I grew up in this valley. Like many others, I left to seek education & opportunity elsewhere. College, then the Army, took me places I’d never imagined.
It was satisfying, but after 10 years in the Army, my wife & I decided to come back to the New Mexico mountains to make a different life doing something we both think is valuable: producing the kind of wholesome food we both love in a way that is good for the animals, the land, our bodies, and our community. In a word, farming.
We had some experience in agriculture – I grew up on a northern New Mexico ranch & ran cattle before I left for college and the military; my wife spent a year working on my parents’ ranch during my first deployment, getting to know the farmer’s market from the producer’s side of the table.
Every bit as important as those production experiences, though, was our time away from the ranch, when we were consumers who had to go out and find local farm products. Doing so – making the transition from spending all of our food dollars at the grocery store to spending 90% with local producers – taught us about food & about the true worth of local produce. It also gave us the opportunity to meet amazing producers – farmers & gardeners who were generous with their time & attention, and who inspired us with a vision of what a small farm could mean.
We believe small farms are important – not only to preserve the countryside, maintain traditional ways of life, & supply wholesome, delicious food, but as a driver of economic activity in rural America. Rio Arriba county, and Northern New Mexico generally, fall at the bottom of a depressingly long list of national poverty and employment statistics. As a result, young people leave the community for opportunity elsewhere, placing traditional ways of life under threat. We see a diverse ecosystem of small farms as part of the solution.
More importantly, though, we think there is just no better life than being stockmen – stockpeople, if you prefer – in northern New Mexico, and nothing more satisfying than producing the highest quality food in a way that’s good for the land, the animals, and the community.
As beginning farmers, we face the same obstacles as most young people entering agriculture, the most daunting of which is lack of access to land and capital. Our way forward has been to partner with Ganados del Valle, a local 501c(3) nonprofit devoted to encouraging sustainable economic development and preserving traditional ways of life. Ganados had recently purchased a farm in Los Ojos – a property with enormous potential, but one that had suffered badly from neglect & abuse. The organization offered us the opportunity to rehabilitate the property, making it a productive farm and an engine for community development.
So that’s what we’re doing. We’re excited about this new venture, and we hope that you are too. We’ll share our progress as we bring this old farm back to life, and hope you check back often to see it grow and change.