February 4th Event Provides Agriculture Production and Marketing Opportunities to Locals

 On February 4, local farmers, ranchers and agriculture enthusiasts will have the opportunity to listen to several field experts, who will offer guidance in utilizing New Mexico farm lands to increase local food production, as well as implement agricultural marketing strategies. Rio Arriba County, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the New Mexico Acequia Association, the Regional Economic Development Initiative and the Greater Española Valley Community Development Corporation will be hosting the “Agricultura Aqui y Alla” event at the Rural Events Center in Abiquiu at 9AM.  The event, which is open to the public, will feature informational booths, free food and five key speakers, including regional production specialist, Anthony Flaccavento, who managed to build and sustain a successful local agriculture production program in Virginia, using the same ideas, which will be presented at the event.       

In late 2007, the County Commission passed a resolution approving the development of the Rio Arriba Policy Food Council. “The food council was developed to assist in meeting the objective of protecting the County’s agricultural land and water rights,” said County Commissioner Alfredo Montoya. “With our County in a position to sustain itself, it provides many direct benefits to our population, such as food security, economic development opportunities and various associated health benefits to combat the high prevalence of diabetes, obesity and other health conditions.”

Recently, another resolution was passed by the Commission, encouraging local procurement of food. This upcoming event is a result of the movement that brought forth those resolutions, and will bring together a slew of experts in the related fields to keep that movement progressing. “Providing citizens with the opportunities, such as this event, to learn how they can work together to best use tools to accomplish these goals is very important,” said Commissioner Montoya.

According to Lucia Sanchez of the County’s Planning and Zoning Office, the event is expected to bring in hundreds of attendees. For more information, please contact Patrick Jaramillo at the New Mexico Acequia Association at (505) 995-9644.  Those who wish to RSVP must contact Beth Forman at (505) 753-7774.

-Erika Martinez, January 2012