RGCF Drip Project Receives Educational Funding

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RGCF has received funding from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education fund of Utah State University (Western SARE) to develop educational materials around the effective use of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) under National Organic Plan Standards. RGCF is excited about the collaboration with Western SARE and the USDA to document and summarize our use of this state-of-the-art drip irrigation system. Water conservation is critical to the long term success of farming in the arid southwest. While SDI is an established technology used in many parts of the world, it is not widespread in organic agriculture. Through this grant, RGCF will demonstrate effective methods for using SDI without using harsh chemicals that are normally used in drip irrigation. At the end of the 2 year grant, RGCF will publish a monograph documenting all the strategies, materials and processes used to operate our SDI system under organic standards. Please call our office if you would like additional information.

Farm Internship Program

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RGCF is excited to announce our 2010 Internship program. This program is open to young and old alike- students interested in sustainable farming, recent college grads, retirees and anyone interested in getting a hands-on experience in organic farming. The program runs from May 15, 2010 thru August 28, 2010. Requirements to participate in the program include:

  1. Must be at least 18 years old
  2. Must volunteer 30-35 hours per week at the farm
  3. Must work at least 9 of the 15 weeks
  4. Must submit a letter of interest and resume
  5. A willingness to perform physical work in hot weather

RGCF cannot offer any cash stipend, however housing will be provided for those that need it. Vegetables from the farm will also be available to interns. An 8 hour training will be provided that includes: Safety Training, Farm Orientation and “Rules of the Row”. Internship will include farm tours of at least 3 other area farms and an appreciation B-B-Q hosted by the RGCF Board of Directors.

Job Description- Farming Intern update date: 4/1/2010

General Description- the Farming Intern works under direct supervision of the Chief Farmer and Farm Manager. The farming intern primarily will complete field and greenhouse tasks necessary for the production of agricultural crops at RGCF. This position will perform field and labor tasks associated with preparing field areas for crops, starting plants in the greenhouse, planting out starts, tending crops, harvesting and arranging for delivery of crops. The position may involve tractor work and does involve use of hand tools and walk behind tractor equipment.

Specific duties include:

Greenhouse related

  • planting starts in the early spring for plant out in the fields
  • maintaining, pruning, fertilizing starts to maximize growth and health
  • planting out starts in the fields
  • watering all starts
  • detailed record keeping of all activity for organic certification purposes
  • learning and mastering the climate control system of the greenhouse
  • cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining greenhouse to minimize disease/pest pressure

Field related

  • preparation of field areas using hand tools and walk behind tractor equipment
  • working in close communication with Farmer to coordinate tractor/hand cultivation
  • pruning, staking, fertilizing starts planted out
  • season extension activity such as hoop houses and row covers
  • disease prevention techniques
  • pest prevention activities
  • harvesting of crops
  • storage and packaging of crops for delivery
  • following all NOP and NMOCC organic standards
  • irrigating using all systems available: flood; well, gravity and City water drip systems

Infrastructure development

  • digging trenches for buried pipelines using hand tools and walk behind equipment
  • operating irrigation equipment
  • maintaining flood irrigation ditches

Community garden

  • assist with irrigation
  • assist in filling and maintaining stock tanks
  • assist in planting, weeding and harvesting crops from member plots
  • add compost or other soil amendments to plots as necessary
  • operate walk behind machinery, as directed by CGM
  • maintain hand tools as needed
  • irrigate weekly
  • coordinate with Farmer irrigation of plots and maintenance of irrigation system
  • operate walk behind tiller, mower and other small machinery

To sign up send a cover letter and your resume to: info@riograndefarm.org. Please put in the subject line: “summer internship”. For further information contact Minor Morgan, Executive Director at (505) 379-1640 or Chris Patchett, Farm Manager at: (505) 980-1693. RGCF is a 501(c)3 non profit and engages in public farming on public land for the public good. Thank you for considering Rio Grande Community Farm!

NM USDA Names RGCF 1 of 4 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Sites

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Mr. Rudy Garcia, USDA State Agronomist, today, April 1, 2010 announced that RGCF has been selected as one of 4 sites in New Mexico that will serve as a demonstration project for sustainable agriculture practices. The USDA will be gathering detailed data on every aspect of crop production in 16 acres of fields that are operated by RGCF. This information includes: soil, water and plant tissue tests, tillage procedures, amendments added to the soil, crops grown, cover crops and green manure crops, addition of compost and a variety of other factors that contribute to the overall health of the soil. Mr. Clarence Chavez, USDA soil scantiest, will be testing RGCF soils for “active carbon”. This will measure the extent of living organisms present in the soil and is a good indicator of overall soil health. Recently the USDA has trained all 42 USDA offices throughout New Mexico in the use of the active carbon test kit, and is encouraging farmers to use sustainable farming methods to increasing the health of their soil. RGCF is proud to be working with the USDA to establish and document these sound farming practices.

Gardening Workshops for 2010

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Planning your Vegetable Garden

This workshop will help you to consider your space and design a garden that meets your needs and desires.
Saturday, February 13 at 10:00AM
Harwood Art Center
$5 – free to members of Harwood, RGCF, Gardeners’ Guild and the Action Buzz Garden

Download Flyer

Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: Planting Your Vegetable Garden

What is the proper way to transplant a seedling? How should I lay out my garden? Should I plant in rows or use a different strategy? Get answers to these questions and more at this interactive workshop. Come with questions and leave with answers to dig in and get going right away!
Saturday, March 20 at 10:00AM
Rio Grande Community Farm
$5 • free to members of Harwood, RGCF, Gardeners’ Guild or the Action Buzz Garden

Download Flyer

Staying on Top of Things: Garden Maintenance

Oh, the weeds! And the bugs! This workshop will focus on keeping up with your flourishing garden by providing you with strategies to keep things healthy and vibrant. When to supplement with natural fertilizers, integrated pest management approaches and more will be covered.
Saturday, April 24 at 10:00AM
Action Buzz Garden
$5 • free to members of Harwood, RGCF, Gardeners’ Guild or the Action Buzz Garden

Seed Saving/Seed Swapping

Saving seeds from successful crops is an excellent way to ensure bountiful future harvests. Seed saving can also help you develop a strain that is ideally suited for your conditions. Come learn all about seed saving and, for those of you who have some to share, swap your favorite varieties with others. Why save seeds? What seeds can be saved? How should they be stored? What about cross-pollination? Join us to learn all about the remarkable life of seeds!
Saturday, August 21 at 10:00AM Sorry this event has been canceled.
Location TBA
$5 • free to members of Harwood, RGCF, Gardeners’ Guild or the Action Buzz Garden

USDA Acting Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Visits RGCF

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minor-morganAnn Bartuska, USDA Acting Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, tours Rio Grande Community Farm on August 11, 2009. Bartuska was joined with New Mexico Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist, Dennis Alexander. The visit happened after participating in an Agriculture Water Enhancement Program signing ceremony with the Santa Ana Pueblo. The full story was covered in the Conservation Showcase or you can download the PDF article.

Woody Tasch speaks at Rio Grande Community Farm

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On June 14, 2009, Rio Grande Community Farm hosted a small gathering to listen to Woody Tasch talk about how we might go about investing in local agriculture.  Tasch is the author of “Slow Money:  Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered.”  Highlights of the evening include musings from Woody Tasch, delicious food from Savoy Bar & Grill, mingling with local farm advocates, a double rainbow over the Sandias and a coyote howling after the rain.  The Slow Money Alliance will be hosting a conference in Santa Fe, September 11-12, 2009.  For more information, go to www.slowmoneyalliance.org.  If you are interested in attending future events at the Farm, please contact us at info@riograndefarm.org.

Senator Tom Udall sent a letter of support to the Rio Grande Community Farm.  We are addressing climate change through sustainable agriculture and local food sales, water scarcity through our highly-efficient drip irrigation system, and health problems through improved nutrition for school children.  He wrote in his letter, “If you only addressed one of these issues, that would be impressive. But the work you do here addresses all three. The fact that a grassroots enterprise like this one can deploy a system with such potential to do good gives me hope for the future of our state and our region.”  View full letter

We would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their help in making this event a success:  Marika Ray, Shastyn Photography, Alpha Graphics, Albuquerque Tent, Savoy Bar & Grill, La Montanita Coop, and Woody Tasch.

Gardening Workshops are Back

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gardening-flierWe are offering 2 workshops this fall.  They will be free for members and $5 for non-members.

Cool Season Gardening

September 12, 9:30-11:30 am
at the Barn at the Rio Grande Community Farm
taught by Farmer Deb Brubaker

New Mexico’s mild climate provides plenty of time to have a beautiful and productive garden year-round. Cool-season vegetables grown in the fall can often be more productive than in spring, with fewer insect problems and less variable temperatures. Join us to discuss the wide range of cool-season vegetables, chill protection techniques, successive planting, and more.

Composting

October 10, 9:30-11:30 am
at the Action Buzz Garden
taught by Walter Dodds from Soilutions

Description will be available soon.

Anne Cooper’s Land Art Installation

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annecooper-landartAnne Cooper’s land art entitled Anitya, meaning “impermanence” in Sanskrit, was installed in February.  The work is comprised of 81 bowls made from terracottacolored clay harvested from her land near Chama, New Mexico. Placed in a 9 x 9 foot grid, the raw clay bowls contain seed balls depending on the seasonal rains the seeds may sprout: wheat, rye, oats, blue gramma, side oats gramma, gallenta, little bluestem and other dryland grasses. The bowls eventually dissolve, returning to and leaving red stains in the earth.

anne-cooper-land-artThe installation is located within the community garden on the Northwest corner of Los Poblanos Open Space.  As expected the installation has been overgrown by vegetation.  If you are looking to find the location please download a map provided by Land/Art New Mexico.

Anne helped preserve the Los Poblanos Open Space from development during 1994 through 1997 when it was purchased by the City of Albuquerque.

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