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March 2024 Newsletter

By February 23, 2024March 1st, 2024News


  • Rio Grande Community Farm Offered More Land
  • Invitation to Inform our Farm Design
  • Meet Our Esteemed Indigenous Scholarship Council
  • Proposed Sustainability Improvements at The Farm
  • Your Feedback on Proposed Imrovements Requested
  • SunChaser Solar Education Trailer Comes Home
  • Volunteer Opportunities at The Farm
  • Upcoming Classes & Workshops
  • Spring Flower Subscriptions with Lucky Dirt Farms
  • Discovering New Mexico’s Agricultural History
  • Green Oasis: Revolutionizing Your Garden for Water Efficiency
  • What to Watch: Living in A Food Desert

Rio Grande Community Farm Offered More Land

In February, the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division called a meeting with Board President Bruce Milne and Executive Director Robyn Wagoner to discuss awarding Rio Grande Community Farm 20 additional acres of Los Poblanos Open Space land. After the Community Farm presented our tentative plans for the new fields and our planned improvements to the exiting land and facilities over the next five years, the Dave Simon, Director of the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department, was clear that he was confident the Community Farm was the best group for the job!

Invitation to Inform Our Farm Design
Our new contract increases the lands we manage from 27 to 47 acres and we would love the input of our community about what you would like to see taking place on the Rio Grande Community Farm in terms of land use and programming as we embark on planning for a cohesive Farm Design that supports our long-range organizational strategy. We have developed a community survey to gather your recommendations for this project so get creative with it!


Meet Our Esteemed Indigenous Scholarship Advisory Council (ISAC)

Rio Grande Community Farm is excited to introduce our Indigenous Scholarship Advisory Council. The Council will guide our Indigenous Urban Grower Scholarships Program, offering support and recommendations for administering the scholarships, representing our scholarship recipients in any negotiations with the organization if requested, and helping to expand the reach and impact of the program.

Trevor Goodluck (Top)
Trevor is Dinè and grew up in a small reservation town in Arizona. He has lived in Albuquerque since 2009. Trevor’s passion is to create a non-profit that will help Indigenous people rediscover, reclaim, and reinvigorate their communities with the foods of their ancestors. Additionally, he is looking to create a financial program that can help Indigenous farmers with operation costs and loan programs. He currently works with a local non-profit in public education and outreach.
Joshuaa Allison-Burbank (Right)
Joshuaa is Diné and grew up in Tohatchi, NM which is on the Navajo Nation. His mother’s side are dryland farmers. His father’s side is Acoma Pueblo and uses the acequia irrigation system. He uses both irrigation traditions at his +Rainbow Farms and is working on adapting the seeds to the heat, water shortage, and bugs. Josh attended the University of Kansas where he received his MA and PhD in speech-language pathology.

James Sumpter (Left)
James is a citizen of the Navajo Nation hailing from the Tselani-Cottonwood Chapter. James holds a Bachelors of Science in Engineering earned at Fort Lewis College and currently resides in the Albuquerque area employed as an engineer in the aerospace industry. Born and raised on the nation, James understands the importance of tribal food systems and its connection to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. James has an extensive background in volunteering at the tribal community level which includes water resource development, tribal corn production, and community centered resource development.

Next month, meet our Indigenous Urban Grower Scholarship recipients!

Proposed Sustainability Improvements at The Farm

Sustainability is one of Rio Grande Community Farm’s core values and transitioning to solar energy has long been a goal of the organization.We are thrilled that the City of Albuquerque is supportive of our request for a full solar conversion, along with other environmental and functional improvements to our barnyard and well house area on Los Poblanos Open Space. Since the barn was not built to hold the weight of the panels, we are proposing two structures be erected in the barnyard that will be engineered to handle this weight while serving important farm functions. We are also proposing two small outbuildings that each house an incinerating toilet.

In addition to the City’s support for these proposals, we need to demonstrate public support, secure the permits, and raise the funds – estimated at $150,000 over the next 18 months.

Proposal 1: Solar Workshop
It is becoming increasingly necessary to utilize the existing barn as a meeting and educational space, yet the heat, dust, and noise from power tools is now competing with our educational priorities. In addition, the existing barn’s wooden construction makes it unsafe to use for welding. A metal workshop where power tool use and welding can safely occur in any weather and safely away from students and volunteers is an absolute necessity for any working farm.

Proposal 2: Solar Storage Structure
The Farm needs a three-sided structure that can adequately shelter the hay soon to be harvested from the 20 additional acres the City has recently entrusted us to manage. This proposed arrangement will ensure the quality of the hay while keeping the barnyard safer and tidier. Instead of piles of hay covered with blowing tarps scattered throughout the area, the baled forage will be stacked in one place and protected from the elements.

Proposal 3: Outbuildings
Both customer service and sustainability on the Farm can improve drastically with the construction of two small outbuildings that will contain incinerating toilets, replacing the expensive and ecologically damaging chemical toilets the City has been renting at the cost of over $40,000 a year. These incinerating toilets use no water and produce no odors, leaving a completely sterile tray of ashes instead of 100 gallons of biocide infused sewage to treat and dispose of each week. One outbuilding will be located in the barnyard and one will be located next to the well house in Field 4.

Environmental Impact
These infrastructure improvements are long overdue and will revolutionize educational opportunities, customer comfort, and maintenance work in addition to reducing the Farm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2,812 metric tons over the next 25 years.

Your Feedback on Proposed Improvements Requested
We would love to hear your thoughts on these proposals, and encourage you to respond to our survey. You can also donate to support this game changing project due for completion in 2025.


SunChaser Solar Education Trailer Comes Home

Rio Grande Community Farm is thrilled to be the new home of the SunChaser 2k22 solar education trailer built by the New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA). This demonstration trailer will live at Rio Grande Community Farm and become a feature of our sustainable agriculture education program. The Sun Chaser is designed to be an educational tool and all water system piping and electrical system circuitry can be viewed through a plexiglass covering.

The first SunChaser was built over 30 years ago, and in 2022, NMSEA decided to create a new Sun Chaser to demonstrate how solar energy can be used in conjunction with more modern technologies. ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque built the body of the new trailer, and a New Mexico Tech design team was tasked with designing the water and electrical systems in fall of 2022.

Partnering with NMSEA on the SunChaser is another example of Rio Grande Community Farm’s commitment to sustainability education. Stay tuned for educational opportunities involving the SunChaser coming soon!

Volunteer Opportunities for March at Rio Grande Community Farm

If you have wanted to Volunteer at Rio Grande Community Farm, now is a great time to get started. You can show up to events like the ones listed below, or participate on a regular weekly basis. If you would like someone to reach out to you and place you on the Volunteer Schedule, or contact you with projects, please fill out our Volunteer Interest Survey.


10 AM -12 PM

Sheet mulching, planting starts, and sowing seeds.
Meet at the green well house.
Please email Meg at if you are coming.

10 – 11:30 AM
Meet at he Red Barn. Transplanting will take place inside the Greenhouse.

10 – 11:30 AM
Meet at he Red Barn. Transplanting will take place inside the Greenhouse.

10 AM – 12 PM

Park by Alvarado Elementary School off of Solar Road.

10 – 11:30 AM
Meet at he Red Barn. Transplanting will take place inside the Greenhouse.

10 AM – 12 PM

Meet at the Red Barn and walk to the compost area.

10 AM – 12 PM
Meet at the green well house.
Please email Meg at if you are coming.

Upcoming Classes & Workshops

Classes & Workshops Page

Try a Splendid Spring Flower Subscription with Lucky Dirt Farms

Spring is in the air! We are Lucky Dirt Farms, a cut flower and produce farm and participants in the Rio Grande Community Farm MicroFarm Program. We are at the start of our 3rd growing season at the Community Farm and have been hard at work all winter to be able to bring spring flowers to you and yours. We can’t wait to share them with you!

We’d like to gauge community interest in a spring flower bouquet subscription this year- similar to a veggie CSA box, but with fresh local flower bouquets! As a part of our flower subscription, members would pay upfront for several weeks of bouquets. Iin doing so, you would support us as we invest in the upcoming season. Flower subscriptions are one of the best ways you can support our small farm. Your payment enables us to purchase new and exciting seed varieties, restock supplies, build new infrastructure and keep our farm growing! Spring flower subscriptions would surely make a wonderful Mother’s day gift that keeps on giving!

Please send me an email at if you think you would be interested in participating in a spring bouquet subscription this year so we can gauge community interest or if you’d like to be added to our newsletter to stay connected and get a preview of what’s blooming!

Engaging Our Community: Open Board Committee Seats

If you love your community and your Community the Farm, you may want to consider volunteering on one or more empowered Committees of the Board to develop and actively implement policies and practices to achieve our purpose. We’re seeking Community Representatives on the following committees:

  • Engagement Committee
    Help guide our Volunteer Program!
  • Fundraising Committee
    Help raise money for our programs and operations!
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
    Help support food justice initiatives and anti-oppression work!
  • Programs Committee
    Help develop new classes and guide our events!
Learn More

Exploring New Mexico’s Agricultural History

by Nathan Kunkle
Social Work Intern

Rio Grande Community Farm

Farming plays a significant role in New Mexico’s cultural identity. It connects present-day residents to the rich history of ancestral cultures cultivating the land for centuries. The agricultural heritage of New Mexico is closely intertwined with the diverse traditions of Indigenous peoples, Spanish settlers, and later immigrant communities. Each group has left a lasting impact on the region’s farming practices and cultural identity.

Indigenous communities, such as the Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo, have sustained themselves for millennia by practicing agriculture in harmony with the desert landscape. Their cultivation of staple crops, such as corn, beans, and squash, is a testament to their profound understanding of the region’s unique ecology and climatic challenges. These communities have developed and refined techniques such as dry farming and intricate irrigation systems, passed down through generations as a sacred inheritance. Their approach to agriculture serves as a model for sustainable and responsible land use and reminds us of the importance of respecting and learning from the wisdom of indigenous peoples.

In the 16th century, Spanish colonists arrived in New Mexico and brought new agricultural practices, crops, and livestock. This greatly enriched the farming traditions of the region. The Spanish introduced wheat, fruit trees, and grapes to the area, establishing vineyards and orchards that thrived in the arid climate. Today, the legacy of Spanish colonial agriculture can still be seen in the historic acequias, which are communal irrigation ditches that continue to provide water for crops and communities across the state.

Following the Spanish colonization, New Mexico became a melting pot of cultural exchange. The European, Native American, and Mexican influences shaped the region’s agricultural landscape. Today, the legacy of this multicultural heritage is evident in the vibrant tapestry of crops, cuisine, and farming festivals that define New Mexico’s cultural identity.

Farming in New Mexico is a true testament to the resilience and adaptability of its inhabitants in the face of environmental challenges and socio-political changes. Despite the challenges posed by drought and water scarcity, as well as the pressures of modernization and urbanization, the farmers of New Mexico continue to rely on their ancestral wisdom and innovative techniques to sustain their livelihoods and preserve their cultural heritage. Their unwavering commitment to their craft is a source of inspiration for us all.

New Mexicans have a deep respect for their land and the legacy of their ancestors. Cultivating the land with age-old traditions ensures that the land is taken care of and preserved for future generations. Amidst the rugged beauty of the desert landscape, they plant and harvest with a timeless connection to the past. They celebrated the enduring spirit of resilience, community, and reverence for the land that has defined New Mexico’s agricultural heritage for centuries. It’s a beautiful way of life that embodies sustainability and preservation values.

What To Watch: Living in a Food Desert

By Nathan Kunkle

“Living in a Food Desert” is a thought-provoking documentary that takes a deep dive into one of the most pressing issues facing many communities worldwide – food deserts. This eye-opening film, directed by Sarah Johnson, offers a poignant and insightful look into the harsh realities of living in areas where access to nutritious food is severely limited. Light is shed on the systemic inequalities perpetuating food deserts through compelling interviews, striking visuals, and poignant narratives. Johnson skillfully captures the struggles of individuals and families who must navigate through a landscape devoid of supermarkets and grocery stores, where fast food chains and convenience stores reign supreme.

Exploring the socioeconomic factors contributing to food deserts, the film highlights how poverty, racial segregation, and urban planning policies intersect to create environments where residents are left with few healthy food options. It also examines the profound impact of food deserts on public health, revealing alarming statistics about the prevalence of diet-related diseases in affected areas. The documentary showcases grassroots efforts and community initiatives to address food insecurity and promote food justice, inspiring viewers to act and become agents of positive transformation in their communities. It prompts reflection on privilege and the need to dismantle systemic barriers perpetuating inequality.

You can watch the documentary on YouTube.

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