AIRE provides seed for Veteran agriculture program

20140614-142920-52160487.jpgToday we were honored to provide the Not Forgotten Outreach organization with seed to plant in their fields.  Some of these seeds are acclimatized to this area and other seed has been acquired for various school gardens over the last several years.  All of the seeds are “organic” or otherwise open-pollinated and can be saved for the coming seasons.  Of the eleven varieties provided above, a few stand out with their particular potential and opportunity.

We like to focus on the cultivation of adaptable staple crops as a means of meeting the challenge of food security and climate change.  The Golden Amaranth we provided is an example of a grain that is highly productive, high in protein, and does not necessarily require large amounts of water.  We have even grown this amaranth in the context of our cobble/sand mulch gardens without any additional water besides the initial watering for establishment.  The white sweet corn and bolita beans are also acclimatized to this area and have shown incredible resilience and adaptability, especially in the case of the bolita beans, the traditional bean of this area.

The Red Sorghum on the bottom right is also particularly interesting.  Traditionally referred to as “caña,” sorghum was grown in this region of northern New Mexico for the juice in the cane stalk that could be pressed out and boiled down into molasses.  This sweetener served the needs of people before the availability of honey or sugar.  We are hoping to collaborate with Not Forgotten Outreach on reviving this tradition if not just expanding our agricultural potential of this valuable crop through the dissemination of the seed stock.  Not only can the juice be extracted from the stalk of the plant, but the grain produced is gluten-free and offers many opportunities in that niche market.

This seed was provided as part of AIRE’s “Living Seed Library” program where we like to provide seed for school gardens, community-driven agricultural efforts, and other agricultural programs to help get them started.  Part of the Living Seed Library is to offer technical assistance to the grower and conducting workshops on seed saving from the crops grown from the Library.  We wish the Not Forgotten Outreach a productive agricultural season and hope these seeds serve them as well as they have served us.  We look forward to helping out as much as we can and co-hosting seed saving and food processing workshops with the Not Forgotten Outreach as the season develops.  As the Veterans in the Not Forgotten Outreach have given so much for the Nation, AIRE is honored to be part of the process of helping them get back to the Country…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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