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PRESS RELEASE: Acequias Gather in Response to Climate Change and Pandemic, Senator-Elect Ben Ray Lujan to Speak

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, December 7, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT

Paula Garcia, Executive Director, lamorena@lasacequias.org, 505-231-7752

Emily Arasim, Communications Coordinator, emily@lasacequias.org

Acequias Gather in Response to Climate Change and Pandemic, Senator-Elect Ben Ray Lujan to Speak

(Santa Fe, NM) – The first ever virtual Congreso de las Acequias, the annual membership meeting of the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA), will convene on Saturday, December 12, 2020 via Zoom.

Harold Trujillo, NMAA President said, “This year, the Congreso will capture an important moment in history with strategies for building stronger communities that will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and that will adapt with lessons learned from ongoing drought.”

“The year 2020 has hit us hard in rural New Mexico with both drought and pandemic,” said Paula Garcia, Executive Director, “Our resolve to continue building food sovereign communities while adapting to climate change has grown during this time of adversity.”

The theme for the gathering will be “Unidos con Fuerza: Acequias Rising to meet the Challenges of our Time.” The gathering will honor the hard work of acequias to maintain the “essential work” of keeping water flowing to farms and communities throughout the pandemic. The agenda also addresses some of the most pressing issues facing acequias, such as climate change resilience, deepening youth engagement, and strengthening the ability of acequia-based farmers and ranchers to grow more food for their families and communities.

Some of the highlights include remarks from Senator-elect Ben Ray Lujan, who will discuss recent policy gains at the federal level with the Farm Bill and passage of legislation recognizing acequia and land grant traditional uses on lands managed by the US Forest Service. NMAA leaders will give a ‘State of the Acequias’ report which will highlight the ways that acequias responded to the drought and pandemic in 2020. A declaration on Water, Food, and Youth will summarize some broad strategies for building stronger communities through local, grassroots actions.

As is customary, the Congreso de las Acequias will feature music and poetry along with the  Bendición de las Aguas, or blessing of the waters. As means of adapting the regular in-person blessing, participants are invited to send pictures of themselves with their acequia or river to be shared during the gathering.

The Congreso will take place on Saturday, September 12th from 10am to 2pm with a lunch recess. Registration is free of charge and open at https://lasacequias.org/congreso/. For more information, call 505-995-9655.

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The New Mexico Acequia Association – www.lasacequias.org

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.