We believe that sustainable agriculture is the key to community renewal and economic viability.
In northern New Mexico, agriculture has been the traditional practice that links communities of people to the land and the water. For generations, families in this region have farmed the land together with their children and neighbors. This traditional way of life is now threatened, as younger people are compelled to seek economic opportunities outside the valley. As a result, many fields lie fallow and orchards are unattended.
We believe that sustainable agricultural practices and market savvy strategies can transform this valley into the rich productive area it once was while also creating economic growth. In a time of increasing demand for locally sourced food and shrinking farmland, the rich resources of land and water within El Valle make it uniquely positioned to create new economic opportunities by returning to its agricultural heritage. Sustainable agricultural techniques supported by targeted outreach to diverse regional markets would enable agriculture to again support sustainable rural communities in El Valle.
Who We Are
Eileen Mulvihill, director of the Youth Farm to Market Program, has lived in El Valle for ten years. A former researcher in molecular biology, Eileen has spent the last decade studying and teaching techniques of sustainable growing and organic crop production from her small organic farm on the Pecos River, Blue Box Farm.
In addition to her passion for sustainable farming, Eileen pursues strong interests in the relationships between diet, nutrition, and health, and has produced her own fermented foods and beverages for the past five years.
Since 2013, YFTM has offered hands-on training to community youth in sustainable agricultural production and marketing skills. The program vision to reach all interested young people in the valley, has been fortunate to have the support of community individuals as well as several organizations, including the El Valle Community Center in Villanueva, the El Valle Women’s Collaborative in Ribera, the Los Pueblos Community Council, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, and the NM MainStreet Frontier Program.
In 2015, 13 students participated in the YFTM summer program and engaged in the full range of agricultural production and marketing activities at Blue Box Farm, Workshops and activities included seeding and transplanting, harvesting, cleaning and preparing products for market; and transporting and selling at local farmers’ markets and organic food outlets. Students gained knowledge of sustainable pest management, season extension, water conservation, and marketing strategies.