News & Updates

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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.

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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.




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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!




CSC’s College Readiness Initiative (CRI) has launched its initial project in partnership with the Gadsden Independent Schools in southern New Mexico. CRI is working with seniors at Gadsden High School to prepare them for the ACT college entrance exam. The goal of the program is to raise their ACT test scores high enough to avoid having to take remedial courses in their first year of college. “Currently, remedial students and the State of New Mexico are paying nearly $22 million annually for remedial courses and on average, taking one remedial course drops the six-year bachelor’s degree attainment rate from 77 percent to 17 percent, while taking a second remedial course reduces the rate to 5 percent.” said CRI Director Javier Rojo (pictured above).

Molino de la Isla Farmers Cooperative in Pecos, New Mexico, has expanded its farming operations this year. Coop President and Founder Ralph Vigil reports that the coop tripled its acreage this season and expects to produce a bumper crop of organic vegetables and its specialty crop, chicos. With assistance from CODECE, Molino de la Isla Coop formed a marketing agreement with the nearby Glorieta Camps Conference Center to sell its produce to the Center’s food services department. Also, the Glorieta Camps has been sending groups to youth volunteers to help Molino weed and tend to the field crops this summer.

Saucillo del Norte Cooperative  in Albuquerque’s South Valley is selling regularly at the RailYards Market on weekends. Located in the historic Barelas Neighborhood, the Rail Yards Market provides a local market for organic vegetables produced this summer by the Saucillo del Norte Coop.

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CSC Executive Director Arturo Sandoval met recently in Ojo Encino with farmer/members of Hasbidito, which is a Native non-profit organization that works to create community development through various projects that engage residents in the Eastern Navajo Nation.  Two of their current projects include a Backyard Gardening Initiative and the Tri-Community Mobile Farmers’ Market. Their projects work in conjunction to engage community members of all ages in growing and eating fresh, healthy produce. 

The discussion with Hasbidito focused on the cooperative farming model CODECE is successfully developing across New Mexico as a possible next developmental step for Hasbidito’s farming projects. 



El Mogote Cooperative in Cañones has built a new hoop house—provided by CSC’s Cooperative Development Center (CODECE) -- to help the coop extend its growing season. Early sales of organic vegetables is going well and the season promises to yield bumper crops. Several local Cañones organic farmers are selling their produce through El Mogote Coop, so that the cooperative can bundle its sales.



San Felipe Pueblo native Bryce Townsend is leading a new farming cooperative on his ancestral farmlands with help from CODECE. In its first year, the Townsend Family Cooperative has planted 4 acres of organic vegetables and CODECE has helped identify markets for the produce from the cooperative farm.



The Jirón Family Cooperative also began its first season at Isleta Pueblo just south of Albuquerque. The family farming cooperative has planted two acres and its farm plan includes native concho corn, used to make chicos.



CSC has launched its College Readiness Initiative (CRI) to help Mexicano and Chicano students improve their ACT scores. CRI is working with Teach for America alumni to test an innovative approach that program director Javier Rojo hopes will permit these students to avoid taking remedial courses at the university and college level.


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