Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here we go!

A year ago, Jay Tallmon and I met to discuss the creation of an urban farm on his 3 1/2-acre property along the arroyo at Yucca and Siringo.  During that time, I have immersed myself in several community garden and farm projects; El Jardin de Guadalupe in San Pancho Mexico, the Dandelion Ranch, in Santa Fe, and Synergia Ranch near Cerrillos, NM.  Needless to say that these experiences have given me some understanding about what it takes to grow food... and community.

After exploring several other pieces of land to conduct a new experiment in community urban farming, Jay's land kept standing out as the best possible location-centrally located, near the bicycle path, with an existing well, close to the SF High School and above all, with an enthusiastic owner willing to have a multitude of activities take place on his property.  Jay's daughters (14 and 15) are thrilled to have farm be birthed on their land.  Claire (15) previously attended the Camino De La Paz Farm School in Espanola and has an interest in keeping goats.  A barn and enclosed pen already exist on the property and will be perfectly suited for goats.

Our first step-BUILDING SOIL. Much has to be done to prepare for spring planting... The soil at Gaia Gardens is like any other soil in Santa Fe-dry, clayish and needing organic matter and water to activate microbial and fungi life.

On Sunday, Jay and I went to Espanola to get moldy hay at a horse ranch. We spread the hay over a portion of the lower field.  The entire area will soon be covered with hay or straw, with horse manure on top.  The area will then be watered and covered with black plastic.  The heat of the sun will "cook" the soil and get it ready for cultivation (turning the organic matter under the surface).

On Tuesday, we went to Arrowhead Ranch in Santa Fe, and got two big loads of fresh manure, some two tons, and spread it over the hay.

It seems that we will need about 10-15 times that volume of material to cover the lower field!!

This is a new experiment in urban farming. with an opportunity to create a multi-faceted project involving several large cultivated areas (up to a total of 1/2 acre), year-round half-buried greenhouse, root cellar, goats, chickens, bees and large compost yard. The property lends itself to welcoming large groups for events and classes. A walk-through will take place on Sunday (see below) and subsequent meetings will be announced via this blog.  We have access to land, a farm truck, and an excavation company will donate their time and equipment to help prepare the soil.
How we organize ourselves to design, finance, develop and run this project is to be determined.  Just as with Dandelion Ranch, I have more questions than answers. I believe that in the doing, and with the right intentions, we are discovering how to self-organize in order to take care of the important tasks of growing food, educating children and fostering regenerative culture.  I am inspired to do this and have a desire to see lots of children involved.

Equipment that has been offered to prepare our soil

A WALK-THROUGH of the GAIA GARDENS PROPERTY will take place this Sunday Feb. 19 at 11:00 am for those interested in helping design, develop and/or tend this new community farm.  The address is 2255 Paseo de Los Chamisos, Santa Fe, NM 87505 near the Santa Fe High School on Yucca St.  We'll meet in the front parking lot (please park in the street).

Sign-up on the right of blog (Follow by Email) to receive announcements posted on this blog.

If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.  


    We will be happy to help in any way we can (thank you for welcoming children!)as soon as we get there (to Santa Fe). Count us in as extra hands in the very near future. Our hearts are with you NOW! Many, many blessings for this beautiful expression of true community... you sing to my soul :0)
    Chantal, Mark and Mauricio

  2. I'd love to be a part of this new endeavor! It sounds very exciting and fulfilling. Count me in to be there on Sunday.
    Melissa (AKA Bee Girl)

  3. found your link on Home Grown NM when looking up experiences with cold frames in Santa Fe; maybe my new daughter Lisette and I can become part of your progress. best, Natalie