News & Updates
The Center of Southwest Culture—through its economic development division, the Cooperative Development Center—recently helped launch a new organic farming cooperative in the Villanueva Valley of northern New Mexico. With an initial founding group of nine farmers, Bueno Para Todos Farming Cooperative will plant a total of 6-8 acres at four different sites during its inaugural season. Raza students from the University of New Mexico joined local Villanueva Valley farmers and coop members to erect the coop’s new greenhouse in mid-April.
The Center has received funding for its 2016 work from several major foundations. Kellogg Foundation awarded the Center a two-year grant to continue its development of cooperatives among underserved communities in Bernalillo County. The McCune Foundation also has provided a grant to help the Center continue creating cooperatives across New Mexico. And the Candelaria Fund has provided a matching grant for cooperative development in rural communities across New Mexico. We are deeply grateful to the support of these foundations! We expect to receive more funding from other foundations, government agencies and individual donors throughout the year.
Bueno Para Todos Cooperative Launches!
Thanks to an economic development grant from San Miguel County, CODECE has helped organize a new organic farming cooperative in the Villanueva Valley in San Miguel County. The cooperative will plant its first ever organic crops in late spring, 2016 at multiple sites owned by individual members of the cooperative. CODECE is helping identify markets for the organic produce expected to be grown this season; providing farm plans with succession planting schedules; and providing a master farmer to provide ongoing technical assistance throughout the season. CODECE also provided a $10,000 greenhouse to the new cooperative to permit its farmers to extend the growing season and increase their income.
New Collaboration With RFK Charter High School Begins!
The Center is working with the Robert F. Kennedy Charter High School in Albuquerque’s South Valley to launch a farming cooperative among RFK students who have expressed an interest in organic farming. This year, the Center is providing a one-acre farm site for use by RFK student apprentices. The Center is providing farm plans, markets and instruction to RFK students. RFK has also assigned a farmer to help the students learn farming.
CSC Acquires Tractor, Implements & Greenhouses for Farm Coops!
The Center has purchased a farm tractor for shared use by the emerging coops in the mid-Rio region. The tractor is used to plow, disk and create furrows on the various farm sites used by the numerous farm coops already up and running in the mid-Rio Grande Region. Shared use of farm tractors and implements is part of the economy of scale the Center provides to its emerging farm cooperatives. CODECE was also able to purchase 8 100’x30’ greenhouses to provide to several of our cooperatives. In all, the Center will provide more than $150,000 in infrastructure for emerging cooperatives in 2016.
César Chávez Event a Huge Success!
¡Sí Se Puede! The Center sponsors the annual Recuerda a César Chávez Event in Albuquerque. This year, more than 1,000 people attended the César Chávez Festival at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on March 26, while nearly 400 students participated on March 25 in a day of service in honor of Chávez at Sánchez Farms in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Grant
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded CSC’s Cooperative Development Center a Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Grant (BFRG) for 2015-2016, to help develop new organic farming cooperatives among underserved communities in New Mexico. CSC was the only New Mexico NIFA BFRG grantee in the 2015-2016 cycle. “We are deeply committed to helping our traditional land-based communities create wealth for themselves and their communities through organic farming and other cooperative business ventures,” said CSC Executive Director Arturo Sandoval.
San Miguel County Contract
CSC’s Cooperative Development Center (CODECE) was just awarded a business development contract by San Miguel County to continue its successful development of organic farming cooperatives in the Pecos River area of the county. “We already have successful organic farming coops in the county and this contract will permit us to create even more farm coops for San Miguel County residents,” said CODECE program manager Cristhian Rangel.
La Carpa—Informal Education Programs Division
CSC’s Informal Education Division has launched its College Readiness Initiative in collaboration with Gadsden High school in Doña Ana County in southern New Mexico. Students there took the ACT test in September and are currently receiving intense tutoring from CSC’s Informal Education Division to help them raise their ACT scores high enough to permit them to avoid taking remedial classes when they enter post-secondary colleges and universities. This pilot program will compare two control group results after the December ACT test results are in, according to Informal Education Division Program Manager Javier Rojo.
CSC executive director Arturo Sandoval made a presentation on the Cooperative Development Center of New Mexico to San Miguel County commisioners , in Pecos, New Mexico. CODECE was awarded an economic development grant. to view the full presentation Click Here!
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