Concilio (Board of Directors)
Harold Trujillo – La Asociacion de las Acequias del Valle de Mora
Alfredo Montoya – Las Nueve Acequias del Rio Grande
Gilbert Sandoval – Jemez River Basin Coalition of Acequias
Don Bustos – Rio Quemado, Rio en Medio, Rio Frijoles, Rio Santa Cruz Acequia Association
Antonio Medina – La Asociacion de las Acequias del Valle de Mora
Santiago Maestas – South Valley Regional Association of Acequias
Jackie Powell – Upper Hondo Water Users Association
Stephen Trujillo – Taos Valley Acequia Association
Medardo Sanchez – La Asociacion de las Acequias Nortenas del Rio Arriba
Yolanda Jaramillo – Embudo Valley Acequia Association
Darel Madrid – Rio Chama Acequia Association
email@example.com | Paula Garcia is Executive Director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. During two decades of her service, acequias in New Mexico have built a movement around the principle that water is life, agua es vida. Through her leadership, acequias have strengthened community self-determination through local water governance, have enacted policy reforms protecting rural, agricultural water rights, and have fought for clean water to flow in our rivers. With the NMAA team, she has also established innovative youth and leadership development projects and farm apprenticeships that seek to strengthen the next generation of farmers and ranchers who are caretakers of water, land, livestock, and native and heirloom seeds. With her family, Paula cares for a small ranch and traditional gardens characteristic of the subsistence agriculture of her ancestors. When not living and breathing acequias, Paula can be found hiking, playing classical piano, and cooking a simple meal based on some variation of corn, beans, and chile. Her son is a first year student of the United World College which is dedicated to global peace and sustainability through education.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Juliet is a lifelong resident of Chamisal, NM and is the proud mother of 4 children. She is a neighbor to her parents and 3 grandchildren. She feels a strong obligation to serve the community that has held her family for many generations. She currently serves on the Chamisal Mutual Domestic Water Consumer Associations Board (9 yrs.), Chamisal Community Cemetery Board (7 years), and El Centro Family Health Board (15 years). She served on the Penasco Independent School Board (12 yrs.), and also served on the HELP New Mexico Advisory Committee (3 yrs.). She is the Director of Operations for the New Mexico Acequia Association, a traditional Yerbera and winemaker. In her free time she enjoys making jewelry and gathering firewood in the mountains with her family. She is passionate about maintaining and practicing local land-based traditions and feels that teaching it to families in a practical and relevant way ensures that our connection to land and family are passed on for generations to come.
email@example.com | Serafina started with the NMAA team in 2012 and serves as the Program Director. Since then acequias have grown to be an all consuming passion. She came to work for NMAA by way of her love of community and working the land. On her paternal side she hails from an unbroken line of subsistence farmers, since agriculture first came to the Italian peninsula. She was raised in the garden and is raising her boys the same way. Serafina’s role at NMAA is to assist all programmatic areas in moving forward and supporting the team as needed (aka cheerlead, manage, reflect on progress and refine). In other areas of her work she is most enthusiastic about supporting our acequia communities to thrive and adapt through climate disruptions, as well as other challenges that we face. Over the years she has assisted many individual farmers and ranchers in accessing USDA programs, and through the work of the Infrastructure team has assisted acequias in implementing millions in state and federal dollars to make improvements. When not at her desk you can find serafina walking along the Rio Quemado, tending to her chickens, splitting wood, cultivating carrots or catching up with friends old and new.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Toribio Garcia is a lifelong resident of Chamisal NM. Proud partner to Olivia Chavez and father to Toribio Garcia Jr. and Francisco Garcia. Toribio was raised off of the Acequia del Monte and has been an active peon since the age of 16. Toribio and his family are currently parciantes on the Acequia de Lino where they grow a garden, maintain a large high tunnel, and care for a few fruit trees. Toribio has been an NMAA employee since 2015 and participated in the Sembrando Semillas program since it was created in 2005. Toribio’s role at NMAA is to assist Acequias in applying for Infrastructure funding. Toribio also assists with many other day to day tasks needed by the team. These include managing contacts, working on various lists, and attempting to get all tasks that are requested completed in a quality and timely manner. Toribio really enjoys working with Acequias and assisting the people who volunteer their time for an important cause.
email@example.com | Dabi F. García, Ph.D. (elle/they/them) is a cultural anthropologist, a graduate of UT Austin 2016, and a musician who reflects on the public spaces and cultural movements related to land based knowledges in the US southwest / northern Mexican borderlands. They received their MA in Spanish at UNM in 2008 and taught Spanish language at UNM in the Spanish as heritage language program.
Born in the Española Valley, they and their family have been parciantes on the Acequia de los Salazares for more than 6 generations, where they grow various crops in their hoop house and apple orchard. Dabi is proud that their first job at age 15 was as a peón de la acequia, and today they continues this work as an advocate for acequias with NMAA.In addition, they has played violin with the ritual dance drama of Los Matachines de Alcalde for the last 25 years.
They see music and the arts as a vehicle to participate and promote community engagement in the NM acequia movement as well as immigrant rights activism. García was among the principal collaborators of the formation of the Escuelita de las Acequias which promoted better communication and resolana among acequieros to better organize and share local knowledge to keep up with the demands and challenges of today’s world.In the spare time Dabi has played in numerous local bands, the Al Hurricane band and the Blue Ventures, or as a duet with Jeremías Martínez. In addition García participates in the UNM ensemble El Colectivo de Son as a consultant. Dabi has participated in the community folk dramas Los Pastores and Los Comanches, as well as NMAA’ Teatro de las Acequias. They compose canciones, corridos, entregas de novios and has written some of the first décimas in New Mexico since the 1950s. García says, “I see my work as promoting knowledge and dialogue about our shared cultures, languages, histories and lifeways.”
firstname.lastname@example.org | My name is Donne Gonzales, I’m 26 years old, and my heart belongs to the small community of Chamisal, NM. I have been fortunate to care for summer gardens, and small livestock with my family which instilled in me a great sense of querencia for gardening, community, and traditional practices. I was given the opportunity of being a (NMAA) Sembrando Semillas participant for over 10 years. My current position is Farm Trainer for Los Sembradores farm training program. I love teaching others about the land, and being outside with mother earth and all her elements, which is where I’m most at peace. I have a good understanding of soil, seeds, bugs, remedios, and food! I love to bake sweet treats and celebrate life with my family. Learning new things with my daughter is one of my favorite things to do!
email@example.com | Emily was born and raised on the Acequia Madre de Tesuque, where she grew up trailing behind the mayordomo and playing in her mothers small garden. She now calls Alcalde home. As the Acequia Farm, Food & Seed Program Coordinator, she works on a variety of NMAA program including food and seeds system planning; farmer support and education efforts; community organizing for food and seed justice; and the practical cultivation of strong networks of growers and seed savers within acequia communities. Emily previously served as the NMAA Youth Education Coordinator from 2019-2023, leading school presentations and curriculum development, and the creation of our Acequia Culture Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) and Youth Career and Livelihood Programs. Emily is currently working towards her Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning at University of New Mexico, with a focus on just economic development for New Mexico’s rural farming communities. She is a Board Member for the Northern Youth Project, and a former Commissioner on the acequia she grew up on. She spends her free time jamming out to old school hip hop music and trying to become a better cook and remedio maker.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Alex spent much of her life living all over the world and the US. Cool mountains and dusty sagebrush made up her summers with her norteña familia in Pueblo, CO while she spent the school year in the northeast, California and then Europe. Alex made her way to Taos in 2019 and dived deep into her mother’s lineage, as well as southwest Indigenous sovereignty work. Spending time with family new and old, she has been an acequia farmer since 2021 in San Cristobal and raises a small herd of sheep. Growing up distanced from her roots, she was given the chance to connect to her culture with the Los Sembradores program in 2022. Dedicated to the stewardship of cultura, land, plantitos, animalitos and water, Alex joined NMAA as the Youth and Community Organizing Coordinator in 2023. She has a background in teaching, youth support work, and applied anthropology. She believes it’s a true gift to be able to integrate her life’s work with her people.
Aaron joined NMAA as the staff attorney in the fall of 2023. He came to New Mexico in 2018 when he started attending UNM School of Law and he was introduced to NMAA during the summer of 2020 as part of the Acequia Fellowship Program. During his time in law school his studies focused on environmental law and environmental justice. After graduating from UNM Law in 2021, Aaron went on to work at a law firm that specialized in immigration law in El Paso, TX. During his time at the law firm, he was able to help underrepresented communities navigate the complex immigration system. Aaron’s family immigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico to the California Central Valley where he was raised on a farm between Stockton and Tracy. Coming from a long line of farmers, Aaron has always respected the type of work that NMAA does. Aaron is very excited to use his knowledge and skills to help New Mexico’s acequias with their legal issues.
email@example.com | Rudy was born and raised in Mora, New Mexico. He is the son of Mary Louise and Rudy Montoya, and is the youngest of 3 brothers. He studied Cinematic Arts at The University of New Mexico and also worked in Student Affairs at UNM for 16 years. Rudy's hobbies include food adventures, teaching paint by wine classes, sewing, mixology, conversations and more. He and his husband run an unofficial house plant rescue and learn about herbalism every chance they get. Rudy brings his creativity to NMAA and the role of Communications Coordinator to amplify the voices and traditions of our acequia communities.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Vidal Gonzales was born in Espanola and was raised traditionally in Santa Clara Pueblo. He grew up participating in cultural activities, harvesting wood, hunting, fishing, farming, gathering traditional plants, and helping to raise his family’s cattle on his pueblo. The Las Conchas Fire in 2011 devastated the Santa Clara Canyon and led Vidal to become passionate about protecting and restoring the land, water, and culture of New Mexico. He has a diverse background of experience from working for the federal government to working for the New Mexico Land Grant Council where he was immersed into his land grant heritage. He has his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and his master’s degree in Community and Regional planning from the University of New Mexico. Vidal Gonzales now works for the New Mexico Acequia Association as their Community Planner and Governance Specialist. Mr. Gonzales works to provide technical assistance, planning services, and disaster recovery services for acequias.
email@example.com | Monica T Rodriguez is the daughter of teachers. She was raised in the beautiful Espanola Valley on her family farm and comes from a traditional NM ranching family based in Gallina, NM. She is an actress, writer, director having performed in 21 plays. She has written 3 original plays co-produced by the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She has been on the public radio airways for over 10 years at KANW 89.1 and can be heard currently at KUNM 89.9 playing and talking about NM Music. She enjoys spending time with her 'consentidos' (grandchildren), trying new cooking recipes, camping and gardening.
The mission of the New Mexico Acequia Association is to protect water and our acequias, grow healthy food for our families and communities, and to honor our cultural heritage.
In our vision, acequias flow with clean water, people work together to grow food, and communities celebrate cultural and spiritual traditions. People honor acequias as part of our heritage and express querencia through a strong connection to land and community. Knowledge and experience about growing food, sharing water, and saving seed are passed on from generation to generation.
Guided by our core values, the New Mexico Acequia Association grows a movement of people of all ages and walks of life to defend and protect our precious water by resisting its commodification and contamination. Through involvement in NMAA, families and youth are inspired to cultivate the land, care for our acequias, and heal past injustices. Communities have an abundance of healthy, locally-grown food because we recognize agriculture as a respected and dignified livelihood and way of life.