Monday, July 20, 2015

SeedBroadcasting from UrbanRefuge A.R.T.S and Valle de Oro

Cuidad Soil & Water Conservation District watershed diorama

The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge invited SeedBroadcast to participate in the UrbanRefuge A.R.T.S. event which brought together artists, advocacy organizations, food trucks, and a fun public crowd to explore transportation and movement across the landscape as well as investigate the movement of change occurring at the refuge as it transitions from the largest farm in proximity to the city of Albuquerque into a Wildlife Refuge.

During the day buses, bikes, kayaks, walkers, and dancers explored the open terrain heading out on bird watching treks and performing dances in response to the ground, clouds, and the sense of place across the green open fields and cottonwood banks of the Rio Grande. At the Valley de Oro, walking, biking, jogging, driving, and horseback riding are common, especially along the irrigation and drainage ditches that run across the fields. But what is more challenging transportation wise is how to get there in the first place. It is in far south Albuquerque and it is not the easiest area to get to if you do not have a car. Yet, local efforts are under way to create viable public transportation such as a bus stop and Railrunner stop.

Panorama of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

This perfectly level landscape has been a working farm for over a hundred years. For a long time it was known as the Valley Gold Dairies, one of the largest historic dairies in the region. It is still being partially farmed, producing grass and alfalfa hay. During the event we hoped to meet some of the local farmers who have worked this farm and others in proximity to record stories. Many were busy on the farm and suggested meeting up in the fall to talk stories (so stay posted for more to come).

Here is a story that was shared from Chris Skiba, whose family has been farming in the South Valley for a long time.

The transition to a Wildlife Refuge has many people wondering how this space will be transformed as one of the few urban refuges in the country. Its potential lies in its proximity to a major metropolitan area, its location in a dymanic riparian zone and sited on a major migratory flyway with access to water. With all these cues in place its value will be told in how it creates an urban educational opportunity through expanding the notion of what a wildlife refuge can be when it serves animals, ecology, and people. One might also wonder if there is room in the refuge mission and planning for the co-mingling of regenerative agriculture, an ecologically based agricultural system much like permaculture.

The Valle de Oro is located in the Mountain View community. This area of Bernalillo Country is far enough away from major commercial zones to be likened a food desert. With few options for fresh food it might make sense to create space where local food can be both produced and used sustainably, while enabling a demonstration site for sustainable wholistic ecology and education to bring people and the environment together.

Ruben Olgiun, a local artist presented his project Songs of Our Fathers: Migrations

Ruben Olguin is a local artist who was sharing his work at UrbanRefuge. He spent the day presenting his project, Songs of Our Fathers: Migrations, which explores "how land, time, and people are divided by technology and modern transportation. You can read more here:

He kindly came by to gift SeedBroadcast a beautiful handmade seed pot he had made, its tiny mouth only large enough for the likes of very small seeds like lettuce, carrots, curly dock, and brassicas. Seed pots have been historically made and used by pueblo peoples to store seeds. These storage vessels keep seeds safe by providing a moisture free, self-wicking environment for seed preservation.

We hope to catch up with Ruben this fall for a Seed Story. And we will be Broadcasting soon with more local farmers.

Here are more Seed Stories from UrbanRefuge A.R.T.S.

Kayla Gmyr reads her poem "Vibrations" about connection and awakening to the earth and relationships from the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, NM

Kym Loc shares her aspiring work to convey the relationship between people and trees, healing, strength, and roots.

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