News & Updates
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.
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.
María Martínez Sánchez, JD, has joined the Center’s board of directors. Ms. Martínez Sánchez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, She attended Albuquerque High School and New Mexico State University where she received a bachelor of social work and a bachelor of arts in government. Upon graduation she worked as a social worker with the developmentally disabled population before entering the University of New Mexico School of Law. After graduating she worked for the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty for six years. where her work focused on improving the working conditions of New Mexico's agricultural workers. In 2014 she joined the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico where she focuses on defending the civil rights and civil liberties of New Mexico's residents.
CSC’s Cooperative Development Center (CODECE) has formalized two new major food markets for its organic food cooperatives in northern New Mexico. These two new markets will purchase organic vegetables beginning this year from coops in Rio Arriba and San Miguel counties.
CODECE has created a positive collaboration with Bernalillo County government to create and launch new organic food cooperatives among members of underserved communities. The county has made a formal commitment to support local agriculture as an important economic development activity for county residents.
Two new staff members have recently joined the Center’s staff. Cristhian Rangel is a program manager who has extensive management experience in the private business sector. He earned his BA degree in business from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. Javier Rojo is a University of New Mexico graduate with degrees in economics and philosophy. He was New Mexico’s first Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and worked in the NGO field before coming to the Center.
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