Fall 2013 Newsletter: 8th Annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference

A message from our co-founders

Co-Founders Emigdio Ballon, and Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray are working together to increase the capacity of Four Bridges 

Dear Four Bridges Members & Supporters,

We are enjoying a very productive year so far in 2013. Our formal irrigation system funded in part by USDA, NRCS is nearly complete, and will be operational for next spring. This project will undoubtedly bring greater success to our educational farm and move us closer to becoming a self sustaining organization through our agricultural products. 

Earlier this year, we were honored with a Sustainable Santa Fe Award in Environmental Justice for our work organizing the annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference. We share this prestigious award with Tesuque Farms, and Sostenga at Northern New Mexico College.

In January we conducted our very first Service Learning Trip to South America. This was a great learning experience for us, and we are now designing and improving this project to be more profitable and achieve stronger results in the communities we work with. Our next trip will be to Bolivia in January 2014.

As we complete our harvest season, and come to the close of another successful conference, we are beginning to plan our winter activities. We will be working hard during the winter months to plan more infrastructure, and secure more funding to continue to build a successful organization. We thank everyone who continues to support us and the work that we do.

Emigdio Ballon
Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray

What’s Happening Now

Projects in Progress and What We Plan for This Quarter

News from the farm

Our growing season this year was not as abundant as last year. A late frost claimed most of the fruit, but we had marginal success with our pears. Also a good majority of our crops were destroyed during the installation of our irrigation system by the enormous backhoe/trencher that dug the 4 foot trenches to place our lines below the frost line. 

We did have success with our basil, which we sell to Coonridge Organic Goat Dairy, tomatoes, chard, and arugula, which we sold to the Espanola Community Market and local farmers’ markets. The good news is that next year we expect the best crop ever since our new irrigation will save time and increase productivity. 

We still continue to provide outreach to student groups, and offer Service Learning at our educational farm, and off site. We hosted visits from Michigan State, UC Santa Cruz, St. Michaels College of Missouri, Dine College, and others.

Fundraising Dinner with Vandana Shiva

We will be hosting a fundraising dinner with Vandana Shiva and the Grandmothers on Friday evening, October 25th following the first day of the conference. All of our esteemed guests will be present to chat and mingle with. Seating is limited so purchase your tickets soon.

Funds raised will support educational programs in New Mexico, and other native communities in the U.S. and South America. Tickets are $50 a plate. The menu and other details are available on our website.

50/50 Raffle!

Support our fundraiser to continue our programs in South America. Tickets are $1.00 each, 4 for $5.00, or an arm’s length for $20. The winner will receive 50% of the funds raised. The other 50% will support our programs in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Many Thanks to our funders & supporters

Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese
Earth Care
Honor the Earth
Kalliopeia Foundation
Lannan Foundation
New Mexico Acequia Association
Santa Fe Community Foundation
Tides Foundation

8th Annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference

Our 8th Annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference will be held on October 25th and 26th on the campus of Northern New Mexico College, in Espanola, New Mexico. We organize this annual event with partners, Pueblo of Tesuque Farming Department, and Northern New Mexico College Sostenga Program.

Our speakers include an exciting line up of international personalities including, Dr. Vandana Shiva, PhD, of New Dehli, India, six members of The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Clayton Thomas-Muller of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Roberto Sahanero of Bolivia, Iman Ishtar of Palestine, and Yaxon Pascual Saloj, a Mayan Spiritual Leader from Guatemala. Other speakers include David Barsamian, Dr. Greg Cajete, PhD, and Mohawk Seedsaver Rowen White. 

The event will also include panel discussions on seeds, women in agriculture, the importance of cultural preservation, and a youth panel run by Santa Fe Indian School, Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm, and La Tierra Montessori School for Arts and Science. The annual “Sustainability Showcase” will feature the film “Edible City,” A doumentary film about the Good Food Movement that is taking root in the San Fransisco area. It is directed by Andrew Hasse. 

We will offer several workshops including a discussion of “Sacred Gardens,” by our President and Program Manager, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, a workshop in Traditional Goat Cheese Making with true vegetable rennet by our friend and mentor Nancy Coonridge of Coonridge Organic Goat Farm, and Beekeeping Advice by Melanie Kirby of Zia Queen Bee. Clayton Brascoupe of the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association will once again demonstrate seed cleaning techniques, and students from La Tierra Montessori School for Arts & Science will demonstrate Seed Ball Making, growing sprouts at home, and making a worm box for indoor use.

The conference will conclude with closing remarks from our esteemed guests, and a traditional seed exchange. We urge everyone to get involved. Share your ideas for future events, that focus on sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. 

We are willing to collaborate with existing events, as well as organizing community meetings to discuss important issues regarding the health and nutrition of our communities in the State of New Mexico. Email us your suggestions and ideas at fourbridges@live.com.