Friday, February 5, 2016

WHAT'S NEXT? Looking for Property

A year ago, we attempted to raise capital to buy the Gaia Gardens’ farm property. The Indiegogo campaign brought in $22,795, two anonymous donors donated another $15,000 and two foundations gave us commitment letters for $75,000. As per the agreement with the New Mexico Community Foundation, our fiscal sponsor, these funds must be used to purchase land by Nov. 2016.

We matched these funds with our own money and made an offer to the Gaia Gardens property owner, which was to be presented to his bank as a short sale, since the property has now been in foreclosure for 4 years.

Unfortunately, the property owner and his attorney decided not to present our offer to the bank and instead, are waiting for the bank to foreclose on the property.

So, we finished our 4th farming season and last July, after another round of opposition to our opening a farm stand (from a neighbor and the City of Santa Fe), we decided to close the farm.

We never expected to farm on this property for as long as we did, knowing that the property was in foreclosure when we started this project. However, we are very pleased with what we accomplished in such a short amount of time!

Through working with numerous schools and countless volunteers/interns, we were able to showcase not only the viability of urban farming in Santa Fe, but also the cherished experience of building a supportive and warm community. In addition, we were celebrated through winning several awards and receiving grants from local foundations.

Since the inception of this project the lessons have been many, and they continue to this day. In modeling how an urban farm might serve its neighborhood and town, it has always been our wish to inspire others to grow food, flowers, and friendly connections in their own backyard.

We have developed a deep reverence for Nature while engaged in the sacred act of growing food. We will take what we’ve learned and apply it with the same care and devotion to our next endeavor.

So what’s next?

In 2014, we created the Mil Abrazos Community Land Trust with a mission to:

1. Acquire and hold land in trust in order to provide for permanently affordable housing. Homes will be built and land will be used in an environmentally sensitive and socially responsible manner.

2. Provide permanently affordable access to land for such purposes as quality housing, sustainable agriculture, cottage industries and co-operatives by forever removing the land from the speculative market.

3. Develop and exercise responsible and ecological practices, which preserve, protect and enhance the land’s natural attributes.

4. Serve as a model in land stewardship and community development by providing information, resources and expertise.

We are now looking for property (10-100 acres) within 60 mi from Santa Fe. The land should have water (acequia, year-round creek, spring or well), sympathetic neighbors and be located near national forest. Proximity to an interesting community is preferable.

We are not necessarily looking for agricultural land as we do not intend to engage in commercial farming but instead plan to create a sustainable community offering permaculture education, summer camps and homesteading skills.

We are in the process of exploring how the Mil Abrazos Community Land Trust can serve this community, its children and elders, and continue to offer a vibrant space to gather, share skills and build resilient community.

Please help us spread the word that we are looking for land.

Thank you for your love and support!