: kids to be educated, elderly to be looked after, places to be beautified—you name it. So they come together as a community and link their unused resource with their unmet need with the currency. And this currency could be designed in many, many different ways. Bernard has made an inventory of at least 50 different types of money. By type we’re not talking about different looking paper—we’re talking about actual interior design of the currency with very precise outcomes. Another way of looking at it is: we describe our current monetary system as a hammer. A hammer is fantastic for hammering a nail into the wall. What if you want to paint? What if you want to saw a piece of wood in half? You need different tools. What we’re saying is, we now need a monetary toolkit. The hammer is great; we’re not saying replace the hammer; what we are saying is, we need the monetary equivalent of a screwdriver, a Phillips-head, a saw… you name it. And so these

Monetary Systems

So, what is an airline mile? It links an empty seat, an unused resource, with an unmet need: loyalty—customer loyalty from the airline viewpoint. There are periods where you can’t use them; they try to encourage flights for a particular thing; they give you extra miles for that, and so on. It becomes another management tool. A conventional economist may say, “Well, we can do this with dollars and cut the price,” but then you would simply have more airlines going bankrupt than they are now.

JD: A very important point to make here is that these currencies (we use the term “complementary” – we never use the term “alternative”) are not an alternative to the dollar; they complement the national system. You’re never going to be able to buy your next car

The Santa Fe Time Bank

Re-weaving Community One Hour at a Time

The Santa Fe Time Bank is a non-taxible hour-exchange network where members match unmet needs with untapped resources using “time dollars” as currency. As the cash economy has become increasingly strained, this kind of complementary currency has become increasingly important for many people. Each member’s time is valued equally with respect for each person’s offerings. Exchanges are “banked” and recorded in a software program. Offers and requests are displayed in each member’s profile in searchable listings. The Santa Fe Time Bank holds a monthly introductory gathering at Natural Grocers, 3328 Cerrillos Road, where they give an overview of time banking nationally, an orientation to core values, and detail how it works. After an update on local news and developments, members hear newcomers’ introductions, offers and requests, and then match needs and resources as they get acquainted over a potluck supper. This event is held the third Monday of every month from 5:307:30 pm. For more information, call 505.490.2119 or visit

using a complementary currency because all the parts come from abroad. However, there’s a whole bandwidth of activity and resources that can be paid for in complementary currencies. They could be regional currencies, they could be neighborhood, they could be around a certain topic.

© Seth Roffman

BL: Let’s give an example; one that you’re familiar with, but haven’t thought about: frequent-flyer miles. This is been used for 40 years. There are now five airline alliances in the world that are issuing them. Ninetyone airlines are participating. Fiftythousand billion miles are in circulation. This is not marginal. It is huge. It has proven two things: 1) It’s possible to have a currency system, even very large-scale systems, at very low cost. Without an army of clerks tracking miles it would never have happened. 2) The second thing this proves is that you can change behavior of people from what they would spontaneously do; you can channel behavior patterns in a particular direction on a large scale for a long time.

So, it is a managerial tool that is working on a large scale. But from our perspective, it doesn’t do anything, really, for society. It does something for the airline that uses it. But it doesn’t really change important things. So, our claim is, the time has come to use this technology for something useful, such as ecological sustainability; things that we don’t have: elderly care, training of kids; all the “soft” stuff that doesn’t get done. Those people don’t have dollars. So you see the point? That’s an example of commercial complementary currency; currency that everybody uses, but they haven’t thought about it as a currency. You can apply it in all kinds of other ways.

Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

For example, Japan has a huge problem around their aging population, and they just don’t have sufficient yen to deal with it. So about 10 years ago they set up something called Fureai Kippu, which are “caring friendship” tickets, whereby I look after the old lady next door, I help her write a letter to an insurance company, I might drive her to the doctor… And so for every hour that I spend taking care of her I get an electronic unit in my Fureai Kippu account, which I can maintain until I’m older and need help, or, alternatively in that particular system I can transfer it to the other side of the country to my Mom, who needs care.

Courtesy of the family of Peter Aschwanden

communities are coming together and saying, “What we need to resolve our particular problem, and we need the monetary version of a particular tool.”

The beauty of this is that the elderly can stay in their home longer, and what grows is this very important thing that is very much under threat, particularly here in American society: the erosion of community. And what happens is that a bond grows between younger people and the elderly because it’s usually the younger people who are coming in and doing the work. And they get to know the elderly people; they listen to their stories, and they’re loving the intergenerational relationships that are developing. And the elderly have the dignity of staying in their homes longer. This is not done in yen; it is done in Fureai Kippu. That’s just one example. BL: Everything that is not covered by the Japanese national health insurance is payable in that currency. If a woman breaks her leg, she goes to the hospital and it’s paid in yen. JD: This is not marginal stuff. The reason why Switzerland is so eco-

nomically stable is that they’ve had a business-to-business currency, a complementary currency, operational for 80 years. And studies have shown that this is because they have this dual currency system working. It came into being when 17 businessmen in 1934 got letters from their bank saying their credit lines were cut, and they didn’t know what they were going to do. Then they realized, by looking around the table, that they were buying stuff and trading with one another, but they were going to a bank to pay for their bills. They created their own currency to look after their invoices and pay their employees. There is very strong economic data available to prove that this works, and it has led to the sustainability of the Swiss economy.

“Incentivizing” Sustainability

Where it gets interesting, is what can be done regionally; not only on a regional perspective, but also what can be done in order to maintain the ecology or incentivize greening of an area or the greater sustainability of the area. BL: In Germany right now, there are 43 operational regional currencies. In southern Bavaria, a mountain area like yours, it started in a Waldorf School. The teacher of economics started the system with the objectives of getting more funding for the school, as well as to activate the local economy and encourage organic agriculture. He sent two 16-year-old girls to all the shops that serve organic food, and they would be the salesmen. They would introduce the idea of this local currency to the local businesspeople. That was how it started, and it worked very well. There are now about 600 continued on page

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Complementary Currencies continued from page 21

businesses involved, and they create ecological chains. So now they have producers of goat cheese and all kinds of things being sold. It has actually spread beyond the border of Germany into Austria, where they have added another 600 businesses. JD: So the idea is, this currency is designed in a way to incentivize purchasing of local produce and purchasing of local services. BL: There is a little trick they have been using for this: It’s a stamp script. Every quarter, you have the back of the bill, and you have little places where you can put stamps. And the stamps you buy with Euros are 2 percent the face value of the bill. So that produces an income that, when you buy the complementary currency with conventional money, you choose the nonprofit organization to which that income goes. It could be the school; it could be something else such as an ecological group. JD: Additionally, because of the stamp, it incentivizes people to buy with the local currency before the expiration date. So the idea is to get people to spend that money, which really gets the currency spent in that region to make sure that the money stays in the region, and also that it’s spent. It’s not used as a saving mechanism. So, what’s happening is that there is a great confluence between cheaper computing, access to the Internet, social media and mobile telephony that is enabling this spark of these currencies to come into existence. We, the ordinary people are understanding that the democratization of money is now possible. So basically, if you can come up with what is a problem here in Santa Fe or in NM in general, there is a currency that can address that problem—you name it—a currency can be designed. And the advantage of the currency is that it incentivizes different behavior and also gives cash to people to be able to go out and do things. And none of this is illegal. It is taxable. The only requirement you have is to pay your taxes in federal money, in US dollars. i


Green Fire Times • April 2013

On Paseo de Peralta (next to Kakawa Chocolates)

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Can You Trust a Tomato in January?

Thanks to Preferred Produce, Now You Can Mary Schmidt

Preferred Produce Greenhouses in Deming, New Mexico Can You Trust A Tomato in January? is a book by Vince Staten in which he takes us on a tour of the US supermarket—the good, the bad, the ugly. Those blemish-free tomatoes piled high at your local market? All kinds of dastardly things may have been done to them so they look good… though they taste like cardboard. So, no, until recently we couldn’t trust a tomato in January (or many other months of the year). However, Preferred Produce in Deming, New Mexico, founded by Matthew Stong, Ph.D., grows flavorful organic tomatoes and other produce year-round. They are one of only eight large-scale commercial organic greenhouse operations in the United States, and you can find their trustworthy, USDA-certified organic produce at Whole Foods and La Montañita CoOp, as well as farmers’ markets across southern New Mexico and in El Paso. (Home delivery is available online at Box prices

start at $20. The produce [tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables], picked ripe to ensure maximum nutrition and flavor, is shipped within two days of harvest.) Preferred Produce also partners with other organic producers to offer additional selections, such as free-range eggs.


Of course, “going organic” often gets a bad rap as being too expensive. However, as Stong explains, it’s more the case that we can’t afford not to buy organic produce. “If you read the labels on the pesticides used on conventional produce, you would see how detrimental these poisons are to humans. In fact, eating non-organic increases

Making organic produce affordable and accessible

your exposure to pesticides by 81 percent.” Then there’s the “cocktail effect” of exposure to several pesticides, say, from a single tomato. Conventional crops are typically sprayed with a variety of pesticides, which increases consumer exposure to a wider range of poisons. But, just as we once didn’t believe disease could be carried by germs we couldn’t see, we can’t see the pesticides on (and in) our food. So, for many, organic seems like a nice idea, but that conventionally grown tomato looks so harmless. On the vendor side, change is often difficult. After several years of trying to work with larger, established organizations and finding little support, Stong started looking around New Mexico for a farm site. He chose Deming to start Preferred Produce because of the county government’s supportive attitude and willingness to work with him. Today, Preferred Produce is a reality, with patent-pending, state-of-theart greenhouses that use renewable

Green Fire Times • April 2013

energy for heating and cooling. The greenhouses also recycle water and harvest nutrients used to create fertilizer blends. In total, the operations have a negative carbon footprint in that they use more carbon (the plants absorb carbon to grow) than they emit. Buying organic produce that has traveled thousands of miles is problematic for conscientious shoppers, and Deming is quite a distance from any major city— hundreds rather thousands of miles— but still, the produce has to travel. An increasing number of people, “locavores,” want to buy local, but eating local can become pretty boring in say, January. That’s why Preferred Produce has global expansion plans. Ultimately, they plan to locate their sustainable farms adjacent to major cities in the US, as well as in Europe and Asia. As a first step to making this vision a reality, the company recently obtained $200,000 through investments by New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC) and New Mexico Angels. This will enable Preferred Produce to expand their greenhouses in Deming. “Matthew’s vision of making organic produce affordable and accessible to millions of people fits nicely with New Mexico Community Capital’s mission,” said Leslie Elgood, NMCC CEO. “We look for investments with a triple-bottom-line return: dollars, jobs and community benefits.”

But, let’s assume you aren’t too concerned about pesticides. After all, we’ve been eating this stuff for years, and you give your tomatoes a good scrub before eating. Ah, then there’s nutrition. A two-year study led by John Reganold

of Washington State University compared organic and conventional strawberry farms and found that the organic farms produced berries that were both more flavorable and nutritious. A report jointly produced by The Organic Center and professors from the University of Florida Department of Horticulture and Washington State University provides evidence that organic foods contain, on average, a 25-percenthigher concentration of 11 nutrients than their conventional counterparts. “We live in a world where resources are becoming scarce and competition for their use is increasing,” Stong said. “It is time to maximum the nutrition while minimizing the depletion.” i Mary Schmidt, marketing troubleshooter, helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into reality. She writes for fun and grows the occasional tomato. 505.856.2551 or

Managing Manure & Creating Value for NM

Tania Soussan, Carrie Christopher and Jennifer Pontzer • Concept Green


oncept Green LLC is a local sustainability firm and Certified B Corp, specializing in sustainability reporting. Concept Green’s interest in anaerobic digesters and their potential impact in New Mexico was sparked though through our work with the Innovation Center for US Dairy® on its sustainability initiatives. Keith Hughes has a vision. A vision for cow manure. He wants to take the waste—a serious source of greenhouse gas emissions, odor and groundwater pollution from 13 dairies along Doña Ana County’s “dairy row”—and turn it into green, sustainable energy. As founder of R-Qubed Energy, Inc. in El Paso, Hughes has been promoting the construction of an anaerobic digester that could take in tons of cattle manure and capture the methane gas it produces as it breaks down to generate electricity. But Hughes and others have found that this particular cash cow comes with lots of hurdles. “There are challenges, for sure,” said Colin Messer, program manager in the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Energy Conservation and Management Division. Anaerobic digester projects have been successful in other states, and the Obama administration is pushing to get more up and running. Dairy biogas even made headlines at this year’s Super Bowl.

HOW DIGESTERS WORK In a typical anaerobic digester, manure is put into large tanks and heated to an optimum temperature for the microorganisms that digest the organic material. The natural microbial process breaks down the waste much more quickly and efficiently than in open lagoons. The resulting methane gas is collected and can go to a generator to produce electricity, which can then be sold to a utility company. The treated manure can be used as fertilizer, and the leftover water is clean enough to irrigate fields or wash down dairy barns. The digester itself produces enough heat and energy to power the system.

Fans traveling to New Orleans were offered the option of buying carbon offsets from manure digesters at a Michigan dairy farm. In NM, however, no projects have yet made it into operation. That’s not for lack of effort. Twenty-three dairies in eastern NM joined together about eight years ago as the Pecos Valley Biomass Cooperative to research ways to transform cow manure from an environmental problem into a moneymaker. US Department of Energy funding helped pay for a technical and economic feasibility study, which uncovered obstacles. “It cost too much to do,” said co-op leader Gerry Greathouse, owner of Nature’s Dairy in Roswell. “In the end, it was just too much that would be passed on to the consumer… to fund that.” Money also is the problem for RQubed, which has been ready to begin building for more than a year. Hughes said he and his team have had trouble convincing investors to help bankroll the $119-million construction cost for a 12- to 15-megawatt plant, in part because it’s hard to justify the need when natural gas is so cheap. Reframing the issue could be the answer, he said. “We need polluted water cleaned up.” The nitrate contamination of groundwater caused by livestock manure has been a mounting problem in NM. Dairy farmers are struggling with expensive compliance challenges, and conservation and citizen groups

such as the New Mexico Dairy Reform Coalition have formed to advocate change and tougher regulation. Digesters could help dairies and dairy -watch groups find common ground. Dan Lorimier, a conservation coordinator specializing in dairy issues for the Río Grande Sierra Club chapter in NM (a member of the coalition), said it would be great to see dairy waste turned into electricity. “If it were to be done right and not compromise air quality, we would love to see some useful outcome for dairy waste because it is such a source of groundwater pollution,” he said. Anaerobic digesters also are good for the environment because they capture methane from manure that would otherwise be released. Methane from manure contributes nearly 23 percent of the carbon footprint of fluid milk, according to research conducted by the Innovation Center for US Dairy. The state of NM is encouraging biomass projects, and in 2010 enacted a tax credit for dairies transporting wet manure to a renewable-energy facility. In addition, the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires major utilities to increase the percentage of their power produced from renewable resources in the coming years; dairy biogas could make up part of that package. Biogas projects can get help from the US Environmental Protection continued on page 41

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Wisdom of the Mayordomo

Quita Ortiz


ew Mexico’s acequias, the centuries-old irrigation ditches that traverse our agricultural valleys, have long proved to be a sustainable water management system. Even during periods of drought they have remained resilient throughout their history because acequias operate in such a way that fulfills the common good. It’s based on a practice referred to as repartimiento, which signifies the water-sharing customs of the acequia tradition, ensuring a fair distribution of irrigation water for all parciantes, or acequia members, during times of abundance and sacrifice alike.

Mayordomo Gilbert Sandoval

Water allocation during drought differs from acequia to acequia, with each community tailoring its methods to meet its needs based on community dynamics and the physical geographic characteristics of its watershed and irrigated lands. But consistent among all acequias is that the mayordomo is charged with a demanding job, which becomes even more challenging during drought. The mayordomo plays an esteemed role in the acequia and has traditionally been a highly revered community member. He or she displays a distinguished knowledge of their acequia and its surrounding community. From the watershed that nurtures the course of the stream that eventually reaches the acequia diversion, to the last parcel of land irrigated by the acequia, it’s often the mayordomo’s mental map of his or her acequia’s intricacies that surpass the community knowledge of most others on the acequia.


Put simply, the mayordomo is the “ditch boss” who works to ensure equitable water distribution, and makes him/ herself available to address issues that come up throughout the growing season, as well as observing the activities of the surrounding environment during the off-season, such as snowpack, beaver dams, etc. It’s a year-round commitment and it’s often unpaid. Additionally, given the increase in demand for water, some acequia communities have had to adapt to minor changes in the way they allocate water during shortages, making the duties of the mayordomo even more challenging. For example, La Mesilla Community Ditch in Río Arriba County once flowed through a much more rural setting, with only 17 families in the 1950s. Now the acequia runs through an underground pipe and serves roughly 2,000 families in the community, including many newcomers. The population growth has resulted in fragmented land parcels and an increase in the number of land-owning parciantes, making water allocation somewhat more complicated.

Acequia irrigation in northern New Mexico

The project has evolved through its different stages of development, but has maintained its focus on the mentorship model. In its initial stages, the project team interviewed a number of mayordomos in different communities throughout northern New Mexico, gathering valuable insight that guided the development of a mayordomía methodology, including the duties and knowledge of mayordomos. For the past couple of years, the project team has followed and documented the tri-

Using video footage gathered in the field, the team developed The Art of Mayordomía, an educational film, which will be released soon, along with the Mayordomo Handbook & Field Guide, an in-depth companion guide to the film that illustrates the method of mayordomía, developed through the information extracted from the interviews, as well as from specific knowledge contributed by Gilbert Sandoval and Kenny Salazar of La Mesilla.

Yet nowadays, acequias have had to address the fact that many of them have aging mayordomos, coupled with the lack of younger parciantes willing to fill that vital role in their community. The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) has many years of experience working with communities throughout the state, and because the mayordomo has a special role in the acequia, the NMAA believed it was vital to contribute resources to address this concern. In 2008, the NMAA partnered with UNM’s Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies to establish the Mayordomo Project. It is a participatory community-based approach to addressing what the NMAA calls the “Mayordomo Crisis.” Through this effort, the NMAA has established a mentorship program that fosters the transmission of local knowledge to the next generation of mayordomos. Additionally, the NMAA has developed educational materials to assist in the training process, including a short film and a companion field guide.

Green Fire Times • April 2013

New Mexico Acequia Association Mayordomo Project tour

als of Juanita Revak as she shadowed her father, Gilbert Sandoval, a longtime mayordomo, to succeed him as the next mayordoma of their acequia in Jémez Springs. The team also documented and interviewed other mayordomos in the field in a number of different acequia communities, including La Mesilla, Cuarteles and El Guique.

We have now entered a new phase of the Mayordomo Project in which we have recruited the next cohort of mayordomo interns and mentors. They will be integrated into NMAA’s Escuelita de las Acequias leadership development program, which is intended to foster a community-based learning process that affirms traditional continued on page 41

NEWSBITEs Global Acequia Symposium

By Nejem Raheem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics, Emerson College

Last month in Las Cruces, NM, scholars from around the world gathered to discuss issues pertinent to small-scale traditional irrigation systems and to present at a conference entitled “Acequias and the Future of Resilience in Global Perspective.” Organized chiefly by NMSU faculty member Dr. Sam Fernald, in association with the NM Acequia Association (NMAA) and UNM, the conference drew attendees from Spain, France, Mexico, Morocco and NM, as well as USbased scholars working around the world. Parciantes and acequia activists attending included Paula García, director of the NMAA, and Estévan Arellano, a researcher/historian from Embudo, NM, who ran a workshop to discuss the future of collaboration between irrigators and acequia researchers. The conference resulted in several new proposals that will make research more directly applicable to on-the-ground issues faced by irrigators. Many irrigators present were sometimes dismayed to see that small systems around the world face the same challenges we see here in New Mexico: water shortages, compliance problems and maintenance issues.  For more information, visit and/ or contact the NM Acequia Association (

Legislative Bills Expand the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act

SB234 and HB238, awaiting the governor’s signature, expand the authority of the existing New Mexico Chile Advertising Act. All vendors or processors selling chile products using the term “New Mexico” must be registered with the NM Department of Agriculture (NMDA). Vendors are listed on a public website and must provide customers with a verification form with every sale. “Chile” means any type of capsicum annum. This includes all peppers, such as bell pepper, jalapeño, poblano, Italian sweet peppers, shisitos, Thai peppers and landrace varieties like Chimayó. The NMDA has the authority to come to a person’s property to inspect their business and audit their records if someone reports a violation. The new bill further expands the definition of “New Mexico” by making it unlawful for anyone to “knowingly advertise, describe, label or offer for sale chile peppers, or a product containing chile peppers using the name “of any geographic area located in NM in a misleading or deceptive manner that states or reasonably implies that the chile peppers are, or the product contains, NM chile, unless the chile peppers or chile peppers in the product were grown in NM.” This is not voluntary. Any vendor of any type of capsicum annum in NM that does not register with the NMDA cannot call their chile or peppers by names such as South Valley or Española, even if that is the cultivar name. Out-of-state companies that sell chile pepper products whose cultivar name references any geographic region in NM such as “Santa Fe Grande,” have to call it by a different name. If they had a trademark, such as “Hatch,” prior to July 2013, then the company has to state on the label “Not Grown in NM” if the product was not grown here. This law forces out-of-state companies to change their labels for sales in NM. The New Mexico Chile Association (NMCA), which lobbied for the Act, stated in committee hearings that the industry needed this expansion because farmers in Hatch were facing competition from fresh green chile being sold at Walmart in boxes labeled “Hatch” that was actually from México. According to Save New Mexico Seeds (, the NM Chile Association was created by NM State University to lobby for funding for research that benefits NMSU. Save NM Seeds is opposed to the bill, alleging that the 80 members of the NM Chile Association are imposing their wishes on all chile growers in NM. As it is not voluntary, the bill creates a database of all farmers in NM, which gives NMSU and the NMCA the competition’s information and location, and sets up a “chile police” where anyone can call and report a farmer.


April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Green Fire Times needs Taos Area Ad Sales and Delivery people.

Please email

Green Fire Times is also available at many locations in the metropolitan Albuquerque / Río Rancho area! For the location nearest you, call Nick García at 505-304-2638

Jim Kentch, Lawyer 215 W. San Francisco Street # 202-C Santa Fe, NM 87501-2164 505-660-9160


Green Fire Times • April 2013


Is Adaptation Possible? Climate Change and

Food Security in the Evermore Arid Southwest Miguel Santistevan


look forward to every growing season as another chance to learn from Mother Nature about refining my agricultural techniques. Unfortunately, learning about agriculture today is becoming increasingly more challenging. It is not enough to have access to all kinds of information and even infrastructure when the more typical agricultural techniques may not adequately serve us in terms of food security, energy reduction and the conservation and regeneration of agricultural lands and soils. In many ways we are venturing into uncharted territory. The practice of agriculture today is complicated by a multitude of “natural” and human factors.

Which brings me to the more pressing question. What does agriculture and food security look like in the face of climate change? This question is further motivated by the fact of unsustainable groundwater depletion. Climate change in my experience so far feels like scarce water from droughts, intense heat and UV radiation during the peak of the season, more potentially late and early frosts, and competition with other organisms for our agricultural yields. Competition from rodents, birds, insects, and even herds of animals like elk, comes from their suffering the effects of water and food shortage during dry years when they see our agricultural systems as sources of food and water.

© Miguel Santistevan (2)

The human factors in agriculture range from local politics to larger economic forces. I am a proponent and practitioner of acequia agriculture. One of the historical foundations of acequias is our tradition of sharing water: el reparto. But the reality is not so romantic; not everyone agrees on when and how to share water. The state has created a system of water management that fosters competition in the administration of water. Rather than everyone having equal access, as in acequia culture and tradition, the State has adopted a system of Priority Administration, meaning “first in time, first in right” when

it comes to access to the increasingly scarce water. This overarching policy can translate into people feeling like winners or losers, depending on their hierarchy in the priority system. When there is very little water, it would make sense that everyone would “share and share alike,” but this ideal is complicated when it comes to deciding which irrigators and when they should get the last drops of water when the river eventually goes dry. In my experience, our acequia has gone dry in June for three of past 10 years, with two of those years being the last two growing seasons.

Students checking out the development of the corn plants in Taos.

Chrysalis students fire up the horno they built over the summer for the first time.

Because of my experience with agriculture that becomes increasingly more difficult with the onset of water shortage, I am a proponent and practitioner of agricultural practices that seek to be as sustainable and resilient as possible. Part of this goal relies on learning from the expert cultures who practice dryland and milpa styles of agriculture. I figured I could find a balance between what is acequia-irrigated and drylandstyle by employing techniques that take into account both the needs and benefits of each to try and create an agriculture practice that can still yield in the most adverse of conditions. So, armed with experience from 2011, a growing season whose irrigation water ended the third week in June, I looked forward to experiencing growing success with adapting my agricultural methods to potential ongoing drought. But unfortunately, it seems that the conditions are harsher, making the stakes higher. I was able to hear predictions of drought in the greater Southwest—drought that is predicted to become more of the norm. I heard presentations from Dr. David Gutzler of the University of New Mexico and author William deBuys at the 17th Annual Xeriscape Conference in March 2012. Bill deBuys wrote a book called A Great Aridness, which compiles much information in the modeling and

understanding of climate change. His analysis integrates the problems of increased temperatures, forest mortality, fires, lack of moisture and other desertification effects, and illustrates a challenging future in which we will have to contend with potential water and food shortages. In circumstances coupled with rising energy costs globally, we as citizens of Earth will have to make some hard choices that will affect the livelihoods and happiness of our future generations. The choice I make is to dig in and try to create agricultural and livelihood choices that strive for balance and abundance within the context in which we will live. Things like water-harvesting on the landscape using swales on the contour, cobble/sand mulch and other innovative soil-management techniques are becoming more and more important. I am inspired by dryland agricultural techniques that rely on ample crop spacing and the inherent abilities of crops to find their own soil moisture while supporting each other. So in 2012 we, the Sembradores YouthIn-Agriculture team, planted three milpas in three acequia-irrigated fields, two in white corn and one in blue. We also conducted an investigation into drought adaptation in fava beans. All of my fields are irrigated from the continued on page

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Is Adaptation Possible?

continued from page 31

© Miguel Santistevan

In another trial, we found that fava beans saved from seed that had weathered drought in 2011 had a 40-percent increase in yield over the fava beans from the same seed stock that had been in storage for the same year.

Chris Durán, left, and Kiko Pacheco admire the variation in the white corn they planted in the Parr Field garden project in Taos.

local acequia, though one of the white cornfields is irrigated by the more distant Acequia Madre and did not enjoy as much water. Each of these fields was irrigated about five times. Six varieties of maize were planted in three separate fields, with the two varieties in each field separated in their maturation times. Two of these varieties had never been planted in this area and are totally new to my agricultural system. Two of the varieties have been planted for several years in my fields and are originally from landrace seed stock from villages of the eastern and western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. One of these varieties has been planted almost every year since 2003. To summarize the results, we found that

the limiting factor for production in extreme drought conditions was more due to soil quality than the importance of working with locally adapted seed. Our least-adapted maize variety (the variety with no Taos experience) received the least amount of irrigation water yet did the best. I attribute these results to the fact that this corn was planted in a field that had been fallow for over a decade, whereas one of our other fields completely dried up and did not produce but two cobs, apparently due to lack of organic matter in the soil. Another limiting factor to production in each field was adequate pollination. So in the coming season we will be planting more seeds in each planting spot to increase pollination potential.

As is typical of our research projects, we investigate the answer to a question and then ask many more. So we are gearing up for another year of production, complete with elaborations to our research interests. We now have several generations of seed with varying experience in drought, and we are looking forward to conducting comparison trials with these additional generations in replication of our previous results and developing a dataset over time. In ad-

dition, we are looking to augment our soil quality through the application of compost tea and biochar to address soil fertility and moisture. Biochar is basically created by reducing carbon from wood to a charcoal-like state and then using it to amend the soil. It has been demonstrated that biochar can improve soil quality and moisture retention, and thus crop yields. When we use the horno mud oven, we typically “drown” the fire and seal off the horno with mud. It seems like these conditions are conducive to the creation of charcoal and biochar.  We gathered the charcoal left over from the horno cooking process to test its application.

AIRE conducts a seed cleaning workshop for 5th graders.

We are also looking at ways to turn our left-over corncobs into biochar using a woodstove. We understand that it is important to inoculate the biochar with compost and water before its use in the soil. We will be doing trials on garlic, wheat and maize production this year to see if indeed it improves our soils and crop yields. As we move into the uncertain future of agriculture and food security, we still believe that relatively lowtech, simple and accessible techniques can be developed to nurture resiliency and weather the potentially negative effects of climate change. i


Miguel Santistevan, Executive Director of the nonprof it AIRE (Agriculture Implementation Research & Education), i s M a yo r d o m o o f Acequia Sur del Río de Don Fernando de Taos, runs the Sol Feliz Farm (, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Biology at the UNM. Email:

Green Fire Times • April 2013

HomeGrown New Mexico Urban Homesteaders

HomeGrown NM is offering a wide variety of free classes over the next few months:

Douglas Conwell


s four-year-old Amy Hetager watched her Minnesota greatgrandmother Sarah compost scraps from the kitchen, she thought, “She’s crazy—throwing trash in the yard!” Forty years later, Amy heads up the Santa Fe-based HomeGrown New Mexico organization, which teaches people how to do just that, and much more.

ing “how-to” classes in organizing community gardens. She also served for a time as manager of the Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) Beneficial Farms. CSA members, or subscribers, pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of food.

April 6, 10 am-12 pm 
 Backyard Chicken Basics
 Mike & Molly’s House 747 Old Las Vegas Highway
 Learn how to start your own flock and build a proper brooder. Includes best breeds, healthy diet, types of coops and predator issues

Funding for HGNM’s startup classes was an issue, so they invited an enthusiastic group to join their efforts as a board of directors. With “local food” as their mantra, they held a meeting for 3-year-old Amy Hetager with her father the general public, which 55 Homegrown NM’s traveling demonstration garden and great-grandmother Sarah people attended. Like seeds sprouting in one at HGNM, whether you garden in HGNM represents an alliance of backspring, collaborations started happencontainers on your patio or are a Master yard “urban homesteaders,” community ing with organizations like the Railyard Gardener who sells at the farmers’ margardeners, container gardeners and larger Stewards, and individuals such as Sam ket. The group provides inspiration and farms, with over 1,000 friends on FaceMcCarthy and many others. After two education as well as facilitating positive book and other social media contacts. short years, the group has an impresrelationships among gardeners, plants The heart of the organization, however, sive list of regular participants, followers and the environment. Rather than going is the monthly potlucks held at the comon related blogs, dozens of classes, seed it alone in a garden, folks now have a way munity room donated by Whole Foods and plant exchanges, and the popular to connect in person and online to share on St. Francis Drive. monthly potlucks. The biggest annual resources, ideas and best practices. fundraiser for HGNM is the Kitchen “The more I watched Grandma grow Here are some of Amy’s own “best Garden Tour, co-sponsored by Edible her own food, make her own soap and practice” suggestions: Santa Fe magazine. During their first raise chickens, the more I came to retour, over 350 people visited six gardens • Start plants from seed for early alize that hers was a better, healthier of various sizes. Annual memberships greens like lettuce, arugula, kale and life,” said Amy, who was “homegrown” are now available, which come with two others, indoors where there is plenty in Colorado and has lived 20 years in tickets to the garden tour, all classes and of sunshine or grow-lights NM. In 2008 she met Duskin Jasper • Buy from local nurseries and as orpotlucks—a $250 value for only $35. in Santa Fe, and the two started offerganic as possible With boundless energy and • Use a permeable (not ceramic) “olla” optimism, and a professional or clay pot buried in the soil to water background in technology and plants gradually and deeply. i retail-store management, Amy acts as organizer and cheerleadDouglas Conwell has lived in Santa Fe for er, along with a host of volunover 30 years. teers. She is backed by a hardHe is direcworking board of directors: Ken tor of EarthBower, Janine Cabossel, Jennifer Walks, a SanFrésquez, Duskin Jasper, Mike ta Fe-based Warren and Molly Prewitt, organization whose enthusiasm and dedicathat spontion to community service is sors retreats, what has made it all so successclasses and ful. HGNM anticipates being a travel programs exploring the healing certified nonprofit by May. traditions of cultures in the Southwest and México., There’s something for every Homegrown New Mexico monthly potluck

April 13, 10 am-12 pm
 Seed Starting with Erin O’Neill Community Garden, 6600 Valentine Way (near Southside Library)
 April 13, 10 am-12 pm Season Extension and Row Cover with Jannine Cabossel Railyard Community Room (behind Site Santa Fe) April 28, 1-3 pm Seed Saving and Garden Planning with Kirsten Szykitka Santa Fe Community Farm 1829 San Ysidro Crossing
 Home Grown New Mexico Potluck
 April 30, 6:30 pm
  Whole Foods on St. Francis (Community Room on Córdova)
 May 4, 10 am-12 pm
  Grow a Tomato Garden with Master Gardeners Duskin Jasper and Jannine Cabossel Milagro Community Garden (corner of Rodeo and Legacy)
 Maximizing tomato harvest May 11, 10 am-12 pm  Solar Cooking with Amanda Bramble of Ampersand
  Frenchy’s Community Garden (Osage and Agua Fria)
 May 25, 10 am-12 pm
 Pumpkin Planting with Jannine Cabossel Community Garden 6600 Valentine Way (near Southside Library)
 May 28, 6:30 pm
 Home Grown New Mexico Potluck
 Whole Foods on St. Francis (Community Room on Córdova) For more information, contact Amy Hetager: 505.473.1403

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


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Green Fire Times • April 2013


Bringing Magic into the Garden and Farm by Inviting Pollinators


n the winter the honeybee hives outside my window were draped with six inches of snow. Icicles dangled from the metal roof as the first rays of morning sun sparkled rainbows of light. As warmth entered the small beehive door, the bees were clustered in a tight ball, keeping the colony warm by vibrating their wing muscles. The honey stored in the wax cells, once nectar that was collected from flowers during the summer months, ensured a continual energy source for the cold months. The honeybees slowly moved as a cluster, eating their way from honeycomb to honeycomb until the land warmed again in spring and the first new bloom of flowers signaled the beginning of the pollination season. Spring is the magical time of the year when the fertility of the planet is regenerated, flower-byflower, by pollinators of all kinds— bees, birds, butterflies, bats, moths, wasps, beetles and hummingbirds. Outside in the vegetable garden, burrowed six to eight inches below the surface of the soil where last year’s squash plants grew, a new generation of native squash bees have been hibernating. In wood debris in the backyard by the compost pile, wood-nesting native bees have been incubating in hollowed-out tunnels of reeds. Up on the peak of Atalaya Mountain, my mind travels to the logs I discovered one spring, which were covered in newly hatched ladybird beetles, more commonly known as ladybugs, that had overwintered there. I picture them in spring as they fly down the mountain to lower elevations where they will feast on aphids all summer, the same aphids that the ants love to “herd” like cattle on the sunflower stems. The ants tickle the aphids with their antennae to release “honeydew,” sugar-rich nectar that the ants will take back to their young. Lurking nearby in undisturbed soil are antlions, insects that create concave funnels in the soil to ensnare unsuspecting ants that slide down the slippery traps into their wait-

ing jaws for consumption. Darting above this tiny world of the insects will be the hummingbirds that will migrate into the area in May, winging invisible arcs of delight in the air as they zoom from flower to tree to flower throughout the entire day, sun-up to sundown. Each nearly invisible interaction between insect and flower, and prey and predator, weaves a delicate balance in the web of life and ensures survival to all through future fertility. To most humans living the speedy life, the co-evolutionary dance between pollinators and flowers goes unnoticed and underappreciated, but it is a relationship that has developed over millions of years. Flowers have evolved their beauty and their seductive scents to attract pollinators who act as the “legs and wings” of the flowering plant world, spreading pollen from flower to flower, an act that fertilizes new seed for the future. And while many humans fail to notice this mystical interplay, most of the food we enjoy, such as our favorite fruits and vegetables, and decadent indulgences such as chocolate, coffee and wine, would be non-existent without these important creatures. At the most fundamental level, we might consider that our own survival is at stake if these animals are decimated by human interference, and at a more holistic level, we might consider how we can extend our boundary of caring and engage more consciously in this evolutionary dance. Bee-Coming a Pollinator Ally In my work with the Pollinator Partners Program, I have the joy of meeting people in communities throughout New Mexico who share a delight in pollinators or have a curiosity to learn more about them. As a top-bar beekeeper, I also hang out with other beekeepers, an eclectic group who are fascinated with honeybees and love to spend time tasting local honey and sharing both the magnificent and sorrowful stories about the colonies we

steward. These days, and especially since Colony Collapse Disorder surfaced in 2006, decimating over 50 percent of honeybee populations around the globe, it is challenging to be a beekeeper. But it is not just honeybees that are in decline. Other native pollinators, such as bumblebees, butterflies and bats, are in decline, signaling that we humans must change our practices soon before we leave the pollinator world in irreversible peril. Fortunately, these humble creatures are alluring, and the beauty and fecundity that they are responsible for has attracted attention in the human world; many people are becoming smitten with the idea of being a pollinator ally. Despite the drought conditions in the Southwest, pollinator activists want to create pollinator habitat on their farms and in school, community and backyard gardens. The Pollinator Partners Program The Pollinator Partners Program at Farm to Table supports the creation of pollinator-friendly habitat in NM to enhance and regenerate the ecological, agricultural, economic and cultural health, vitality and well-being of people, pollinators and places. We focus on supporting educational outreach through gardening, land stewardship and beekeeping with presentations, film events, age-appropriate dialogue, and web-based resources to support school and community projects. The Pollinator Partners Program Creates a Buzz Pollinator events for spring 2013 are underway in communities throughout NM. Late last year, as part of Farm to School’s educational activities, Pollinator Partners Director, Loretta McGrath and Farm

© Anna C. Hansen

Loretta McGrath

to Table’s Program Director, Tawnya Laveta facilitated four “train-the-trainer” pollinator workshops in the communities of Truth or Consequences, Anthony/Las Cruces, Silver City and Zuni Pueblo. The theme for the trainings was “Gardening and Farming with Pollinators as Your Allies.” Over 50 participants, including garden educators and practitioners, farm-to-school professionals, small-scale farmers, food activists, aspiring and practicing beekeepers, permaculture gardeners and allied nonprofit professionals, were given an introduction to gardening and farming with honeybees and pollinators. The workshops covered the basics of pollination, chemical-free pollinator habitat creation for honeybees and native pollinators and top-bar beekeeping. The workshops were designed specifically for each participating community, and attendees had the opportunity to network and share resources to develop garden/farm projects for 2013. One participant, George, an accountantturned-farmer said, “This past year I planted fennel and couldn’t believe all the pollinators it attracted. I can’t wait to try other plants to see what pollinators show up on the farm.” continued on page

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



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Green Fire Times • April 2013


continued from page 33

With so much enthusiasm following these events, the Pollinator Partners Program is continuing the pollinator workshops in the spring and summer of 2013. If you are interested in promoting pollinators through your organization, business, school, neighborhood or community, or would like to co-host a pollinator event in your area, contact me at or 505.690.9912 for more information and resources. Tell us about the pollinator habitat you have created. If you have planted a pollinator garden or habitat in your yard, farm, community garden or other public space, please let us know what you are doing by sending us your stories and photos. Stay tuned for our new website in early spring, 2013. Donations to the Pollinator Partners Program can be made to Farm to Table: i Loretta McGrath is the director of Pollinator Partners, a program of Farm to Table.

Zero-Waste continued from page 15

This Window of Opportunity is Narrowing. Out-of-state businesses with deep pockets are moving in. While they may help get this industry going, they decide when to stop thinning, or worse, “harvesting,” where they thin trees that should not be thinned. They also decide how many local jobs are created and how much of their profits stay here to restore our economy.

© Charles Bensinger

The woody biomass-to-renewable energy technologies have hit their “Kitty Hawk moment” and are being used around the world at scales and sizes that make sense in rural communities (that the outof-state companies understand), but that few local communities yet know about. Santa Fe Community College has a robust curriculum that currently teaches some of these technologies. This GEK, or wood gasifier at SFCC, demonstrates how rural communities can use wood chips to easily make electricity. Lots of Third World villages purchase this equipment to power entire villages.

The nonprofit organization I represent, Sustainable Communities, has the resources and groups organized to get this multidimensional initiative moving quickly if funding is provided.

© James Petersen

We’d like to know: What are you already doing to promote these ideas on your own? What are you inspired to do that would help further this project? Do you know of funding sources for this project? Please contact us. i Margo Covington is executive director of Sustainable Communities ZERI, NM, Inc., a NM 501(c)3 dedicated to Bioregional Zero Waste Economic Development. She is also a 28-year consultant for green business and entrepreneurship. margo@covingtonconsulting. com,

What You Can Do to Support Pollinators Plant a Pollinator Garden: Visit local nurseries that carry a diverse selection of native and adapted plants that attract honeybees and native pollinators such as Plants of the Southwest. For a list of native plants that are beneficial to native pollinators, go to the NMSU Los Lunas Plant Center and download the pollinator plant recommendations that entomologist Dr. Tess Grasswitz and plant specialist Dr. Dave Dreesen have recently published. You can link to it at You can also download two pocket guides: Pocket Guide to the Native Bees of New Mexico and Pocket Guide to the Beneficial Insects in New Mexico. Avoid the Use of Chemicals; especially Neonicotinoid Pesticides – Avoid products with the active ingredients of imidacloprid and clothianidin; both are especially harmful to bees and pollinators. Also avoid glyphosate, an herbicide. These chemicals are prevalent in household garden products, agricultural products, lawn/turf treatments and flea and tick powders for animals. Provide Water Habitat for Bees and Pollinators – Place a shallow basin of water filled with stones in several places in your yard or garden for the bees. Fill the basin with stones or floating sticks to give the bees a place to land and drink without drowning. The birds and lizards will enjoy the water source too. Provide Nesting Sites for Native Bees – Some native bees that dig into the ground prefer undisturbed soil, so leave some patches for their habitat. Other native bees prefer wood to build cavities to lay their eggs. Or you can get artsy and build your own wood or bamboo native bee boxes, and you’ll find it will attract native bees who will work alongside honeybees to pollinate the plants you have around you. Become a Backyard Beekeeper or Support Local Beekeepers – If we can support honeybees and pollinators with ample habitat, NM will flourish and our agricultural lands will be more bountiful. You can find resources about beekeeping at the NM State Beekeepers Association website, the Sangre de Cristo Beekeepers Group in Santa Fe and the Albuquerque Beekeepers Group. Les Crowder provides top-bar beekeeping classes in NM through his business, For the Love of Bees. Purchase local honey and bee products at farmers’ markets throughout the state and on the shelves at La Montañita Co-op. Support organic farmers and gardeners and learn to grow food without chemicals – Know your local farmers by supporting them at local farmers’ markets and by buying their products at the co-op. Also, take a class to learn how to grow your own food without chemicals. Host a Bee Party or Potluck – Celebrate the bounty of the bees by hosting gatherings of friends and family that focus on foods bees pollinate. Bring information to share so others can learn how to support bees and other pollinators. Host a Bee Film Event – Invite friends, family and colleagues over for a home viewing of one of several bee films that highlight bee issues. Some films to consider: Vanishing of the Bees, Queen of the Sun, Nicotine Bees and The Strange Disappearance of the Honeybees. Look for the upcoming beautiful and inspiring film, Wings of Life: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth by Louie Schwartzberg. See a preview titled: The Hidden Beauty of Pollination on TedTalks at Encourage your Local Library to carry bee films – make suggestions to your local library to purchase the above-mentioned films so more people have access. Celebrate Honey Harvest with a Bee Dessert Party – Invite friends, and ask each one to bring a jar of local honey for a tasting. Make sumptuous desserts with fruits pollinated by bees. Eat to your bee heart’s content! Create Art that Celebrates Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Bats – Explore these creatures with your community, get children involved and create art in public and private spaces. Do Bug Counts in your Garden – When we provide habitat for pollinators, we never know what beneficial bugs will show up! Hone your observation skills and do bug counts, take photos, keep a bug journal with sketches, and document who has come to the pollinator party! Visit your Local Public Library – Learn more about pollinators through your library’s resources and invite children to explore new books and projects with pollinators. Use your Power to Impact Policy – Momentum is gathering to pressure the EPA and Congress to take action to protect pollinators. Pesticide Action Network (PAN), the Pollinator Partnership, Beyond Pesticides and The Xerces Society are all working on pollinator protection. Check out their websites and get involved to support policy that eliminates the systemic chemicals that are harming pollinators. Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter etc. Contribute to the Pollinator Partners Program – Stay tuned for our new website in early spring, 2013! Planning for school and community gardens is underway. Donations to the Pollinator Partners Program can be made to Farm to Table at

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013

The Wealth



Oriental Medicine as a New Mexico Resource Elene Gusch, DOM


lthough New Mexico is considered a poor state, we have a wealth of options for healthcare that many other parts of the country can hardly imagine. How can we turn this wealth into not only better health outcomes but also a brighter economic future? There is broad agreement at every level of society that maintaining wellness is better and cheaper than trying to fix things that have already gone wrong. However, the market forces that we allow to rule, more often than not, work against this ideal. For example, if people use at-home methods of preventing influenza, huge profits can’t be reaped from selling millions of flu shots. That’s horribly backwards because healthcare costs are eating our country alive. There is very little that is healthy about our “healthcare” system, financially or otherwise. In Oriental medicine we think in terms of keeping patients well through educating them about diet, emotional balance and the like. A famous proverb says that the mediocre physician cures illness, the good physician prevents illness, and the superior physician teaches people how to live so that they stay well. We’re also told that in ancient times doctors were paid when people stayed healthy, not when they got sick—the original HMO plan! Unfortunately, things have changed quite a bit, and despite efforts in that direction, so far our modern system hasn’t figured out how to pay healthcare providers for having patients who don’t need treatment. But if we can somehow manage this kind of emphasis on wellness instead of sickness, our healthcare costs will surely drop. Many of our most financially draining patients are those with largely

preventable chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes. We know we have to get such “lifestyle” illnesses under control. Oriental medicine is an excellent framework for doing that.

ble for this help with their loans. Still, there are a great many DOMs, and we do a lot of primary care. In a state that is short on MDs, there must be a way to use us to fill some of the gaps.

To a large extent, health insurance has ignored wellness-based care, and our Health “Maintenance” Organizations even specify in their plans that they don’t cover treatment intended for maintenance. We do have a relatively good situation in our state, in which acupuncture and some other aspects of Oriental medicine are covered, albeit sometimes poorly, by insurers based in NM. However, there is no Medicare coverage at all, and Medicaid has been limited to a few special circumstances. This means that many of the people who could benefit most are left out.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that states must have health insurance exchanges in place by 2014 to make coverage available to most of the population. In NM, it looks like acupuncture will be included as an essential health benefit. This should make a real difference in access for our citizens—when it happens, which may not be the date originally prescribed. Just last week, Gov. Martinez signed an act approved by the Legislature, establishing health insurance exchanges in New Mexico.

And then there is the geographic problem. Medical care of all types is scarce and often of poor quality in the less-populated parts of the state, and non-mainstream care is even harder to get. (I am the only provider of acupuncture in a large swath of western NM, and I’m only there once a week.) This is exacerbated by the fact that those areas tend to have a higher proportion of low-income people. Could financial incentives help with getting more providers into rural areas? So far, that hasn’t seemed to be enough. MDs are already paid much more in some underserved areas, yet it’s hard to get them to go and live there. Doctors and nurses can get their student loans forgiven if they practice in such places for a certain period of time. While that’s a good idea, it doesn’t encourage practitioners to put down roots in a community. And Doctors of Oriental Medicine aren’t eligi-

The health insurance exchange plan, alas, will leave the insurance companies in charge, no matter what the details turn out to be. It will also contribute to high costs by adding even more plans to the mix—the cost of dealing with a multitude of plans is a huge reason why American medicine is so expensive. Analyses done so far say that this approach is unaffordable for our relatively small population. New Mexico does have another option though, one that’s homegrown and tailored for us. The Health Security Plan, which was submitted again in this year’s Legislature, is a framework that could cover most of us and have a real shot at controlling costs. The exchange could morph into a more efficient model like this if we show the will to do it. i Elene Gusch, DOM practices acupuncture and Oriental medicine in Albuquerque and is a board member of the New Mexico Society for Acupuncture and Asian Medicine (NMSAAM). 505.255.0373, elenedom@aol. com,

2885 Trades West Road (off Siler) Santa Fe, NM 87505

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013

Personal Sustainability

Health and Wellness Tips

Warming up for Spring Cleansing Article and Photos by Dr. Japa K. Khalsa


ith the subtle warmth starting to embrace our landscape and consciousness, spring is the perfect time for easy cleansing. For springtime allergies or an easy cleanse, try a morning breakfast drink for two weeks: the liver cleanse with lots of citrus. Citrus has so much vitamin C and bioflavonoids (found in the white part of the peel) that it can act as a natural antihistamine for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. The properties that Eastern medicine uses to help counteract allergies with vitamin C and citrus are that it warms, energizes and moves obstructions. Proof of this might be experienced after taking too much vitamin C and noticing how quickly it moves obstructions on the way to the bathroom. Try a timely recipe of liquid sunshine in the morning on an empty stomach and enjoy being energized and clearing out. Here is a recipe that takes 10 minutes and can be done before breakfast to clear constipation and regulate the body’s immune response.

Liver Flush

• Half a grapefruit peeled (leave as much of the white part of the peel as possible) • Two oranges peeled (leave as much of the white part of the peel as possible) (Use more oranges if your palate needs a sweeter drink) • 1-2 inches of fresh ginger root chopped up • 2 tbs. olive oil • 8 sprigs of parsley (parsley tastes best but you can substitute another green like kale, as pictured) • ½ - 1 clove of garlic (to taste tolerance, optional) • 1 clove • ½ cup of water (or slightly more depending on thickness desired) (For a sweeter drink, substitute unsweetened apple juice instead of water) Put a little water in blender. Start blending the ingredients one at a time in order, except olive oil. When all ingredients are blended, more water may be added if it is too thick. At the end, add olive oil and re-blend.

Stinging Nettle:

A prickly solution for allergy sufferers Nettle leaf tea—strain then drink for allergy relief. What is the number-one herbal remedy for allergies? None other than the lovely stinging nettle leaf, which makes a delicious tea. It can be grown in the garden and is considered a soil builder, but beware that it can easily take over a garden, similar to peppermint. Small amounts of the herb are always beneficial, but a high dose is recommended to curb allergies, so speak to a professional herbalist to determine a good dose. Instead of just drinking one cup of herbal tea, try putting a professionally recommended amount of dried nettle into a gallon jar and pour boiling water over it, letting it steep. Once it cools and settles, strain the tea and drink it all day long. Stinging nettle leaf is more nutritious than spinach and can be eaten steamed early in the season (steaming destroys the fine hairs on the plant). The mineral levels in this plant are high.


Congee (pictured with quinoa instead of rice) is an easy-to-make, satisfying Chinese medicinal dish that helps rebuild and strengthen the body. Since the dinner table is the place where so many decisions are made, where family matters are decided and where sustainable life changes and values are created, it’s good to have an easy-to-make dish that is healing and helps digestion. This simple meal, eaten in China for breakfast, lunch or dinner, can be made inexpensively. Congee is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five-to-six-times the amount of water. Rice is the most common grain, although millet, quinoa or other grains can be used as well. Rinse your grain well, and then cook the rice and water in a covered pot four-to-six hours on warm or use the lowest flame possible. A crockpot works very well. It’s better to use more water than too little, and the longer it cooks, the more “powerful” it becomes. Serve it as a side dish, or season it to taste with butter, soy sauce or salt and pepper, and eat it by itself. Healing Properties: This rice soup is easily digested, tonifies the blood and qi energy, harmonizes digestion, and is cooling and nourishing. It is helpful for recovering from cold or flu because it is known to strengthen the blood and increase energy. The cooling, moistening and strengthening properties help to reduce inflammation. Other therapeutic herbs/foods can be added. Their properties are amplified by the benefits of rice. Try adding in a little of your vegetable odds and ends from your vegetable box or garden, or try one of these simple additions: mung beans, carrots, onions, radishes, potatoes, etc. When added at the beginning of prep time, the vegetables disperse into the congee and become very easy to digest. Congee is a great crockpot dish! Just leave it with plenty of water to cook all day. Source: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.

Give Nostrils an Oil Change and Recharge Energy

Nasya oil has become popular lately, and here is how it works. Nasya is a yoga/ ayurveda practice that allows special oils with plant properties to go into the nose and sinus passages. In ayurveda, it is believed that these tissues, through their connection to the head, are a direct support of the life-force energy. During an inhalation, everything that we breathe goes through these passages. Putting special oils in the nose that absorb throughout the day can shield against viruses and germs. Sounds intimidating? Here is how: Start with simple oil like sesame oil, or purchase Nasya oil, which includes these therapeutic herbs. Tilt the head back (about 45 degrees) and pour a dropper-full in the nose until the oil is felt sliding down the back of the throat. Then either spit this oil out or swallow it. Oh yes, and be sure to wipe the nose or be stuck with a glistening mustache. Start slowly with a small amount of oil just once a day and assess the reaction. Dr. Japa K. Khalsa received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and completed her Master of Oriental Medicine at Midwest College of Medicine. She is a board-certified and licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and practices in Española, NM. 505.747.3368,,

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



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


Green Fire Times • April 2013

Managing Manure continued from page 25

Agency’s voluntary AgSTAR Program, which promotes the recovery and use of methane from animal manure.

But there are unique challenges in New Mexico. “The moisture content of the manure is a critical thing,” Messer said, explaining that the state’s arid climate affects the energy value of the waste. Other differences between projects here and in other states include how much manure can be readily collected for processing and the availability of nearby farmland to utilize the nutrient-rich fertilizer, an end-product of the digester process. R-Qubed is relying on a patented “sweetener” that will be added to the digestion process to allow the company to boost energy production by 30 percent and make the project economically feasible. “At the end of the day, it’s profitable,” Hughes said, adding that a federal grant for up to

$13.5 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Section 1603 program also will help. The project also would help create a sustainable economy in the Las Cruces area with about 100 jobs paying an average of $33,000 a year, Hughes said. In the Pecos Valley, the co-op’s efforts have stalled, but Greathouse hasn’t given up on finding a way to make a digester project work. “It needs to go forward,” he said. “We have to figure this out… We need to learn ways to keep us sustainable.” i

Soussan, Christopher and Pontzer are with Concept Green LLC, a Albuquerque, NMbased Certif ied B Corp, specializing in sustainability reporting. Concept Green’s interest in anaerobic digesters and their potential impact in NM was sparked by their work with the Innovation Center for US Dairy’s sustainability initiatives. 505.414.9313,,

Mayordomo continued from page 26 acequia knowledge while also cultivating leadership for the future. Our new round of interns will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and take part in the mentorship process to pass on the tradition of mayordomía in their community. This is a living, fluid project, and to further this endeavor, this year the NMAA will host mayordomo workshops, widely distribute the Mayordomo Handbook & Field Guide to acequia communities, provide support to interns and mentors, as well as continue to develop the best approach to documenting the activities related to mayordomía. The contribution of mayordomos to their acequias—their wisdom, local knowledge and self-sacrifice—have undoubtedly contributed to the resiliency of acequias, which are based upon the principle that everyone

shares in times of abundance and in times of drought. Water shortages can be a challenging hardship for parciantes, as has been evidenced in recent years, but acequias have a long history and a good track record for managing water in a fair and sustainable way. And although some acequias have had to adapt to new methods of water allocation during drought, they are still rooted in the idea of equally sharing this vital and sacred resource. The view of water as a community resource has never swayed from the acequia tradition, and it is this concept of the repartimiento, largely implemented by the mayordomo, which has sustained acequias for generations. i

Santa Fe Preparing for Third Consecutive Year of Drought

The Santa Fe area is going from the two driest years on record into a third year of drought, but city water resource managers say the city will be ready. “The city has planning ordinances and operations plans for dealing with drought, and over the past two years we have been implementing these strategies,” said Brian K. Snyder, director of the Public Utilities Department and Water Utility Division. “Water conservation and drought awareness are cornerstones of the city’s comprehensive approach, drought or no drought.” The city has invested in a diverse mixture of surface and groundwater supply sources: the Buckman and city well fields, the Canyon Road Water Treatment Plant on the Upper Santa Fe River and the Buckman Direct Diversion on the Río Grande. These are supplemented by reclaimed wastewater reuse. In case federal Bureau of Reclamation San Juan-Chama Project water is curtailed, the city also has several years’ worth of San Juan-Chama Project water stored in reservoirs. By resting the aquifer over the last four years, the groundwater supply has increased and the city can use this resource in a sustainable manner. Should the drought conditions significantly worsen over the coming year, the city has strategies for short-term relief from temporary drought-related water supply shortages, including mandatory water restrictions for certain types of water use. Water demand, water management and other “human” factors can exacerbate the impact that drought has on a region, city officials said. Santa Feans can prepare and better survive current droughts through a range of actions, including installing water efficient appliances and low-use water landscaping and adopting water conservation habits, like not letting the water run and only washing full loads of dishes or clothes. The city recommends Santa Feans: • Sweep patios, driveways and sidewalks; • Never hose off paved surfaces; • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes; • Take quick showers and use low-flow showerheads; • Turn off the faucet for teeth brushing; •  Don’t let the water run to “heat it up.”; look for leaks inside and out and fix them; • Use an irrigation calculator to create a water-saving irrigation schedule. The calculator at is designed for the Santa Fe climate. More information about water conservation in Santa Fe, including the Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan, residential and commercial rebate programs, and outdoor/indoor water use requirements, is available at The US Drought Monitor is a weekly report on current drought conditions available at http://droughtmonitor.

Quita Ortiz is the New Mexico Acequia Association’s project specialist. quita@

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April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


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NM’s Plains of San Augustín Designated “Most Endangered Place”

The Plains of San Augustín has been designated a “Most Endangered Place” by the NM Heritage Preservation Alliance, a statewide, private, nonprofit organization. The listing was designed to bring attention to historic, cultural and natural resources (such as the state’s water supply) that are endangered in some way and to encourage concerned individuals and organizations to develop methods for protecting those resources. The Plains of San Augustín, a grassland west of Socorro and Magdalena, is the remnant of a Pleistocene lake that disappeared at the end of the last ice age. It supports ranches large and small, as well as abundant wildlife. It is still possible to find original homestead houses and fences, as well as artifacts from Paleo Indian culture. The new West is also represented by the presence of the Very Large Array radio astronomy observatory. In 2007, a New York based corporation asked permission of the Office of the State Engineer to pump 54,000 acre feet of water each year from the underground aquifer through a pipeline to the Río Grande near Socorro (a distance of about 60 miles) and then to points north. The water underlying the Plains is largely fossil water that cannot be replaced. The basin supplies underground flows of unknown magnitude southeasterly to the Río Grande and southwesterly to the Gila River system. According to Frank Titus, who,with Dan Blodgett, wrote Hydrogeology of the San Augustin Plains, New Mexico, the basin is in a steady state, with 100,000 acre feet of water per year both entering and leaving the basin. The ultimate consequences of the proposed pumping are not clear. In addition to disrupting already existing underground flows to the Río Grande and to the Gila River systems, the drying up of nearby wells would occur early on. Eventually such extreme pumping would lead to ground subsidence. The residents of the Plains and surrounding mountainous areas registered more than 1,000 formal protests. The protestants, represented principally by Bruce Frederick of the NM Environmental Law Center, have won the first two rounds in court. The Office of the State Engineer dismissed the application in March, 2012 on the grounds that it lacked adequate specificity. The applicant appealed the decision to the 7th District Court, but in November, 2012 Judge Matthew Reynolds again denied the application. That decision has been appealed to the NM Court of Appeals. For more information on the San Augustín Plains water issue, contact Carol Pittman of the San Augustín Water Coalition at 575.772.5866, or For more information on the NM Heritage Preservation Alliance, visit

Whole Foods to Require GMO Labeling

Last month Whole Foods Market became the first US retailer to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some believe could radically alter the food industry. The labeling is to be in place within five years. Whole Foods’ president, A.C. Gallo, has said that the new labeling requirement is in response to consumer demand. Labels now used on some products at Whole Foods and a number of other food stores disclose when a product has been verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit certification organization, as being free of genetically engineered ingredients.

Citing reputable studies, critics have charged that genetically modified foods are negatively impacting the health of people and animals, and insist that consumers have a right to know about the ingredients in the food they eat. They also allege that there have been major attempts by industry, in collusion with a revolving door at the Food and Drug Administration, to silence the opposition. A hard-fought ballot initiative was defeated in California last year after the biotech industry and corporations such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola spent millions to fight it, telling voters that labeling would increase food prices and hurt farmers. A similar effort was quickly stopped in this year’s NM Legislature. That didn’t stop the Santa Fe City Council from calling for labeling. Several years ago Walmart stopped selling milk from cows treated with growth hormones. Today, few milk cows in this country receive hormone injections. Twenty major food companies, as well as Walmart, met in Washington in January to discuss the GMO issue, and there seems to be a growing willingness to consider labeling.

Río Grande del Norte National Monument

The Río Grande del Norte in New Mexico is the largest site among five new national monuments that President Obama designated last month to protect historic or ecologically significant sites. Obama exercised his executive authority at a time of partisan gridlock over wilderness issues. New Mexico’s congressional delegation has tried for six years to get Congress to preserve the area. The monument comprises nearly 240,000 acres west of the Río Grande Gorge that houses canyons, volcanic cones, springs and grasslands, as well as a great diversity of wildlife and historical remnants – from petroglyphs to parts of Camino Real. The area is mostly owned and managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. That includes the area designated last year as the Río Grande Gorge Recreation area – including the Wild Rivers Recreation Area from the Colorado border south to the confluence of the Red River and the Orilla Verde Recreation Area from the Taos Junction Bridge south to the village of Pilar. It extends west across broad plains, including the slopes of San Antonio Mountain just south of the Colorado state line. Designating the area as a national monument preserves not just a place, but a way of life. Ten thousand acres of pockets of private and state trust lands within the designated area will not be affected, and traditional wildland uses such as firewood and piñon harvesting, as well as grazing will continue. Communities in the area, along with sportsmen, ranchers, business owners and conservationists, have been strongly supportive of the new designation. Backers estimate the designation could mean $15 million in new annual revenues and nearly 300 new jobs, mostly in the private tourism sector, for northern NM. Community leaders are continuing their efforts in support of preservation of another important area nearby: the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area.

Sapphire Energy Establishes Commercial Relationship

Sapphire Energy, which last year began producing “green crude” oil from algae in Columbus, NM, has agreed to have Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company become its first customer. The oil can currently be used as diesel fuel. The companies are seeking certification of the fuels from the EPA for on-road use, which may take six months. Tesoro can refine about 675 barrels of oil daily. The company, the largest independent refiner on the West Coast, has seven refineries in the West, and operates Shell, Tesoro and USA Gasoline stations. Whole Foods, along with Trader Joe’s, has also pledged to not sell genetically modified fish. GMO ingredients have been increasingly embedded in the global food supply since the 1990s. Most of the corn and soybeans in the US has been genetically modified to make them resistant to a herbicide used to control weeds.

According to Sapphire’s website, its algae is produced from sunlight and carbon dioxide and grown in open ponds with non-potable, non-fresh water. The demonstration plant was funded, in part, by a $50-million US Department of Energy grant and a $54.4-million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture. Bill Gates is also a backer. Sapphire expects its plant to encompass 300 acres and produce as much as 100 barrels a day by the end of 2014.

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


Earth Day Events ALBUQUERQUE

April 20, 10 am-2 pm Earth Day Celebration

ABQ BioPark, 2601 Central NW

Learn how our actions matter when it comes to helping animals and plants. Dozens of discovery stations, speakers and hands-on activities. Visit the zoo, aquarium, Botanic Garden (Children’s Seed Festival) and Tingley Beach. Half-price weekend. Recycle old cell phone and phone accessories. 505.848.7180,

April 21, 8-11 am (hourly) Wild Walk

2-mile walk to the bosque. Family fun with animals, education and wellness. $20. Benefitting Wild Earth Guardians. Presented by Aveda Institute, NM in partnership with ABQ BioPark. Info:


April 20, 8 am-5 pm Earth Day at Aztec Ruins Aztec Ruins National Monument

Demonstrations and activities for people of all ages and abilities. Games, booths and presentations related to environmental stewardship. Free. 505.334.6174,

Los Alamos

April 20, 10 am-2 pm Earth Day Festival 3540 Orange Street

Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s biggest event of the year. Booths and displays where community groups will show their earth-friendly products and practices, and provide info about the Pajarito Plateau. Entertainment by Clan Tynker. 505.662.0460,

Santa FE

April 20 Earth Day Events, Genoveva Chavez Community Center 3221 Rodeo Road

A variety of entertaining and educational activities for all ages. Tree seedling giveaways, family activities, dancing and more. Free. Sponsored by the City Recreation Division, Keep Santa Fe Beautiful and the SF Solid Waste Management Agency. Details: 505.955.4000,

April 20, 12-3 PM Earth Week Events

Whole Foods (Cerrillos Rd.)

Upcycle Adventures – learn to make your own recycled paper and recycled arts projects; Photo Station – fun photo booths; Blaze Your Own Trail Mix – sample the benefits of buying bulk; Family Fun Cook-off – learn healthy kid-friendly recipes. Free.

April 22, 2-3 pm From Spoil to Soil

Whole Foods (St. Francis Dr.)

Whole Foods’ new Green Mission rep will show how your kitchen and garden scraps can be transformed to rich potting soil. Go home with a free bag of local compost, some tasty treats and food for thought on how to make a big impact with small changes.

April 22, 10am-2pm Resource Fair and Bike Ride Rodeo Plaza to SFCC

Join SF Community College’s bike ride from Sirius Cycles to SFCC and visit with college resources, local nonprofits and others. Free. 505.428.1266

April 20-28 Earth Week at SF Community College

Entertainment, art-making, film screenings and presentations. April 25: Chainbreaker Collective presentation on the struggle for environmental justice. Sponsored by the Office of Student Development, Student Sustainability Clubs and the Student Government Association. 505-428-1266,


Green Fire Times • April 2013

April 27-28 Solar Fiesta

Santa Fe Community College 6401 Richards Ave.

Exhibits and workshops on renewable energy topics for children, homeowners and job seekers. Free. Sponsored by SFCC and the NM Solar Energy Association. Info: 505.246.0400,

April 27, 12-3 pm Earth Week Events

Whole Foods (St. Francis Dr.)

From Spoil to Soil: Whole Food’s new Green Mission rep will show how your kitchen and garden scraps can be transformed to rich potting soil. Go home with a free bag of local compost; Recycling with the Stars – Someone from SF’s Recycling Center will talk about reducing landfill waste. There will be a Photo booth where you can have your photo taken; Savor the Local Flavor – lite-bites from local producers; Watershed 101 – The SF Watershed Association will offer fun learning activities to help conserve our most precious resource. Free.

April 27, 6-7 pm Sustainable Santa Fe Awards

Eldorado Hotel & Spa, 309 W. San Francisco St.

Award presentations for Environmental Stewardship, Social Justice and Economic Health projects. Free.

Celebrated Artists Engage in ‘Picnic for Earth’ Exhibition • April 19-26 The Nature Conservancy, Patina Gallery and the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market invite the public to a “Picnic for Earth” exhibition celebrating our planet, the bounty it provides and the people who help preserve it. Ivan Barnett, owner of Patina Gallery, curated the exhibit, which features 15 celebrated artists from New Mexico. Each artist, inspired by NM’s landscapes, created an original work of art from a picnic basket provided by The Nature Conservancy. The exhibition runs from April 19 – 26 at Patina Gallery, 131 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe. “Nature does so much for us,” says Terry Sullivan, the Conservancy’s state director. “Nature cleans our air, filters our water and provides a place for us to play. As we celebrate Earth Day, this partnership offers us an opportunity to raise awareness about the many ways the Conservancy protects important lands and waters that benefit people and nature.” “This exhibit is a creative crossroads between art, food and nature,” says Barnett. “It was exciting to see the artists embrace this creative challenge. Some visited places where The Nature Conservancy, works such as local preserves, farms and the mountains, to find their inspiration.” Nancy Judd gathered materials at the Santa Fe Canyon preserve, just a few miles from the city center. “Since I create fashion sculptures from trash, turning the basket into a garment was a natural choice for me,” says Collaris and Tejaku have Judd. Laurie Archer of Santa Fe found her inall the makings for a picnic spiration from flowers, fruits and vegetables. In Artist Geoffrey Gorman addition to Archer’s picnic basket, visitors can view her photogravure – etchings made from photographs. She is represented by the Verve Gallery, which along with Patina Gallery, will donate a portion of sales to The Nature Conservancy and the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Additionally, proceeds from a private auction of the “Picnic for Earth” baskets will be shared by both nonprofits.


Gross National Happiness Comes

Sustainable Happiness Week April 13-21


Santa Fe

Merle Lefkoff

housands of years ago, when we were still wandering around the African savannah, no one suffered from what writer Philip Louv terms “nature-deficit disorder.” Gallup wasn’t there to survey our ancestors to find out whether or not they were happy. After interviewing hundreds of British children, researchers found that “children are happiest when they play outside with other children.” Adults, as well, yearn to be in natural settings—whether it is a pick-up basketball game, a simple family picnic, a trip to one of our national parks, or hiking up a summer trail, knee-deep in wildflowers. Scientists agree that we have co-evolved with nature and yearn to be out in the natural world, not spending most of our days locked inside our technology, removed from what makes us intuitively happy.

“The time has come for global action,” he said, “to build a new world economic system that is no longer based on the illusion that limitless growth is possible on our precious and finite planet or that endless material gain promotes well-being. Instead, it will be a system that promotes harmony and respect for nature and each other, that respects our ancient wisdom and traditions, that protects our most vulnerable people as our own family, and that gives us time to live and enjoy our lives and to appreciate, rather than destroy, our world. It will be an economic system, in short, that is fully sustainable and rooted in true, abiding well-being and happiness.” The Santa Fe-based Center for Emergent Diplomacy was invited to assist the prime minister of Bhutan and the United Nations by providing leadership and information to facilitate the rollout of a new, more comprehensive way to measure human happiness and well-being. Until now, every country in the world has been measuring progress solely through the use of economic indicators such as GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or GNP (Gross National Product), which only measure the total market value of goods and services produced in a country in a given year.

© Seth Roffman

When residents of the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, high in the Himalayas, decided to join the modern world several decades ago, they threw aside the notion of an “economic development” plan. Instead, they began planning for “ecological and human development.” With a relatively untouched environment, abundant natural resources, and a sophisticated Buddhist culture devoted to ending suffering in the world, the Bhutanese determined to be modern—and happy! After 30 years of hard work that attracted some of the most renowned scientists from many institutions, Bhutan launched its “Gross National Happiness” index at the United Nations last year, April 2012.

Prime Minister Jigme Thinley, Bhutan’s first democratically elected prime minister, was clear about Bhutan’s message to the world:

Merle Lefkoff explains Gross National Happiness at the March meeting of the Santa Fe chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce.

© Anna C. Hansen


Prime Minister Jigme Thinley of Bhutan

The new measure, GNH (Gross National Happiness), adds indicators of ecological health, social well-being and community vitality to the measurement of how much money is circulated and spent. GNH holds the promise of a new global economic paradigm that honors our instinctive need to protect, not violate, our environment, as well as our instinctive need for family and community ties, and for fulfilling work that allows us to feed our children without taking away our precious time with them. In its efforts to facilitate this global movement to change the way in which progress is measured, the Center for Emergent Diplomacy is working to

have Santa Fe become a “Happiness City.” The Center has invited Santa Fe residents to take a happiness survey and to join in launching this effort during Sustainable Happiness Week, April 13-21, during which there will be a series of fun events intended to turn people’s attention to the happiness and well-being of community members. For more information, visit Merle Lefkoff, an international mediator, is director of the newly formed Center for Emergent Diplomacy. merle@

Santa Fe Happiness Happenings

April 13 – Pursuit of Happiness Day Launch at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Information table, reading of city proclamation April 14 – 11am—Journey Santa Fe discussion about long-term ideas Collected Works Bookstore April 14 – Afternoon family happiness hike—Location TBA. Organized by Mountain Kids Summer Camp April 16 – 6:30 pm— CCA, Film Happy followed by discussion and refreshments April 18 – MIX event April 19 – Art and Happiness Day. Museums and galleries promoting Happiness events. Hear Here Happiness with Molly Sturges April 20 – Happiness Exchange, Free Flea Market. Come share items for exchange. No dollars involved. Refreshments served. Location TBA April 21 – Community Celebration at the Hillside Café. Tables, storytelling (including Joe Hayes), music Info: 505.699.1662,

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes


What's Going On! Events / Announcements

April 22-28 Pueblo Days/ American Indian Week Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW

Indian market, exhibits and dances, Info: 505.843.7270,

Earth Week Events, see page 44 ALBUQUERQUE

April 2-30 (Tues.), 2:30-6:30 pm LEED for Contractors CNM Workforce Training Center

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design operations and maintenance new construction and renovation course for developers, contractors, architects, builders and anyone interested in learning green building principles. Free for qualified applicants through a grant from the Dept. of Workforce Solutions. 505.224.5271,

April 3, 5:30-7:30 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz, 125 2nd St. NW

Network with people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. Topic: ABQ Academy’s Sustainability Program, which includes sustainability education, sustainable site management and energy use. Hosted by the Albuquerque & Rio Rancho Green Chamber of Commerce. Info: 505.244.3700,

April 5-6 31st National Pesticide Forum University of New Mexico

“Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient Communities through Organic Practices” Co-sponsored by Beyond Pesticides, UNM Sustainability Program and La Montañita Co-op. $15/$75. robin@lamontanita. coop,

April 10, 11 am-2pm NM Food & Farm Ag Policy Council Meeting Mid-Region Council of Governments, 809 Copper NW

NM food and farm initiatives and the 2013 legislative session outcomes. 505.247.1750

April 13, 9 am-2 pm Youth Honoring Mother Earth La Plazita Institute, 831 Isleta Blvd. SW

Youth-led summit on environmental sustainability and advocacy. Application deadline 4/5. Info: tianietoya@hotmail. com, QRQGHT6

April 15-20 Aquaponics Association’s Tour de Tanks 909-B 15th Street nw

Home-scale aquaponics system in a small backyard greenhouse. Aquaponics systems use less water than many outdoor gardens. 505.353.1719,


April 25-27 30th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow The Pit

Dancing and singing competitions with over 3,000 participants. Indian Traders Market, native foods, performances.

May 3, 5:30-7:30 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz, 125 2nd St. NW

Network with people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. Info: 505.244.3700,

May 10 -11 NM Film & Media Industry Conference Embassy Suites

Presented by the NM Film Office. info@

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.

Southwest Barter Club

Healthcare using Barter Bucks instead of cash or insurance. Access to acupuncture, chiropractic, eye care, fitness and more. 505.715.2889,


Through April 5 Hearings on Sandia Basin Water Transfer Bataan Memorial Bldg., 407 Galisteo

April 3, 5:30-7:30 pm Santa Fe Green Drinks SFCF, 501 Halona Street

Informal networking event for people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. Presentation by Kim Keil of Horizons Sustainable Financial Services on Making an Impact with Impact Investing. Free. Green Drinks meets the first Wednesday of each month at different locations. Hosted by the SF Green Chamber of Commerce. 505.427.9123,

April 4 10 am-4 pm SF Business Expo and Job Fair DeVargas Mall

505.988.33279, bridget@santafechamber. com,

April 4, 1-3 pm Global Warming: Where Are We? Renesan Institute for Lifelong Learning

Steven Rudnick, PhD lecture. $7/$10. 505.982.9274, renesan@newmexico. com, lectures/L-9.html

April 4-6 Healing Gardens Design Workshop 501 Halona Street

Acquire knowledge and tools to create gardens and outdoor spaces that nurture the body and soul with practical cost management strategies. Taught by landscape architect Susan Combs Bauer. $975. 505.216. 0775,

April 5, 4-5:45 pm Fine Arts for Children & Teens Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive

Opening reception for spring student exhibit. Over 200 works by elementary students in FACT visual arts programs. Through 4/30.

April 5, 5 pm Save Our Hens Benefit The Performance Space, Eldorado

Dance, silent auction, food. Performers: Matthew Andreae, Laurianne Fiorentino, Joey Wilson, George Adelo, special guests. $20 suggested donation.

April 8-12 Spring Break Farm Camp SF Community Farm

Fun-filled week of gardening, natural arts & crafts, homesteading, wilderness skills and games. Children ages 7-12. Visits from animal friends and acrobats. $150. Info: 505.470.9245, mmeade@concoll. edu, Registration: event/5782424387?ref=ebtn#  

April 8, 3-5 pm Eldorado/285 Recycles

Eldorado area recycling advocacy group monthly meeting. All welcome. 505.570.0583,

April 10, 5-7 pm New Copper Mining Rules Hearing Apodaca Hall, PERA Bldg. 1120 Paseo de Peralta

The Water Quality Control Commission is hearing arguments about proposed new copper mining rules. The Attorney General, Amigos Bravos, the Gila Resources Information Project, Turner Ranch and others say the new rules increase contamination of groundwater. The NM Mining Assn. and Freeport McMoRan favor the rules. Public comments will be heard and recorded. Comments may also be sent to the commission by May 1.

April 10, 11 am-6 pm Community Support Day for The Hospice Center Whole Foods (both stores)

Five percent of the day’s sales will support The Hospice Center, which offers compassionate care for terminally ill patients and their families. Info: 505.988.2211, www.

April 10, 5:30 pm New SF Community Food Co-op Forming Unitarian Universalist Congregation 107 W. Barcelona

Healthy, affordable food. Find out how to become a member. Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. Not an activity of the UUCSF. http:// sfcommunitycoop/

April 12-May 12 Annual IAIA Student BFA Exhibition Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Pl.

Hearings on water rights application to pump 1,500 acre-ft. annually from Sandia Water Basin for a development east of ABQ. The NM Environmental Law Center, on behalf of East Mountain residents, is challenging the application. Open to the public.

April 6, 9 am-4 pm Algae Micro-farming Class SFCC Jemez Rooms

Through Jan. 5, 2014 New World Cuisine: Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Mas Museum of International Folk Art

April 6, 10 am-1 pm Citizens Climate Lobby Meeting Natural Grocers (Community Rm.) 3328 Cerrillos Rd.

April 12-15 Women Gardener, Farmer, Rancher Training SFCC Jémez Rooms

10-11: local business, 12-1: national conference call. groups/507023049333489/

A conference for women farmers and ranchers interested in an improved quality of life, profitability and land health. 505.819.3828,

April 6, 1-4 pm Pruning Workshop SF Community Farm

April 13 E-Waste Recycling Day 1142 Siler Road

Exhibit focuses on the mixing of food cultures in the Americas. 505.476.1200,

April 1-May 1, 5 pm Buckaroo Ball Request for Proposals

Accepting applications from nonprofits in the fields of education and health & wellness. The fund supports services for children at risk in SF County. 505.988.9715, http://

Green Fire Times • April 2013

Join two of the algae industry’s leading experts as they review small-scale spirulina algae micro-farming, 505.428.1270, Gordon. or register at

Workshop with arborist Bob Berry. Learn why, when and how to properly manage your trees. Suggested donation: $20.

Showcases a diversity of styles that combine traditional skill and contemporary vision. 505.983-1666,

Residents can drop off computers, CRT monitors, computer monitors, peripherals, electronic equipment, cell phones and televisions (fee for CRT monitors and TVs). Info: 505.955.2200

April 13, 19; 9 am-2 pm Spring Workdays Dead Dog Trail, off Buckman Rd.

Volunteers enjoy nature while working on trails. Projects include switchback, retaining wall and new trail construction. 505.753.7331 or

April 15 Opening; Exhibition through May 17 Earth Chronicles Project, The Artist’s Process: NM Santa Fe Art Institute 1600 St. Michael’s Dr.

Exhibition, film screening, poetry workshop with Lauren Camp. Diverse artists share their passionate relationship to their cultures and the environment. 4/15, 6 pm. opening/ Q&A, screening: $10/$5. Exhibition free. 505.424.5050,

April 16, 5 pm Deadline Piñon Awards Nominations

SF Community Foundation’s awards to nonprofits that have made an extraordinary contribution to the community. Guidelines:

April 17, 5:30 pm Santa Fe Water Awareness Group Meeting Natural Grocers Community Room 3328 Cerrillos Rd. Presentation by Reese Baker on water catchment. 575.770.1228, healingthescars@, www.WaterAwarenessGroup.

April 17, 6:30 pm Water Quality in Santa Fe Lulu’s Restaurant 3101 Cerrillos Rd. (Banquet Room)

Water quality before and after the Buckman Direct Diversion. Semi-Arid Guild gathering with a presentation of new research by Stephen Wiman of Goodwater Company. $3 donation.

April 17, 7 pm Farmers’ Market Movie Series SF Farmers’ Market Pavillion The Lightbulb Conspiracy. $12,

April 18, 10 am-2 pm Fantastic Futures Career Fair SFCC Main Hall and Campus Center

Dress your best, bring your résumé and be ready to make a great first impression with potential employers. services or email

April 18 Angels Night Out Fundraising Event

26 participating restaurants in and around Santa Fe will donate 25 percent of their revenue to Kitchen Angels, which provides free meals to our homebound neighbors with chronic and terminal illness. 505.471.7780,

April 19, 9:30 am-5 pm The Tao of Disorientation: Finding the Gift in Life’s Upheavals Academy for the Love of Learning, Seton Village Workshop with Marianne Murray and Patty Nagle exploring how disorientation can be our friend and teacher. $95. Registration:

April 23 Deadline Request for Proposals to Increase Tourism

The city of SF’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau is accepting proposals for OTAB funding–marketing money to support sustainable annual events that bring in overnight visitors and increase tourism. $70,000 is available for selected projects to bring in younger tourists. Local nonprofits are encouraged to apply. The application form is online at www. under the link OTAB Form at the bottom of the homepage. Info: 505.955.6211,

April 25-27 Scalar Heart Connection Workshops

Use your heart for a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life. 4/25, 4:30-6 pm at the Ark Bookstore (; 4/26-27, 9 am-5 pm at SF Soul (

April 27 Global Youth Service Day Agua Fría Elementary School

Community service project as a result of a Sodexo Foundation Youth Grant to Michael Meade, who will lead young volunteers in installing drip irrigation, rainwater catchment, building a hoop house for aquaponics and spirulina cultivation, and prepare a garden for spring planting. 505.470.9245,

April 27-28 Solar Fiesta SF Community College

Exhibits and workshops on renewable energy topics for children, homeowners and job seekers. Free. Sponsored by SFCC and the NM Solar Energy Association. Info: 505.246.0400, (see pg. 13)

May 3-4 SeeSaw - An Outdoor Spectacle SF Railyard Park

Acrobatic, dance and aerial performance presented by Wise Fool NM in collaboration with local visual artists, DJs, sculptors and choreographers. Free (donations accepted). 5/3 at 8 pm; 5/4 at 1 and 8 pm. http://www.

May 11, 10 am-3 pm Community Day The Plaza

Fun, free event with local talent performing on the bandstand from noon-10 pm. 10 am-3 pm: nonprofit and govt. agency booths. Organizations are encouraged to register now. 505.955.6979, bjmossman@ci.santa-fe.,

May 13-17 Bike-to-Work Week

Get out of your car and onto a bike. Bike workshops, tune-up stations and giveaways, culminating with a gathering on 5/17 at the SF Railyard. Commuters, families and businesses participate. 505.955.2507, imgonzales

May 17 Deadline Amy Biehl Youth Spirit Award

First place scholarships of $1,000 in each of two age groups (13-18, 19-26) will be awarded and two $500 second place awards will be given by NM Voices for Children for commitment to improving communities and the lives of others. Details and application form: 505.244.9505, ext. 114,

Mon. & Wed., 9 am-12 pm and Sunday, 11 am-2 pm Urban Farming at Gaia Gardens

Learn to build soil, compost, transplant, build structures, tend chickens and ducks and help make a small farm hum. 505.796.6006,

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 aftermarket lunch and meet the community. Info:

Beneficial Farms CSA

Weekly distribution at five Santa Fe locations. 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. 505.470.1969


Through October Diabetes Prevention Course Río Arriba Health Commons, 2010 Industrial Park Rd., Española, NM

Lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and maintain at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Classes limited to 15 participants. Sponsored by the NM Department of Health. Free. Info: 505.662.3100 or

April 1-9, 6-8 pm Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System Meetings Various Locations (see below)

Comments sought for Environmental Impact Statement about the Aamodt settlement and the regional water system. Meetings hosted by the US Bureau of Reclamation. 4/1: Tesuque Valley Elementary School; 4/2: Pojoaque Valley School District; 4/3: Santa Fe Community College Jemez Rooms; 4/4: Northern NM College cafeteria; 4/9: Taos Convention Center. www.santafecountynm. gov/county_commissioners/daniel_mayfield/aamodt_outreach

April 4-May 23 (Thur.), 6-9 pm NxLevel Guide for Agricultural Entrepreneurs TCEDC-HACT Room 1021 Salazar Rd., Taos

Multi-session agricultural business training. Planning, marketing research and financial management taught by certified trainers and experts. $30 donation requested. Taos County Economic Development Corporation: 575.758.8731

April 5-7 Water’s for Cooperating Over Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú

Earth Day workshop dealing on environmental and water issues with river guide Steve Harris, aural historian Jack Loeffler, Santa Clara Pueblo’s Dr. Rina Swentzell and historian/agriculturalist Estévan Arellano. 505.685.4333, ext 4106, www.ghostranch/org

April 9 Sustainable Opportunities Summit Denver, CO.

Brings together top leaders, thinkers and resources in sustainability and corporate responsibility practices. Focus includes leadership in regional colleges and universities.

April 11, 7 pm Water Catchment, Harvesting and Filtration in the Urban Environment Highlands University Library, Rm. G35, Las Vegas, NM Join Aaron Kauffman of Southwest Urban Hydrology for a presentation on the benefits and 
opportunities for using Green Infrastructure to address watershed concerns. Sponsored by the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance and Sustainable Las
Vegas. http://

April 13-14 SW Conf. on Botanical Medicine Tempe, Arizona

Over 30 presentations. Info/Registration: 541.482.3016,

April 16-18 Good Jobs Green Jobs Conf. Washington, DC

2013 theme: Let’s Get to Work: Climate Change, Infrastructure and Innovation. $225.

April 16-20 ASES National Solar Conf. Baltimore, MD

42nd Annual conference on emerging trends, technologies and opportunities shaping the new energy economy.

April 19-21 Ecological Restoration Volunteer Project Cebolla Canyon in El Malpaís Natl. Conservation Area near Grants The Albuquerque Wildlife Federation and volunteers will work with Bill Zeedyk to handbuild structures and plant native vegetation to restore a wetland area as part of a comprehensive ecosystem restoration effort. rioscial@,

April 22-23 Certified Sustainability Reporting Training Denver, CO.

The Global Reporting Initiative is the world’s leading framework for sustainability or corporate social responsibility reporting. 505.414.9313,

April 29-30 Slow Money’s 4th National Gathering Boulder, CO

Join thought leaders and hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists and regular folks who want to fix the economy from the ground up – starting with food.

April 30, July 15 Deadlines USDA Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Assistance for agricultural producers and rural small businesses from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Funds projects that involve wind, solar, geothermal, and anaerobic digesters, as well as replacing equipment for energy efficiency. Info: 505.761.4952,

May 20-21 7th Annual National Native American Economic Development Conference Las Vegas, NV.

Focus on economic diversification. 201.857.5333, conference/seventh-annual-national-nativeamerican-economic-development-conference/

April 2013 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • April 2013

April 2013 Green Fire Times Edition  

Featured this month: A Systems Approach to Sustainable Economic Development, High Desert Discovery District/Arrowhead Innovation Network: H...