16th Annual Congreso de las Acequias
National Hispanic Cultural Center
Saturday, November 21st, 2015, 9:00am – 4:30pm
(Albuquerque, NM). The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) announces its 16th annual membership meeting, Congreso de las Acequias which will be held on Saturday, November 21st at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The Congreso de las Acequias is the largest gathering of acequia members and supporters in New Mexico. This year, the event will take place in the historic South Valley, home to vibrant agricultural traditions and a legacy of social justice organizing.
"The Congreso is a celebration of acequia culture and heritage," said Harold Trujillo, President of the NM Acequia Association. "But we also come together to address some of the most pressing policy issues facing acequias and community ditches throughout the state." The agenda for the gathering includes a broad spectrum of educational and community-building activities. A unique component of the Congreso this year will be an altar to honor the contributions of women to agriculture, food traditions, and acequias in New Mexico.
Santiago Maestas, founder of the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias, will open the event. "Acequias of the Atrisco Valley have launched a Water is Sacred initiative and a water rights education campaign to mobilize to protect agricultural water rights." This and other similar efforts will be honored during a segment entitled "Stories in Defense of Water."
Honored guests will include Levi Romero, New Mexico Centennial Poet, Sister Joan, renowned climate justice activist who will lead the Bendicion de las Aguas, and State Engineer Tom Blaine. Featured presenters will highlight efforts to raise acequia-grown food and to link local farms to local schools through school meals and also educational activities.
The Congreso Awards Ceremony will take place during the luncheon where NMAA will inaugurate the first annual Ben Lujan Leadership Award for policymakers who have continued the legacy of acequia policy advocacy of former Speaker Ben Lujan who championed acequias during his legislative career. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and his family will give the award to Senator Carlos Cisneros and Senator Peter Wirth for their sponsorship of legislation benefiting acequias. The event is co-hosted by the South Valley Regional Acequia Association and sponsored by the Santa Cruz Irrigation District, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Sierra Irrigation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute. For more information visit www.lasacequias.org
or call (505)-995-9644.