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Native American-Acequia Alliance Receives National Recognition

The recently formed New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance is one of ten groups recognized nationally to receive funding to engage in policy development with regard to sustainable food systems. The Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is supporting the Alliance through a new initiative entitled Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy.

The Alliance core members are the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association and the New Mexico Association which are comprised of traditional farmers and ranchers from tribal, Pueblo, and acequia communities. “New Mexico has a beautiful heritage of agricultural and native food traditions. Our food policy in the state should reflect that heritage,” says Paula Garcia, Director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. Historically, native and land-based people have been underrepresented in food and agriculture policy development. “We believe that our collective voice as land-based people can help shape more sustainable food and agriculture policies in New Mexico.”

“We are very honored to receive support for our work to strengthen native food traditions and defend our seeds from genetic engineering,” says Clayton Brascoupe, Director of the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association. “This will build upon resolutions by New Mexico’s Pueblos to oppose genetic engineering of seeds.” Since making a Declaration of Seed Sovereignty in March of 2005, members of the Alliance have effectively lobbied Pueblo governments to adopt resolutions defending native seeds.

Some of the policy goals of the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance include advocating for programs to provide educational and financial resources to small-scale farmers, to promote the exchange and purchase of locally grown food, and to defend seeds from genetic contamination. In the next three years, the Alliance will hold community forums and meetings to build a policy framework for the state based on the concept of food sovereignty, which encompasses the ability to grow and process locally grown food that is also eaten in the same community.

 

 

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