Tierra Lucero's goal of food sovereignty means returning agricultural wisdom and capacity to the Upper Rio Grande—a region with a longstanding history of sustainable agricultural practices and determined self-reliance. Food requires time, energy, and commitment to reach our tables. Much of the embodied energy and consequences implicit in our dominant agricultural system remain largely unaccounted for in sticker prices on shelves. If there is an interruption in the movement of food from industrial farm to fork, we will not have the time required to wait for unplanted seeds to reach harvestable crop.
Because we believe nutritious food is not a privilege, but a right, we started Thanksgiving Farm in the Spring of 2010 to address pressing hunger-related issues in Northern New Mexico. We feel it is our inherent responsibility to provide for our own long-term needs as well as the immediate and pressing needs of those in our community.
Our approach is necessarily proactive. The only way we can achieve food sovereignty is through a community-vested effort, and education and outreach are key components to accomplishing this vision. Thanks in part to a vast network of activists and educators, citizens throughout the country are beginning to agree that providing locally for local needs is a priority, if not a necessity. Knowing from where, as well as from whom our food and water come, allows us a greater degree of oversight as to the impacts on our environment and the quality of the food and water delivered. As a grassroots organization, we believe that optimal solutions come from within the local community, for those who observe and act on the ground level understand the challenges and are most interested in achieving solutions.
Thanksgiving Farms is currently a 3.5 acre project spreading out over an old flood plain in a wide arroyo at the south end of Salazar Road, not far from Taos Plaza. After a very successful first year of abundant harvest, we have begun to help local families and visiting groups "dig in" to farming. In our second harvest season, we expect that local food banks and our Sunday Market will be bursting with the freshest produce all season long. We will also be expanding our cultivated acreage from 3 ½ to 6 acres. See you this Spring, Taos!
In our experience, teaching people to plant, grow, and save seeds while caring for the soil and guarding the water is the best long-term way to end hunger. At Thanksgiving Farms, we are laying the groundwork in the form of irrigation, soil building, and tool efficiency to get folks growing. Hands will grasp the soil and come to know the elements and rhythm of nature and how to adapt growing techniques to challenges like wind, heat, cold, and drought. Families, neighbors, school-age youth, and other collective groups will leave the farm inspired to action and self-reliance – and also well-fed!
In addition to learning space, Thanksgiving Farms will provide an entrepreneurial launching pad for small farmers or student groups who need a place to grow an initial agricultural enterprise. They will then be able to ease right into selling at our local farmers markets. In the future, we even hope to build an on-site facility where farmers can process and preserve foods for consumption or sale. We are continually looking for ways to boost our local agrarian economy!