Fall 2011 Newsletter: Four Bridges Welcomes Arty Mangan as our interim executive director

As we complete steps to achieve our own 501(c)(3) status from our previously fiscal sponsor status, we welcome Arty Mangan as our Interim Executive Director. Please join us in welcoming Arty to our team. 

Dear Four Bridges Members & Supporters,

I am very honored to have been asked to act as Interim Executive Director of Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute to help fulfill the mission of assisting indigenous communities in their quest to return to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

We live in very challenging times. Traditional Indigenous knowledge is a very powerful foundation to help develop creative naturebased solutions to environmental and economic problems. 

Four Bridges is doing important on-the-ground work empowering people to restore health and cultural sovereignty to Indigenous communities. 

This year’s Traditional Agriculture and Sustainable Living Conference will feature a wonderful line-up of international activists such as Vandana Shiva, Percy Schmeiser, Gary Nabhan, Galen Knight and others. 

I hope to see you there. 

— Arty Mangan

News from the Farm
What we have accomplished and what we plan for next year

We have experienced many successes on our farm this year. Our six nannies gave birth to 10 kids; 7 boys and 3 girls. We also hatched our first flocks of turkeys and chickens from our own incubator, and one industrious hen who insisted on hatching her own chicks. 

We also developed several beautiful experimental gardens including spiral, waffle, terrace, and three sisters gardens. We continue to work with companion planting practices. Our most successful crops have been amaranth, heirloom tomatoes, chili, asparagus, buckwheat, calendula, and several varieties of squash. We have produced so many healthy plants that we were able to collect our own seeds for next year, which will reduce our budget expenses. We also donated some of our harvest for the Gathering for Mother Earth, organized by Tewa Women United. Our educational farm also played host to many groups of visitors from Earth Care, University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Institute of American Indian Arts. 

This fall we are gearing up to build a greenhouse funded by a USDA, NRCS Grant, and a seed bank. In the spring our projects will begin by installing a formal irrigation system also funded by USDA, NRCS. 

Collaboration with Santa Clara Day School 

We have been honored with a request by Santa Clara Day School to work with the children creating seed balls to help restore their pueblo lands destroyed by the Los Conchas wildfire. Work will begin this spring. We will keep you posted on our progress, and donation/volunteer needs.

6th Annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference 

Our 6th annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference, will be held October 28th & 29th, 2011 at Northern New Mexico College, in Espanola, New Mexico. The conference will include keynote speeches by Dr. Vandana Shiva, PhD, and Percy Schmeiser, as well as local and regional experts in the areas of food security and sustainable ecology. The event also includes a heritage seed exchange and workshops and panel discussions on youth issues in the 21st century, food and nutrition, water issues, traditional farming, land restoration, traditional medicine, and medicinal herbs. 

Organizers expect this symposium to generate proactive community response in support of sustainable communities, ecologies, health and indigenous spiritual practices. There will be a vendors market featuring natural earth friendly products, information and services. These events will contribute tremendously toward the goal of making the State of New Mexico, and the nation aware of the need for sustainable agriculture and the Genetic modified food issue. 

The Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference is a organized by a partnership of likeminded organizations including the Pueblo of Tesuque, Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, Northern New Mexico College, Sostenga, and Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association (TNAFA). 

This conference was created to bring awareness to the prevalence, presence and threat of genetically modified food seeds and foods. This organization promotes healthy, traditional, sustainable methods of agriculture that exist as viable alternatives to the dangers of corporate agriculture. In cooperation with the Native American communities of Northern New Mexico with their tradition of agriculture and self sufficiency we are asking people to abandon their reliance on corporate agriculture and the consumerism life styles that surround them. We demonstrate the validity of their traditional agriculture and knowledge to the broader community and teach it by presenting an opportunity to listen to, and share in their world view through our symposium.

It is our position that the genetic modification of our food may be the worst pollution problem facing mankind. We have seen that polluted air and water can be cleaned up and be used again. Genetic modification cannot be cleaned up. There is no process to reverse genetic modification and bring the organic material back to its original state. Genetic modifications made today are forever. We believe that “for profit corporate scientists” have started a fire that they cannot put out.

Sacred Gardens Project: Now in full bloom

Co-Founders Emigdio Ballon, Quechua, Bolivia, and Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, Mohawk, Kahnawake, are combining research from experimental gardens at the Sken:nen Ken’hak (Peace Forever) Educational Farm in Santa Cruz, NM, with interviews and conversations from people around the globe to complete their collaborative book, “Sacred Gardens – Wisdoms from our Ancestors.” 

If you have a story to share please contact them through fourbridges@live.com. The information you share may appear in the final publication of their book!