Participants: Barbara, Andrew, Joe, Loren, Joseluis Ortiz
JL: little bit siloed right now, but we are seeing a lot of vaccinations happening. Dad has been on the list, but finally got scheduled for the first round of vaccines next week. They’re finally opening up registration to normal populations and non-essential workers. Don and his son were able to get vaccinated. There’s been some silence around who has COVID. Not a lot of new cases recently! What about the kids, are they going back to school? There are schools preparing to go back to in-person. The college here at Northern has been closed for everything but clinicals, so everyone else is at home. What about your neighbors or the other farmers? Haven’t heard much from neighbors. Tio and Tia got it about a month ago, but she works in the healthcare field. Other than that there hasn’t been a whole lot. Kind of siloed right now, so don’t have access to a lot of community information. Nobody’s really engaging, so it’s just been me.
JO: (on healthy food financing act) What we’re trying to do now is make sure that we’re not going back to normal because normal wasn’t working. La Semilla in its founding was based on ideas and the work of grassroots. They developed their language and capacity to get funding and resources, but that left out immigrant and farmworkers of color. I’m wary of bills that claim to be pro-farmer because that’s not always the case. A lot of these institutions are corrupt and focus on the Santa Fe and Albuquerque politics. What we’d like to see is business that goes to the source and serves farmers and the smaller LLCs. 229 is an important piece of legislation, but we’re scared that it’s getting caught up in the intermediaries. It’s disheartening that these areas of Northern NM haven’t gotten the development that the rest of NM has. The people that are doing the oppressing now are the people who are part of our family. I sit on the Northern NM food hub, but that only exists on paper. It’s tough to know what’s going on with that, I think that it might be an issue with gatekeepers and others involved in the process.
BW: Because this group was created with those intentions, it’s important that we have politically active farmers to come in and make sure that this does what it says it’s going to do.
JO: What happened with the Northern NM university was that there were people who came in with big ideas, but didn’t have the political will. Right now what we’re doing is going through a community based process. I would be the visiting professor from Sostenga, I got that status, I’m compensated through the green roots institute. It’s not funded through the college, but I’m a faculty member. I’m navigating the institution’s spaces to generate opportunities for fundability and create an outdoor learning space so that teachers can have an outdoor classroom that maintains ag production and community events/service hours. Last year we produced about 8000 pounds of food. Probably 3500 of that was given away to students that had real needs. Also sent it through midwives and mother programs. The rest of it was distributed through farmers markets, community members, etc. We don’t want the college to institutionalize the community program and keep access from people.
JO: Good to hear that cost sharing passed. Our region is affected by multi-generational addiction, violence, and other issues, so I can appreciate that. Part of that program includes deductibles.Rural Voices for COVID Recovery