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Acequia Legislative Advocacy Update

Jaimie Park, Policy Coordinator & Paula Garcia, Executive Director

The NMAA has given several presentations to legislative committees in recent months covering topics related to drought, water sharing, climate change, infrastructure, cannabis, and water transfers/leases. Presentations included background information, overviews of policy priorities of acequias, and policy recommendations. A brief overview of recent presentations are provided below.  To view any of these presentations, visit the NMAA website at www.lasacequias.org.

Over coming months, we will continue to engage with legislative committees and prepare for advocacy in the 2022 Legislative Session. We send our deep appreciation to all of the acequia leaders who continually show up to share testimonies and lend their voices to these important statewide efforts.

Supporting Acequia Resiliency in Megadrought – Gallup, July 13, 2021

Paula Garcia, NMAA Executive Director, was invited to give a presentation to the Water and Natural Resources Legislative Committee (WNRC) on the impacts of drought and climate change on acequias in New Mexico. Paula shared acequia testimonials about reduced snowpack, earlier spring runoff, low stream flows, and dry river beds, as well as first hand accounts of flood damage from extreme weather events. These testimonials were aligned with climate change predictions that were presented by climatologist Dr. David Gutzler, who presented before Paula at the same meeting of the WNRC. 

The NMAA provided the following recommendations:

  • Support and affirm acequia water sharing practices through capacity building, leadership development, and technical assistance for acequias and regional associations, along with providing more resources for OSE staffing; 
  • Strengthen acequia infrastructure by developing the Acequia and Community Ditch Infrastructure Fund (“ACDIF”) into a robust program with staff and reliable funding, protecting ACDIF funding, and institutional support for climate-adapted designs that are more resilient to flooding; 
  • Strengthen disaster response and assistance to acequias by conducting and completing an acequia infrastructure inventory and mapping for both state and federal hazard mitigation plans, develop capacity for acequia leaders to serve as liaisons with state and federal disaster agencies, and provide more resources for state agencies to respond to disasters that do not receive a federal emergency declaration; 
  • Support water conflict resolution through provision of resources for conflict management mediation services; and 
  • Strengthen acequia conservation practices by connecting landowners to USDA Farm Bill programs for soil and water conservation practices, leveraging federal funds with state funding (i.e. the Agriculture and Natural Resources Trust Fund), and building upon the recent work with the state Healthy Soils Program to support drought resiliency through soil health practices.

 

Water, Equity, and Cannabis Production: Implications for Acequias – Taos, August 12, 2021

In this presentation to the WNRC, Paula was part of a panel that included Martha Graham from the New Mexico Rural Water Association, John Romero from the Office of the State Engineer, and Linda Trujillo, Superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department. The presentations by Martha and Paula focused on the challenges that are facing rural communities as a result of the demand for water from cannabis production. Martha noted that several rural community water systems are facing a variety of requests to use domestic water for commercial cannabis. Paula discussed the potential impacts to acequias, including the potential of water transfers out of acequias or transfers of surface water to groundwater. Paula went on to explain the rationale for advocating for language in the Cannabis Regulation Act to require valid water rights and compliance with water provider rules prior to receiving a license. One of the key issues that surfaced was that the OSE does not have the capacity to enforce illegal water uses, a situation that will be exacerbated by cannabis production.

 

Irrigation Works Construction Fund – Taos, August 12, 2021

Also in testimony before the WNRC, Paula was part of a panel that also included staff from the Interstate Stream Commission to discuss the Irrigation Works Construction Fund (“IWCF”). NMAA’s IWCF presentation focused on this trust fund’s insolvent status and what actions are needed to restore the fund. The IWCF is a trust fund the legislature created in 1953, with the purpose of funding costs of investigations, construction, and other expenses directly chargeable to an infrastructure project. In 2019, NMAA was able to secure a statutory amendment to the IWCF, codifying an annual allocation of $2.5 million into the Acequia and Community Ditch Infrastructure Fund (“ACDIF”). The ACDIF is an exciting endeavor to establish a one-stop shop for acequia infrastructure projects, providing funding for design and engineering as well as construction. 

Unfortunately, the IWCF is nearly depleted, requiring immediate legislative action to replenish that fund and to secure ACDIF funding. NMAA has recommended to the Legislative Finance Committee they restore solvency to the IWCF with two specific actions: 1) use General Fund monies to replace $12 million in trust fund monies for the OSE-ISC agency budget starting in FY23 and 2) appropriate a one-time infusion of $100 million of state or federal funding into the IWCF to restore the balance to previous levels that existed before the fund was tapped to pay for agency expenses.

Supporting Acequia Infrastructure in New Mexico – Mora, July 19, 2021

For the first meeting of the Rural Economic Opportunities Task Force (REOTF), Executive Director Paula Garcia was part of a panel with Ralph Vigil, NM Acequia Commission, and Jonathan Martinez, Acequia Program Manager for the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) to draw attention to acequia infrastructure as one of the most pressing policy issues for acequias. Paula’s role on the panel was to raise awareness regarding the importance of acequias to New Mexico, what acequia infrastructure is, the pressing infrastructure needs and challenges, current funding programs for acequia infrastructure, and specific policy solutions needed. 

Acequia infrastructure challenges involve the following: 1) the number of acequias requesting funding and assistance exceeds the current capacity of funding programs (i.e. ISC, RCPP, Capital Outlay); 2) acequias vary greatly in capacity and project readiness, with most needing assistance with governance, pre-planning and project management to prevent unfinished projects and delaying in spending Capital Outlay; and 3) there is a bottleneck for engineering design, limiting the number of acequias ready to receive construction funding. Specific policy solutions include 1) protecting funding for ACDIF by restoring solvency to the IWCF (see previous section for more details), 2) creating an Acequia Bureau at the ISC to ensure adequate staffing levels and provision of project support, technical assistance, and professional engineering services; 3) and continuing to fund the Acequia and Community Ditch Education Program at DFA, which funds NMAA’s Acequia Governance Project and Infrastructure Planning Work. 

Acequia Land Grant Education (ALGE) Project – Anton Chico, September 23, 2021

Paula presented on a panel before the Land Grant Committee with Adrian Sandoval of the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations (CESDP) at New Mexico Highlands University and Dr. Jacobo Baca, Research Historian with the UNM Land Grant Studies Program to give an update on the progress related to two legislative memorials from 2019. HM 31 (Miguel Garcia) and SM 31 (Peter Campos) requested that acequia and land grant leaders work together to develop recommendations for youth curriculum development. Some seed money was appropriated to CESDP to facilitate a series of meetings with community leaders and educators to develop recommendations. The panel shared a white paper that summarized the project background and results of the community meetings. The next steps are to work with the NM Public Education Department on teacher training and educational materials.  

Water Transfers and Water Leases: Impacts on Acequias – Anton Chico, September 23, 2021

Paula and David Benavides, Attorney with New Mexico Legal Aid, presented to the Land Grant Committee on water transfers and water leases. David’s presentation covered the tenets of NM water law including the basic requirement that existing water rights be protected any time there is a new appropriation or that an existing water right is transferred. He went on to explain that a recent OSE practice turns this long-standing legal principle on its head by granting preliminary approvals on water lease applications. He explained that this practice is unlawful and that a recent district court decision explicitly explains all the reasons that the OSE is not authorized to grant preliminary approvals. Paula provided some further background and shared a case studies that illustrate how water transfers in general affect acequias, and how preliminary approval could be extremely detrimental to acequias and rural communities who use protests as a tool to raise concerns about the impacts of water transfers/leases on their water rights. 

Acequias and Redistricting in New Mexico

The New Mexico Acequia Association is preparing recommendations to submit to the Citizen’s Redistricting Committee. The Committee was established by the State Legislature as a non-partisan body charged with developing redistricting maps. Upon completion of the Committee’s work, the State Legislature will have a special session in November 2021 to approve the new district maps.

Redistricting takes place every ten years following the decennial census. The US Census Bureau released updated population data from the 2020 Census a few days ago. The Citizen’s Redistricting Committee is completing a round of public input and has an online portal that allows members of the public to submit written testimony and maps.

Acequias as Communities of Interest

The NMAA will focus on the importance of acequias as “communities of interest” and will be proposing draft maps for legislative districts that are considerate of acequias. For those areas of the state that have acequias, legislative district boundaries should be considerate of the need for acequias to have a political voice. These are some general principles that NMAA supports:

  • Acequia communities share a common culture that is rooted in a history of small-scale agriculture and water governance. Their social, cultural, and economic similarities constitute a community of interest.
  • Acequias tend to be located in rural and semi-rural (small-town/village) areas of the state. To the extent possible, legislative district boundaries should be drawn in such a way that rural people represent rural districts.
  • Acequia communities are closely intertwined with the landscape. Hydrological features, such as watersheds or corridors of irrigated land, are taken into consideration.
  • Acequia communities are historic land-based communities. One factor to take under consideration is that some of them are predominantly Hispanic. Legislative districts should be drawn so that the vote of Hispanic communities is not diluted.

Retain 3rd Congressional District as a Northern District

While detailed work is still needed to develop specific maps, the NMAA is making one key recommendation, that the 3rd Congressional district remain a district that represents northern New Mexico. While acequias are located statewide, the vast majority of them are located in the 3rd Congressional district which fosters conditions in which acequias can have political representation that is responsive to their interests.

Next Steps

The Committee is taking public input through meetings and the online portal. Based on that input, the Committee will be developing draft maps for public review by late September or early October, when another round of public input will be conducted. The NMAA is giving verbal public comment at the public meetings and is in the process of preparing maps for submission to the committee. One piece of data that is being used to draw maps is an  that shows most of the major locations of acequias in New Mexico, which is used to determine representation in the Congreso de las Acequias, the governing body of the NMAA. The map is below:

For more information, contact paula@lasacequias.org.

Here Come the Weed Growers: What Future do we want for our Acequias?

Here Come the Weed Growers: What Future do we want for our Acequias?

Acequia communities should brace themselves for the many individuals and corporations intent on growing commercial marijuana in our villages. As the Cannabis Advisory Committee meets for the first and only time before rules are officially promulgated, we should consider two potential scenarios:

SCENARIO #1: First, imagine New Mexico in ten years after cannabis legalization where our policymakers and communities have been successful in fostering a socially just, equitable cannabis economy where small-scale growers and small business are thriving. Because of robust water protections and social equity mandates in the law, New Mexico grew a cannabis industry that provides economic opportunities for producers and small businesses as well as provides a healthy product for both medicinal and recreational use. New Mexico had the foresight to make it possible for small-scale businesses to get established with access to capital.

Imagine driving through rural New Mexico and seeing small-scale cannabis operations alongside fields of locally grown food. Farmers work cooperatively to produce, process, and market their product and have developed high-quality, small-scale cannabis crops that earn them a good livelihood. Because of the profitability of cannabis, more farmers have stayed on the land and more farmers are growing food for their local communities. The population of rural communities has stabilized after decades of outmigration. Rural farmers have a fair opportunity at making an income from cannabis.

SCENARIO #2: Second, imagine New Mexico in ten years after cannabis legalization without water protections and social equity mandates. In their rush to gain tax revenue from the cannabis industry, policymakers hastily enacted legislation and rules that prioritized a quick start up for the industry over the concerns of rural communities, acequias, and social justice advocates. The corporations who already were established for medical cannabis had the advantage of scale and successfully advocated for large-scale production. Because a variety of producers, both small and large, opposed water protections, the new cannabis economy resulted in a raid on New Mexico’s water with promulgation of new rules that undermined over a century of water laws that protected existing water rights.

Out of desperation for water, cannabis producers of all sizes got variances to drill wells, obtain water leases through unlawful means, and otherwise undermine New Mexico’s water laws. Lack of start up capital for local producers and small businesses benefited out of state corporations to move into New Mexico and gain substantial advantages over New Mexico residents. After ten years, New Mexico has an oligopoly of out of state operations who gave seized control of the cannabis market along with vast areas of farmland and water rights. Cannabis is legal but it is corporate-grown.  Acequia communities have been overrun by outside corporations to grow cannabis and outmigration of land-based families has accelerated, replaced by low-wage workers tending to corporate cannabis.

BACK TO THE PRESENT: The Regulation and Licensing Department and the Cannabis Control Division just completed a hearing on regulations to implement the Cannabis Regulation Act. Earlier this year, New Mexico was at a crossroads in how to proceed with cannabis legalization. Policymakers had good intentions to make legal cannabis available for medicinal and recreational uses, as well as to decriminalize cannabis possession and to expunge records of those convicted in the past. However, it took extraordinary effort by acequias, land grants, and social equity advocates to get some important language in the CRA regarding water and social equity. These were important gains but the CRA could have been much stronger. Specifically, stronger social equity provisions would could have ensured that New Mexico residents who are small-scale producers or small-business owners would have access such as start-up capital and technical assistance.

After two hearings on the proposed rules, New Mexico appears to be on track for Scenario #2. The proposed rules that were the subject of a hearing on August 6, 2021 failed to address the most basic concerns of a variety of advocates from acequias, land grants, and social equity advocates:

  • Although the CRA required appointment of a Cannabis Advisory Committee to advise on the content of regulations, the rules were drafted without input from a committee. A committee was appointed just days before an agency deadline to finalize the rules. The committee appointments were announced just three days before their official meeting to “advise” on the rules. At a meeting scheduled for August 10, 2021, the RLD and CCD are expecting the committee to give them the green light to proceed with the regulations as drafted.
  • Of greatest concern is a new provision in the regulations allowing applicants for licenses to obtain a variance that could allow them to circumvent the basic water protections in the CRA. Due to the intense advocacy of the NMAA and other allies, the CRA requires that an application for a cannabis license include either documentation from the OSE of a valid water rights or certification of compliance with the rules of the water provider for that new use. These are reasonable requirements. The variance provision may allow licenses to be granted via a variance and without adherence to the legal water requirements.

Beyond the concerns about water and the flawed process of rulemaking, the emerging cannabis industry is on track to be dominated by corporations without the needed access to capital for locally-owned businesses. There is still time to get this process on track to achieve a more equitable economy that does not jeopardize our water supplies. To start, we must act quickly on the following:

  • The rulemaking process should be deferred at least until the CAC has had adequate time to review and deliberate on the proposed rules. The RLD and CCD should substantially revise their regulations based on the input provided by the New Mexico Acequia Association and the New Mexico Land Grant Consejo. The provision for granting variances must be removed or explicitly limited such that a variance cannot be granted to circumvent statutory requirements regarding water.
  • Additional legislation is needed to address social equity, including revisiting the language that was previously in drafts of the CRA that included both a Community Reinvestment Fund and Social Equity Fund which provided that some of the tax revenue from cannabis be used to improve the quality of life and equity of New Mexicans.
  • The concerns about water rights extend beyond cannabis laws and rulemaking. The OSE has a practice of granting “preliminary approval” on water leases, which is unlawful. The NMAA and other entities in New Mexico have expressed grave concern about this practice and have raised concerns repeatedly. Two factors that add fuel to this fire are 1) the urgency of cannabis producers who need water and 2) the proposed variance in the regulations that could allow a license without compliance with the CRA water protections. As long as the OSE is granting these unlawful water lease permits, it is opening the door for illegal water uses for cannabis production.

Take action before June 29th on cannabis, water, and equity!!

In a special session earlier this year, the State Legislature legalized adult-use cannabis a.k.a. recreational cannabis. Now, the State is taking public comment on a set of draft rules to implement the new law.
It is important for acequia leaders to participate in this process to guide the state toward a cannabis industry that protects our precious water resources and that fosters an economy that is more inclusive and equitable for small, rural producers. To read comments already submitted by NMAA, click here: Amended Final NMAA Comments on Cannabis Producer License Rules June 16 2021
Join the New Mexico Acequia Association as we share information about the public comment process including talking points about water and equity and tips on how to submit comments through the Cannabis Control Division website, email, and snail mail. Click here for the instructions on submitting comments.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
10:00am – 11:30am
Join virtually by Zoom or phone
Overall, NMAA is requesting in our comments that regulations should be consistent with the language of the state law that was recently passed, the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA). NMAA worked hard to advocate for language in the new law that protects water and requires that rules include provisions for social equity.
The June 29th hearing should be delayed until the Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee is created and has an opportunity to review these proposed rules.
Prevent illegal uses of water. The CRA requires specific protections to ensure that cannabis growers have a a legal right to a commercial water supply, water rights or another source of water and that they provide the following as part of their license application: 1) documentation from the State Engineer or 2) documentation of compliance with the rules of the water provider for that use.
Hold licensees accountable for the amount of water they use. To effectively implement the CRA, NMAA is recommending that regulations require license holders provide documentation of the estimated amount of water usage for cannabis production and that they include water use data in quarterly reports to the regulation and licensing department.
Ensure smaller growers have the opportunity to benefit from the cannabis economy. Although the CRA lacks robust equity provisions like in other states that legalized recreational cannabis, the CRA does require that the Cannabis Control Division to promulgate rules encouraging agricultural producers from economically disadvantaged communities.

ACTION ALERT – Support HB 30, Water Lease Due Process

House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 8:30 am via ZOOM
Join the meeting at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072641109
Or use your telephone by calling this number: 1-669-900-9128
Webinar ID: 820 7264 1109
 Call, text, and email committee members 
in support of HB 30!!
“I support HB 30 because it is important to protect water rights and due process.”
“Please support HB 30 and protect existing water rights.”
Derek Lente, Chair
505-986-4341
505-507-3063
Susan Herrera, Vice Chair
505-986-4249
505-579-0092
Anthony Allison
505-986-4436
505-787-8994
Cathrynn Brown
505-986-4227
575-706-4420
Candy Spence Ezzell
505-986-4454
575-625-0550
Dayan Hochman-Vigil
505-986-4432
505-948-2320
Marian Matthews
505-986-4432
Nathan Small
505-986-4319
575-496-9540
Martin Zamora
505-986-4211
575-309-2334
Talking Points:
  • HB 30 protects existing senior water rights from impairment. Constitutional and statutory protections of priority water rights are at stake.
  • HB 30 protects due process in water lease applications before the State Engineer.
  • Current law requires the following: 1) The State Engineer has to consider impacts on existing rights of any new uses of water and 2) those who may be affected by the new use of water can file objections and 3) a public hearing MUST BE HELD where their concerns MUST BE ADDRESSED.
  • HB 30 is needed because the State Engineer in recent years has used an unlawful administrative procedure he calls “preliminary approval,” in which he preliminary approves pending protested water use lease applications before a mandatory public hearing has been held. This violates protection of existing water rights and due process.
  • The water leasing statute does not contain a provision for “preliminary approval” of water lease applications. By allowing applications to proceed before a hearing, senior water right uses, such as irrigation districts, Pueblos, rural community water systems, villages, and acequias, could be impaired while a protest is pending.
  • A judge in the Fifth Judicial District recently ordered the State Engineer cancel permits granted through preliminary approval to Intrepid potash and ruled that the State Engineer did not have the statutory authority to grant preliminary approval for water lease applications.
  • If there is a need for expedited procedures for water leases in New Mexico, proposed policy changes should be developed through the legislative process in a manner that considers constitutional and statutory protections for existing water rights.

We urge you to support HB 30 to protect existing, senior water rights and due process in water lease application procedures.

To join the meeting, you will need access to Zoom on your computer or phone. Instructions to download Zoom are provided below. On the day of the committee meeting, sign on early by 8:15am with this link. When HB 30 starts, you can “raise your hand” on Zoom. If you are on your phone, you can raise your hand by pressing *9. 

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072641109

US: +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 820 7264 1109
Contact NMAA at 505-995-9644 or Emily Arasin, emily@lasacequias.org, with questions about Zoom. Contact Jaimie Park, jaimie@lasacequias.org, with questions about HB 30.
You can also view weekly legislative updates on our website:

Una Tardeada Acequiera – New Year’s Eve

Una Tardeada Acequiera

New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

 

A “tardeada” is an afternoon/evening gathering, a beautiful way to spend the “tarde” or the latter part of the day. Join us to connect with friends from the acequias who work together all year long to be caretakers of our precious waters and to imagine what the coming year might hold for us. We will connect in between

Music and Versos by our beloved Vicente Griego and David Garcia.

If anyone else wishes to share art, words, or music, email paula@lasacequias.org.

 

Register here https://forms.gle/6fUHeayMoFUBErvMA  to get the Zoom link and phone number.

Photo credit: Donatella Davanzo

 

NMAA is Hiring

NMAA is seeking qualified applicants for the following two positions. Both are full-time and will work primarily from home in order to be COVID-safe. 
 
Acequia Policy Coordinator
The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) is seeking a Policy Coordinator to assist with advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal level. The NMAA is a statewide, membership-based association of acequias and community ditches in New Mexico. The Policy Coordinator helps develop and implement NMAA’s policy advocacy strategies. This position reports directly to the Executive Director (ED) and supports a broad range of activities including analysis, development of policy recommendations, and policy advocacy. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills, a minimum of two years professional experience in public policy/advocacy fields, willingness to take on complex tasks, and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders. Policy Coordinator Job Description
Acequia Outreach Coordinator
The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) is seeking an Acequia Outreach Coordinator to conduct education and outreach to acequia parciantes, acequia elected officials, farmers, and ranchers and provide support on issues relating to water rights, agricultural improvements, infrastructure, and acequia governance. This position reports to the Program Director and works with the NMAA team to plan and coordinate outreach strategies and to implement specific tasks including one-on-one meetings, trainings and workshops, and development of educational materials. This position will work on acequia governance, water management, infrastructure, and participation in USDA programs. The ideal candidate will have strong communication skills, experience working one-on-one with constituents, and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders. Acequia Outreach Coordinator Job Description
 
Persons interested in applying should submit a letter of interest, three references, and a resume to Paula Garcia, Executive Director, at paula@lasacequias.org. 

Respeto y Repartimiento

Respeto y Repartimiento: Plática on Water Sharing Traditions

REGISTER HERE! 

Join us for an online platica about the acequia tradition of sharing water, known as repartimiento. This will be first in a series of online pláticas, or dialogues, focused on water sharing customs and practices among acequias. Our first plática on repartimiento will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2020 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm via Zoom, Facebook Live, and conference call.

For centuries in New Mexico, the customs and traditions of water sharing have been vital to the well-being of communities, providing water through the principle of equity and keeping peaceful relations with neighboring families and communities.

During the pandemic, acequias are facing a growing interest in locally grown food resulting in more demand for water by growers who need reliable water for crops and livestock. Adding to the stress on acequias is climate change that is causing more intense and longer droughts, with less snowpack, runoff, and irrigation water.

It has never been more important for the acequia community to dig deep into our cultural memory to remember the generations of teachings about the importance of sharing water and to be mindful of the scarcity of water that we rely upon for our survival.

Our gathering will feature poetry and storytelling to ground us a cultural worldview grounded in respect, caring for one’s neighbors, and working together for the common good. Our featured artist will be Levi Romero, New Mexico Poet Laureate, whose upbringing in Dixon immersed him in land-based culture that resonates in his poetry. Levi will share poetry and reflections on a recent essay entitled, “Respeto, Caridad, y Repartimiento.” Also, musician David Garcia will perform music rooted in acequia lifeways.

Gilbert Sandoval, President of the Jemez River Basin Coalition of Acequias, will share his experience in negotiating water sharing agreements with neighboring Pueblos. Gilbert’s story will highlight the knowledge and experience needed in the difficult and complicated work of creating water-sharing agreements, which can take decades to resolve but also remain a work in progress as our climate changes and as communities change over time. Other acequia elders will be invited to share their own experiences with past or current water sharing practices.

The plática will take place on Zoom, Facebook Live, and by conference call. Click here to sign up for the platica.

When you register, NMAA will send you the instructions to use Zoom, Facebook Live, or conference call to participate.

San Isidro Labrador – Join us for an online blessing

For centuries, people of faith have gathered on Día de San Isidro to pray for the blessing of a good growing season. San Isidro is the patron saint of farmers and labradores (workers or laborers). The story goes that he worked the land and yet always found time to pray and attend daily mass. His faith was rewarded with the help working his fields. His story reminds us that planting seeds in the Spring is an act of faith and hope and also that it is a commitment to care for the seeds and matitas (little plants) to have a cosecha (harvest) later in the season.
In New Mexico, several communities celebrate Día de San Isidro with processions to bless the fields and acequias. Celebrations include “paseando los santos” in a procession in the community, through fields, and along acequias where often rose petals are cast into the water as part of the blessing. According to tradition, his feast day on May 15th is an important day to plant traditional crops such as corn, beans, chile, and squash because it is after regular episodes of freezing temperatures.
This year, because of the pandemic, many of us will miss San Isidro gatherings where our faith is affirmed and our relationships with the community are strengthened through a shared blessing. Our blessings are a much needed time for an expression of querencia, the love and belonging to a place and a people.
The NMAA is inviting our statewide community to take a little time on Día de San Isidro to participate in an online gathering to honor San Isidro. We will have music, an informal blessing, and some platica (dialogue/conversation) where we can bear witness to each other’s work of planting seeds, tending to plants, and irrigating. Prayers are especially needed during this time when our local farmers are being called upon to provide our communities with fresh food as the corporate/industrial food system is showing its flaws. This growing season will also be particularly challenging because of ongoing drought and the need to be gracious and kind in the way we share scarce water.
Día de San Isidro
An Online Community Gathering
Friday, May 15, 2020
9:00am – 10:00am
Join via Zoom or telephone (instructions below)

Schedule:

Welcome

Alabanza de San Isidro:

A traditional spiritual ballad and homage to our patron saint

Blessing and Reflections from Traditional Farmers and Mayordomos

Participant Reflections

Closing with Music

HOW TO USE ZOOM:

Option A – Connect from your computer or smart phone internet:
  1. As the program opens, a box will pop up on your screen asking if it is okay to launch Zoom – click ‘yes’ – and then click ‘join audio conference by computer’.
  2. Once you are on the call – you can choose to turn your video on or off using buttons in the lower left side of the screen. You can also mute and unmute yourself by clicking the small microphone icon.
Option B – Call in from your phone:
  • Dial: 1-301-715-8592
  • Enter the ‘Meeting ID’: 944 6556 8558
  1. We will ask everyone to mute themselves so we can hear the speaker clearly and limit background noise. To mute yourself on a landline – press *6 – then press it again to unmute yourself.
If you have any technical problems or questions about how to use Zoom – email – emily@lasacequias.org

Acequias and Climate Change: Learning Together and Adapting for the Future

Acequias and Climate Change

Learning Together and Adapting for the Future

Thursday, June 27, 2019

9:00am – 3:30pm

Juan I. Gonzales Agricultural Center

202 Chamisa Road, Taos, NM

Join acequias for a day of learning and dialogue about a future shaped by climate change. The day will include an overview of the impacts of climate change on New Mexico’s watersheds and rivers from Dr. David Gutzler, UNM professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, followed by interactive discussions about repartimiento traditions (old and new), water harvesting, infrastructure improvements, building healthy soils, and other adaptations.

REGISTER: https://form.jotform.com/91636531656159

DONATIONS ACCEPTED AT THE DOOR

Sponsored by the New Mexico Acequia Association, Embudo Valley Regional Acequia Association, Taos Valley Acequia Association, Rio Chama Acequia Association, and La Asociación de las Acequias del Valle de Mora.