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The Maize Maze isn’t Made of Maize

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In 2018, the Maize Maze is back on, but in spite of it’s wonderful name, our maze won’t be made of maize. This 8-acre labyrinth will be cut into dense fields of sorghum.

Sorghum is an old-world grain that produces a cereal crop. Sorghum is used primarily as animal-feed, but also in the production of beer, ethanol, and a southern specialty: sorghum molasses.

Importantly for the use in a maze, sorghum also grows tall and dense, like a field of corn. In fact, sorghum mazes, and mazes made of other tall grasses, are sprouting all across the world, from Tazmania to Tennessee.

The Rio Grande Valley is getting its own taste of sorghum the last two weekends in October, complete with paletas, food trucks, and educational programming by Explora!, the Audubon Society, the ABQ biopark, and more!
Why sorghum?

“Sorghum uses less water, which is an important resource in the High Plains. Plus, it uses less fertilizer. Therefore, the environmental impact is much less compared with growing corn” says farmer Dale Artho in a 2015 interview with journalist Bill Speigel.

On the Rio Grande Community Farm, water is a precious resource. “A lot of the open space, including some of our land, is on the water bank, which means that, in drought conditions, water becomes increasingly unreliable,” says president Katherine Labate Wright.

Last year the farm was not able to host the Maize Maze, owing to the drought. Since water was scarce, the water bank limited RGCF’s water use.

Additionally, sorghum is a more heat-resistant crop than corn. With high summer temperatures and unreliable water, sorghum is a savvy farm’s way of adapting to the local, New Mexican climate.

Finally, as part of RGCF’s mission to create and encourage wildlife habitat, the sorghum was cut only once to bail, and the regrowth is being left as forage for migratory birds and other wildlife. This means that, while you’re exploring the twists and turns of the Maize Maze, you’re likely to find some feathered visitors feasting in the sorghum fields!

Planting New Roots

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Tres Hermanas Farm began in November 2016, through an Office of Refugee Resettlement Grant received by Lutheran Family Services Albuquerque Office. The program aims to connect refugee families with the land, water, seeds, tools and other resources needed to grow food. Tres Hermanas Farm is housed on three separate properties, the biggest and most productive of which is right here on the Rio Grande Community Farm. There are two other small, urban garden plots located in the International District.

Our partnership with Tres Hermanas has led to collaborations on workshops, cultural exchanges between refugee gardeners and RGCF community gardeners, increased production on RGCF land, a great diversity of produce being grown on a small area, and now, the organization of another year of the Maize Maze!

We couldn’t be more pleased having our friends from Burundi, the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chad growing food for their families and to sell at farmers’ markets, right here on the RIo Grande Community Farm. Join us for the Annual Maize Maze the last two weekends of October and take a tour of Tres Hermanas Farm!

The Maize Maze Presents: Farmstrong Race and Festival!

Join us October 27th 2018 for the Farmstrong Fall Festival and the Farmstrong 10k/5k/fun Run! Sign up now to reserve your spot at the Farmstrong Race; run through the golden fields of the Los Poblanos Open Space, enjoy the crisp fall air, and the beautiful migratory birds that spend the winter in our agricultural fields. After the race, explore the 8-acre Maize Maze and engage with the educational activities offered by Explora, the Bio Park and the Audubon Society. Live music will start at 1pm, and Steel Bender Brewyard will be serving in the beer garden all day long.

Music line up:

Food Trucks:

  • El Paisa Express
  • My Sweet Basil
  • The Supper Truck

Steel Bender Brewyard will be serving beer!

Bluefly Farms will be serving shrubs, sparkling water, and lavender infused treats!

Big Jim’s Farm will have pumpkins for sale!

Chispas Farm will have veggies for sale!

Farm Shark will be selling the finest pickles in town!

 

Dear Rio Grande Community Farm Supporter

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This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary. We could not have reached this important milestone without the support of donors like you and we thank you for your loyal support.

 


The ground work has been laid by the staff and board of directors for the visions listed above. We need your financial support to sustain these visions in the future. Here are the facts:

 

  • In two years of programming, Las Huertas has graduated 8 new farmers. This specialized training is not offered anywhere else in the state or the region.
  • RGCF has received $30,150 in grant money over the last year directly related to the Las Huertas farmer training.
  • Grant monies are tied to programming expenses therefore we rely on donations to meet our operating expenses.
  • We need $4000-$5000/month to meet bare minimum costs of operation including staff contractor fees (no raises in three years), utilities, insurance, tractor repairs, water costs, seeds and office supplies. Theft of equipment from the Community Garden this year has cost RGCF $800 that was not budgeted.

 

We are struggling to meet these costs and need your help. Visit riograndefarm.org/get-involved/donate/ and support Rio Grande Community farm’s ongoing mission of “working to improve the health of our community through sustainable agriculture, wildlife habitat and education” with a tax-deductible contribution today!

 

With Warm Regards,
Christine Jackson
Board President
P.S. In addition to your donation, please consider joining the Rio Grande Community Farm’s Board of Directors by contacting our Secretary, Debbie Miles at debbiemiles@riograndefarm.org.

Maze Fest 2016

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Join us for live music, a beer garden by Tractor Brewing, pumpkins, and explore the maze.  Saturday October 29th 3-10pm.

Daytime: Adults $8 / Kids (3-12) $6
Nighttime: All Ages $16 (Arrival after 7pm)

Celebrating Color at the 19th Annual Maize Maze

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The City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) are proud to announce the 19th Annual Maize Maze—Color Maze!  The eight-acre maze is located on the Los Poblanos Fields agricultural Open Space north of Montaño. The Maze will feature activities, public art installments, and a scavenger hunt that will educate and inspire visitors about Color.

Aside from serving as an annual fund raiser for RGCF, a 501(c)3 Non-profit, the Maize Maze also fulfills a core part of the Farm’s mission: to provide habitat for wildlife. Each year, the Maze serves as both food and habitat for hundreds of migrating geese and cranes.

WHEN: The 2016 Maize Maze will be open Fridays 1pm-10pm, Saturdays 10am-10pm and Sundays 10am-7pm during the month of October.

HOW MUCH: Daytime admission for the maze are $8/adults and $6/kids (3-12 years old). Kids 2 and under are free. After dark for all ages is $16.

WHERE: Los Poblanos Fields is located in the heart of Albuquerque at 1701 Montano Road NW. Parking for the maze is 1 mile west of Fourth St NW. Turn north on Tierra Viva and park in the gravel lot to your left.

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Volunteer Wildlife Habitat Restoration Day – Fall 2016

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On September, Saturday 17th, join us as we plant more native and drought-tolerant species along our hedgerows to support this wildlife and pollinator habitat! We will also be moving earth and mulch to make sure what we plant gets water and stays healthy.

Bring:
Water in a refillable bottle, good shoes, clothes that can get dirty, sunscreen and/or a hat, work gloves, and your favorite shovel with your name on it.

Location:
From the intersection of 4th and Solar (or Sadie’s Restaurant), head west on Solar for one mile. Immediately after you pass Alvarado Elementary turn south onto the drainage ditch and park along the fence. Walk across the bridge and you will be at the Community Garden.

Seeking Board Members

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RGCF is actively seeking new board members to help carry out our mission. Please contact us today if you are interested in attending a board meeting to see if being on the board is right for you!

Rio Grande Community Farm Board Member Job Description

Mission: The mission of the Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) is to improve the health of our community through sustainable agriculture, fresh food, and education. We carry out our mission through our work in five strategic areas: demonstrating sustainable urban agriculture, growing food for and with our community, providing education and training opportunities in agriculture, enhancing urban wildlife habitat, and growing and celebrating the farming community.

Position: The Board will support the work of RGCF and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. While day-to-day operations are led by RGCF’s Executive Director, the Board/Executive Director relationship is a partnership, and the appropriate involvement of the Board is both critical and expected. Specific Board Member responsibilities include:

Leadership, governance and oversight

  • Serving as a trusted advisor to the Executive Director as s/he develops and implements RGCF’s strategic plan
  • Reviewing agenda and supporting materials prior to the board and committee meetings
  • Approving RGCF’s annual budget, audit reports, and material business decisions; being informed of, and meeting all, legal and fiduciary responsibilities
  • Contributing to an annual performance evaluation of the Executive Director
  • Assisting the Executive Director and President in identifying and recruiting other Board Members
  • Partnering with the Executive Director and other board members to ensure that board resolutions are carried out
  • Serving on committees or task forces and taking on special assignments
  • Representing RGCF to stakeholders; acting as an ambassador for the organization
  • Ensuring RGCF’s commitment to a diverse board and staff that reflects the communities RGCF serves

Fundraising

Board Members will consider RGCF a philanthropic priority and make annual gifts that reflect that priority. So that RGCF can credibly solicit contributions from foundations, organizations, and individuals, RGCF expects to have 100 percent of Board Members make an annual contribution that is commensurate with their capacity.

Board terms/participation

Board Members will serve a three-year term to be eligible for re-appointment for one additional term. Board meetings will be held monthly and committee meetings will be held as determined.

Qualifications

This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about RGCF’s mission. Selected Board Members will have achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the non-profit sector. His/her accomplishments will allow him/her to attract other well-qualified, high-performing Board Members. Ideal candidates will have savvy diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals.

Service on RGCF’s Board of Directors is without remuneration.

Habitat Restoration Volunteer Day – Spring 2016

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Saturday, April 16th
9:30 am to 3:00 pm

Join us in bringing more biodiversity, habitat and shade to the community garden and Field 4 hedgerows. We received a significant and diverse donation of trees and perennials from Albuquerque Open Space and we’re excited to get them planted!

If you have gloves and a shovel or rake please bring them! Also make sure you bring water.

Where? 1260 Solar Rd NW Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM 87107 From the intersection of 4th and Solar (or Sadie’s Restaurant), head west on Solar for one mile. Immediately after you pass Alvarado Elementary turn south onto the drainage ditch and park along the fence. Walk across the bridge and you will be at the Community Garden.

 

Celebrating Pollinators at the 18th Annual Maize Maze

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The City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) are proud to announce the 18th Annual Maize Maze—Celebrating Pollinators!  The eight-acre corn maze is located on the Los Poblanos Fields agricultural Open Space north of Montaño. This year’s maze design features many different pollinators: critical but threatened creatures that play a vital role in our food systems. In partnership with the ABQ BioPark, the Maze will feature activities, public art installments, and a scavenger hunt that will educate and inspire visitors about pollinators. “The City of Albuquerque is excited to once again host this unique event that serves to educate the public about local agriculture while offering an enjoyable and exciting maze experience,” said Mayor Richard Berry.

Aside from serving as an annual fund raiser for RGCF, a 501(c)3 Non-profit, the Maize Maze also fulfills a core part of the Farm’s mission: to provide habitat for wildlife. Each year, the Maze serves as both food and habitat for hundreds of migrating geese and cranes.  By popular demand, Blackout Theatre is bringing even more thrill to the fields with the third installment of Quarantine—an interactive performance that brings the audience into the story. Throughout October the undead will haunt the farm starting at dusk. Visit www.quarantineabq.com for more information.

WHEN: The 2015 Maize Maze will be open Saturdays and Sundays only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the month of October.

HOW MUCH: Admission for the maze are $7/adults and $5/kids (3-12 years old). Kids 2 and under are free. Quarantine is $20/person (Ages 13 or older).

WHERE: Los Poblanos Fields is located in the heart of Albuquerque at 1701 Montano Road NW. Parking for the maze is 1.1 miles west of Fourth St NW. Turn north on Tierra Viva and park in the gravel lot to your left.

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