A heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended for your joyful presence at this year’s Lavender in the Village festival and all of the boutique events during the week of July 17-23, 2023!
This annual celebration of the versatile lavender plant is hosted by The Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque and Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF). All festival proceeds are benefiting the farm and your generous contributions will fund:
• Purchase of farm equipment shared between the RGCF, the Larry P. Abraham Agri-Nature Center, and other members of the community equipment loan pool.
• Necessary staff and materials to maintain the RGCF Compost Program and to provide workshops on hot pile and fungal-dominate composting.
• Hardware to enhance worker safety at RGCF.
You can learn more about the impact of your donations of time, equipment, and financial support to Rio Grande Community Farm by visiting:
Are you looking for a fun way to explore your community farm? Try the official Rio Grande Community Farm scavenger hunt! It’s a great activity for families, friends, or anyone who loves to discover new things. As you walk the trails, jot down what you find that fits each clue.
Rows of alliums (see the artificial intelligence article below for definition) growing in a field near the well house.
The Gallegos Lateral, an historic and unusual east-to-west acequia that helps water the crops.
Squirrels, which scurry around in the big brush piles. Do they have a tail or no tail?
The well house, where we get some of our water for irrigation (the water is only 26 feet down). How many fruit trees are in the orchard to the east side, toward the mountains?
The hoop house, where we grow some of our crops. Notice the Johnson Su compost system tanks in front.
Nesting birds, which love the quarter-acre pollinator garden.
Cattle egrets, which are looking for cattle that don’t exist! What color are their legs?
Artistic signs identifying Ashokra Farms and Space Dog Farms.
The sculptural geodesic hut/sculpture made of recycled pallets, near the community garden, serving 97 people this year.
Cattle tanks, which never provide water for cows because… no cows here! Can you figure out what the tanks are for?
Plowed fields? Hint: We never plow! Instead, look for our cover crops — their roots do the plowing and feed beneficial bacteria and fungi, saving us fertilizer and help to fight drought.
As you search, take the time to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the farm — the sky, the breeze, bird calls, curious bugs, shady spots to rest, the thumping of your feet on the ground, maybe even a friendly gopher snake. You may discover things you’ve never seen before and learn more about how we grow our crops. We hope you have a memorable experience at Rio Grande Community Farm.
Imagine, it isn’t hard to do…
Our Solar-powered Farm
We’re excited to announce that we’re seeking $5,000 in donations to complete our mobile solar generating system! Volunteer Brian Naughton, farm manager Kelvin Schenk, and a team of UNM engineering and CNM solar photovoltaics students refurbished the frame and wheels from an old manure spreader, added some donated racking from Tamarack Solar, and surplus solar panels to get halfway towards our vision of a mobile solar power trailer. We’ll use it to power summer farm camp, the Lavender Festival, and bands at the Maize Maze. The 4-panel (1200 Watts total) solar trailer is awaiting funding to add a controller, batteries, and an inverter. Once completed, it will power the audio system at events, charge the electric-BCS walk-behind tractor in Field 4 for our micro-farmers, power the electric grain thresher, recharge power tools, power lights and ventilation in the hoophouses, and more.
“Farms used to be 100% solar powered, converting sunlight into food for humans and animals to grow a surplus for others. I think we can get back to 100% solar powered farming with new technologies like solar panels and electric tractors for a more resilient local food source. That’s my motivation for these projects”, says Brian.
There are many other active solar-powered projects. The cistern at the wellhouse has 2 panels (200 Watts total) to run the automatic watering system for the fungal compost system and a Dewalt battery charging station for farm power tools — peacefully quiet, no pollution. The real-time weather station data from instruments at the barn are also solar powered. Finally, we are in the final planning stages for a barnyard solar structure that could generate up to 20 kilowatts of power for the barn, office, greenhouse (goodbye propane heater!) and a future electric tractor. We’re committed to sustainable energy solutions, and hope you’ll join us in supporting our efforts to build out our solar trailer generating system and other solar-powered projects! Your much-appreciated donation can be placed here. Thank you so much!
Ultimate Garden Planning
(with Help from Artificial Intelligence)
Spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to plan and plant your garden! Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a first timer, we have some tips to help you make the most of your garden for years to come. By the way, New Mexico is great for planting three, four, even five times a year. We’ve seen astounding yields of beans, sweet potatoes, and sun chokes that weren’t planted until July fourth.
In this article you’ll see how to use artificial intelligence to design a crop rotation plan. The accompanying image of lettuce and allium beds was generated from scratch by Dalle-2, another AI tool, beginning with a swarm of random pixels!
Last month we considered basic factors when planning your garden, namely sunlight, soil type, drainage, and choosing plants that are well-suited to our growing conditions; you can still see recommended plants on this website.
If you are a serial gardener (year after year), consider making a crop rotation plan. Crop rotation helps break disease cycles and leverages certain crops to help the ones that follow, kind of like paying it forward. For example, by moving tomatoes around you can break the root nematode cycle. By planting greens after a year of legumes your future salad will get plenty of nitrogen, thanks to the beans.
First, map your garden space into sub-units, which could be plots or rows, with separate beds within. You’ll use the same geometry year after year, but the plants will shift around. Number each bed. Then, make a list of your main types or crops:
Tomato family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, tomatillos)
Here’s the fun and ridiculously easy part. Go to openai.com and use Chat-GPT to create your rotation plan. Warm up with the following example “prompt” and get the AI’s response within seconds. For your actual garden, just modify the prompt to fit your needs. Notice how grammatically sloppy the prompt is, yet it works nonetheless! You can ask it to format for a spreadsheet as well.
“Here’s a sample crop rotation plan for a two-year period and five beds, assuming the crops are from the tomato family, legumes, greens, cucurbits, and alliums:
Bed 1: Tomatoes
Bed 2: Legumes (e.g., beans, peas)
Bed 3: Greens (e.g., lettuce, spinach)
Bed 4: Cucurbits (e.g. squash, cucumbers)
Bed 5: Alliums (e.g. onions, garlic)
Bed 1: Legumes
Bed 2: Greens
Bed 3: Cucurbits
Bed 4: Alliums
Bed 5: Tomatoes
In this rotation plan, the crops are rotated so that plants from the same family are not grown in the same bed two years in a row. This helps to reduce the buildup of soil-borne diseases and pests that can affect these crops. Additionally, legumes are included in the rotation to help fix nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial for the other crops. … It’s always a good idea to do some research on the specific crops you’re growing and their specific needs to create the most effective crop rotation plan for your garden.”
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful spring planting season. Happy gardening!
Rich, of the Bernalillo Master Composters, will lead a hands-on session, Building a Compost Pile, May 13, 8 am to 10 am at the community garden, 1630 Solar. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
Inter-cropping in Hedgerows for Biodiversity, May 17 and June 14, 6 pm-8 pm at the community garden RSVP YURI@RIOGRANDEFARM.ORG
Last year, volunteers provided over 10,000 hours of service that really made the farm sing. We are so grateful for everyone who spent time on the farm. If you love to be outdoors and want to get your hands dirty, please join us on the farm. We host volunteers by appointment. During your time volunteering, you may be asked to weed, water, plant and harvest, or work on a special project. We welcome individuals and groups for one-time visits as well as ongoing commitments; however, volunteers must be 18 years or older or be accompanied by an adult. Sign up here.
Rio Grande Community Farms – Since 1997
Los Poblanos Open Space (north side of Montaño, west of 4th Street)
Trails are open dawn to dusk every day. For sanitation reasons, no pets in farm fields please.
Permitted farm vehicles on site will display special hang tags.
I am so grateful for your support of the community farm and our mission of sustainable urban agriculture, environmental education, and wildlife. In the three years I have been Executive Director, RGCF has become a leader for regenerative farming techniques. We’ve expanded to 38 micro-farmers this year, who grow produce, herbs, flowers, and seeds. This year we are serving over 100 garden row-holders. We’re proud to host Tres Hermanas Farms Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, the Mountain Dojo neuro-divergent group, and veteran farmers. With your support we hired two new Farm Educators, Yurida Loera-Ramirez, who goes by Yuri, and Rich Adeyemi. They have really helped Kelvin, our Farm Coordinator, out and are wonderful additions to lead workshops and grow our summer camp program to over 350 youth.
We now have three different types of composting: hot pile, windrow, and Johnson Su bioreactors. Come visit and see how we’re adding compost buckets to our 116 fruit trees to provide nutrients naturally. Rich has been involved with the Bernalillo County Master Composters and is bringing more knowledge and workshops to our community farm.
Thanks to the City, RGCF made great improvements to the greenhouse this year – replacing the roofing gear system, lighting, and fans. We have also installed new cooling system media, durable rolling tables and built a large germination box. All this makes starting plants easier and gives us more square footage for plants. Yuri has the greenhouse looking awesome.
Thank you all who have helped with donations and volunteering. With you, the farm is able to become what it is today and what it will become tomorrow. Please come see us at the Plant Sale and Spring Festival, April 15th from 9 am-5 pm and meet Rich and Yuri.
Get ready for our annual seedling sale and Farmstrong Festival at Rio Grande Community Farm!
We’re excited to offer a wide variety of vegetable seedlings, including hundreds of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and salad greens all grown right here, pesticide-free, as we’ve been doing for 26 years. Come by and get your spring and summer starts!
Come out April 15th from 9 – 5 for your plants at our FarmStrong Spring Festival, with live bands, a marketplace with 19 vendors selling handmade items, and plenty of delicious food and beer garden. Boogie to your favorite bands, including Que Onda, The High Desert Playboys Duo, Swing Magique, Zink and the Oxides, and Rodney Bowe. It’s going to be a fun-filled family-friendly event — bring your friends. Be sure to check out the local vendors including Jo’s Farms, Enchantment Press, Kimber Ross Studios, Artemisia Herbs,Bloomers, Crystal Rhapsody, Loaded Lemon Abq, Laughing Hare Hot Glass, New Mexico Sticker Company/Metal The Brand, Sugar Bee’s Sweets, El TACO STOP, and Enchanting Kreativity.
Parking is free at the Los Poblanos Fields Open Space
(Montaño Rd., NW and Tierra Viva Place, NW).
From there walk east to the gazebo under the big cottonwood tree.
Admission is $5 per head, kids 3 and under are free
As a non-profit organization, we appreciate your joining us for one of our main fundraising events. You will be supporting our work in sustainable urban agriculture, environmental education, and wildlife habitat enhancement. This year we expect to serve 12,000 visitors, 350 youth at summer farm camp, 100 folks in our community garden, and 38 awesome micro-farmers operating on 1/8 to 1-acre plots.
What you’ll find at the plant sale!
Are you planning to start a garden in your backyard, on your apartment patio, or even indoors? We have a variety of seedlings that are perfect for any size and type of garden. For those with limited space, try our compact varieties such as cherry tomatoes, herbs, and peppers, which can thrive in small containers on apartment patios or even indoors near a sunny window. Schools and community gardens can benefit from our larger varieties such as pumpkins, squash, and watermelons, which are great for group activities and harvesting in the fall. Whatever your gardening situation, we have the perfect seedlings to help you get started and grow your own fresh produce
Five ways to ensure juicy tomatoes (and crunchy radishes)!
At Rio Grande Community Farms, we like to think like a plant. Our seedlings say, “Watch out for frost” and “Keep my roots in healthy soil”. In your garden you’ll have plenty of sun and water to give your plants, so their needs boil down to healthy soils (thank you compost!) and protection from late frosts. Thankfully, our team has already selected strong varieties for you and kept out the poisons you might get with plants from big box stores.
Harden off your seedlings: Before planting your seedlings outside, it’s important to gradually expose them to outdoor conditions. This process, called hardening off, acclimates the plants to changes in temperature, sunlight, and wind. Start by placing your seedlings outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside over the course of a week or two. Double check soil moisture in the pots because they can dry out faster in Albuquerque’s breezes.
Protect against frost: If frost is a concern, cover your seedlings with frost blankets or other protective coverings on nights when frost is expected.
Choose the right planting location: Make sure to choose a spot that receives adequate sunlight (more than 6 hours a day), has good drainage, and is protected from strong winds. Avoid planting in low-lying areas where cold air can accumulate, as this can increase the risk of frost damage.
Amend soil as needed: When you put your seedlings in the ground, or a larger pot on our patio, be sure to add compost or other organic matter to improve soil structure and fertility. Why not consider testing your soil to determine its pH and nutrient levels? No need to overdo the fertilizer, which can burn leaves or even stall fruiting. Several times over the season, top dress with an inch or two of compost to create the optimal growing conditions and reduce water stress; avoid bare soil. Adding fertility is crucial for potted plants because frequent watering flushes out precious nitrogen fertilizer.
Water regularly: Seedlings require consistent moisture to thrive, so make sure to water them regularly. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.
By following these tips, your seedlings will have the best possible chance of success, even if our last frost surprises us.
Designed for curious, beginning farmers, this free day-long workshop introduces agriculture in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, including environment, community, markets, and farmer goals. Activities will include on-farm tour, guided self-assessment, expert presentations, and panel discussions to examine farming options in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, climate trends, principles of regenerative agriculture, and crop choices matched to consumer demand in local markets, ranging from CSAs to commercial and municipal entities. Participants will self-assess their attitudes about farming as individuals and as members of family and community, thereby identifying gaps and goals for improvement.
Agricultural climate and trends, now to the year 2100.
Appreciate the major soil types and irrigation needs in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
Farm tour of best practices, infrastructure, and equipment choices.
Find out how to join markets in the area.
Consider your attitude about running a small farm involving finances, family, community, and future generations.
8:30 AM Arrive at the Los Ranchos Agri-Nature Center4920 Rio Grande Blvd. NW.
8:45 AM Welcome from Rio Grande Community Farm — Jamie Welles, Ex. Dir.
9:00 AM Overview: The Holistic Picture
9:15 AM Knowing Your Attitude: The ABC Model — Bruce Milne
Assess Your Attitudes about farming, money, food, family, work
10:15 AM Break
10:30 AM Gap Analysis: What are my priorities for creating success?
11:00 AM Sense of Place: Land, Water, and Climate Trajectory
Geography 101 — The Middle Rio Grande Valley – Chris Duvall
Climate Change, 1985 to 2100 — NM Envir. Dept.
12:00 PM Lunch Outside
12:30 PM Panel: Strategies for Sustainable Agriculture
12:45 PM Incubator programs at RGCF, Tres Hermanas Kitchen — Jamie Welles, Anzia Bennet
High-value Specialty Crops
1:45 PM Break
2:00 PM How to join markets: public, private, institutional
Principles of regenerative agriculture
3:00 PM Tractor Ride Tour: RGCF and Agri-Nature Center — Kelvin Schenk
Soils, no-till, & cover cropping
Infrastructure & Equipment
Solar power & carbon neutrality goal
Weather station for smarter irrigation
4:45 PM Assessment of Today’s Program — Colleen McRoberts
5:00 PM Adjourn and Pre-Registration for the Next Workshop
Andy Jo, the creator of this sign, is the proprietor of Space Dog Farms and one of the RGCF small farmers in the open space. He hid the sign somewhere on the farm… Find the sign and tag a picture of yourself on Instagram with @riograndecommunityfarm and the #RGCF hashtag (help us reclaim it!), and we’ll send you a Rio Grande Community Farm Sticker.
The Agri Nature Center role is to encourage a new generation of farmers and growers through programming and giving the community the tools and resources to become a competant in their field. We do this by outreach, education, farming projects and research in small scale agriculture. We welcome new farmers to grow on our lands or in our community. We build connections to help new growers and farmers from land to grant funding.
The Agri Nature Center is a 25 acre property with large building facility of classrooms and warehouse located at 4920 Rio Grande Boulevard N.W.
The lands consist of Lavender field, Orchard, Hops Yard, Vineyard, 21 Raised beds, Hoop house and Fields of Alfalfa.
The Agri Nature Center is community facility for our agriculture mission. At the facility we host festivals, conferences, workshops, farms camps, master gardeners, volunteers to help achieve our agricultural goals. The facility is also has a seasonal farmer who farms the property.
Explora and the village of Los Ranchos host Farm Camps for kids in spring, summer and fall 2020 at the Ag Center.
Rio Grande Community Farm Seeks Executive Director
We are no longer accepting applications for this position.
Location: Rio Grande Community Farm, 1701 Montano Rd NW Albuquerque, NM 87107
Hours: Part time, approx. 20 hours per week
Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF), established in 1997, is a local leader in sustainable urban agriculture, education, healthy food, and wildlife conservation. RGCF is home to a thriving community garden with over fifty members, hosts a refugee farming project called Tres Hermanas Farm, and is well known for organizing community events such as the Maize Maze and Farmstrong.
We seek an experienced Executive Director who will work closely with the RGCF Board of Directors and local partners to lead, develop and execute strategic objectives for the farm’s expanding programs. The executive director will help diversify fundraising efforts, expand programming, and represent the organization at local events and with partners.
Develop and implement strategic plans with the board of directors that meet business goals and objectives created in partnership with the Board of Directors.
Hire and manage other farm employees and volunteers, including the community garden coordinator, contractors, and event management team.
Ensure commitment to and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations across the organization.
Foster a culture of transparency and communication throughout the organization.
Develop positive relationships with key stakeholders, including members, donors, and government agencies.
Proactively address challenges in the internal and external environment to protect RGCF’s interests.
Take initiative to grow RGCF’s fundraising capacity and operating budget.
Track and address public policy issues relevant to the farm.
A degree in business administration or a related field, or three years of equivalent experience in a management role.
At least three years previous experience in a senior leadership role.
Demonstrated ability to develop and implement successful strategic plans.
Deep understanding of financial strategies and finance-related performance metrics.
Strong aptitude for verbal and written communication, presentation, and relationship development.
Other Desired Experience
Farming / agricultural business • Education • Marketing and Public Relations • Fundraising • Event Management and Planning • Public Speaking • Grant Writing • G Suite • Quickbooks • Policy Analysis, In-depth knowledge of best practices in nonprofit management and governance
Compensation will be $25-$30/hr (depending on experience). Healthcare stipend available. Two weeks of holiday time (40 hours).
We are no longer accepting applications for this position.