FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Taos, NM – September 9, 2013 – Taos non-profit organization Agriculture Implementation Research & Education (AIRE) is coordinating a harvest event and feast of horno roasted chicos on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, 2013. Miguel Santistevan serves as Executive Director of AIRE and is coordinating agricultural activities at Parr Field while working as a Math/Science Teacher at Chrysalis Alternative School. Jason Weisfeld, Enos Garcia Elementary School 5th Grade Teacher and Taos Municipal School liaison, serves as President for AIRE and was instrumental in the initiation of the project. Micah Roseberry, treasurer of AIRE, has been coordinating the greenhouse and raised bed cultivation portion of Parr Field while managing the irrigation system and schedule for the project.
On Friday, September 13, 2013, students from Enos Garcia Elementary will be harvesting the corn at Parr Field from 12:30-3:30 PM. The community is invited to harvest starting at 3:30 PM and to receive a presentation about the accomplishments and vision of the Parr Field Garden Project at 4:00 PM. At 5:00 PM the students, staff, and parents of the Taos Municipal Schools and interested community members will gather at the horno mud oven located at Chrysalis Alternative School to light the fire, heat the horno, and fill with the harvested corn. A potluck meal is offered as part of the evening activities. Activities at Chrysalis on Friday evening will be complete by about 8:30 PM. On Saturday morning at 9:00 AM, the students, staff, and parents of the Taos Municipal School District are invited to partake in a feast of fresh horno-roasted chicos. Interested community members are welcome to attend but are requested to make a donation to AIRE for continuation of the Garden Project.
The Garden Project is in its second year and was planted this spring with over 500 students of the Taos Municipal School District in the northwest corner of the field by the Town of Taos complex. The Project is made possible through grants from the Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation, the Healy Foundation, and the McCune Foundation. AIRE’s activities are also made possible through collaboration with UNM-Taos’ CAMP program, which provides paid intern positions each semester. Edward Gonzales of the USDA National Immigrant Farming Initiative (NIFI) will help in preparing the horno for this years’ chicos.
AIRE is hosting a photo contest for the students who received seed packets during the springtime planting with prizes of $50, $25, and $15 for first, second, and third place. All students who planted gardens and took pictures are encouraged to submit their photos to Miguel Santistevan via email, cell phone, or in person to Chrysalis Alternative School with identifying information by the end of September 2013. Awards will be granted by the end of October.
The Parr Field Garden Project is a focal point for AIRE’s Sembradores youth-in-agriculture program, which gives students hands on experience in all the stages of agricultural production. The project is also intended to inspire the students’ and their families’ experience in agriculture and to demonstrate food traditions like the making of chicos and other food preservation and cooking techniques. In addition to its “Living Seed Library” program, AIRE also facilitates farm tours, agricultural workshops, and presentations while engaging in several research projects in agricultural sustainability and crop adaptation.
AIRE’s mission is “to gather the people and plant the fields”.
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