Guests at the harvest meal: Mary Darling and Hamish Thomson of the Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of Friends
On Oct. 11, a number of New Mexico state senators enjoyed a harvest meal made with produce grown by farmers from AFSC’s training program. David Henkel of Santa Fe, N.M., who serves as recording clerk of AFSC’s Board of Directors, shared this account of the dinner.
Lucy Duncan (LD): Tell me the history of this farm and its relationship to the AFSC New Mexico program.
Don Bustos (DB): The name of our farm is Santa Cruz Farm, after our church the Santa Cruz Church, and then the Santa Cruz de la Canada Land Grant. I still farm the same land my ancestors farmed over 300 years ago and as you walk outside, you'll see the same land, the same crops, and the same methods that my ancestors used. That's the knowledge we pass on to the trainees.
Lucy Duncan (LD): At some point you were using pesticides, and you stopped.
Don Bustos (DB): That's how our farm moved from conventional growing to certified organic. In the 1960s I was still a young lad, we were still farming naturally.
Then in 1967 an agricultural agent came by and gave my dad a bottle of liquid. I learned later that it was DDT. He mixed it with water. That year we had perfect corn, none of our corn had worms, we had a great crop. So my dad started to use it. That was the late 1960s until I started to take over in the late 70s and mid 80s. There was a period where my dad would use chemical fertilizers and insecticides, all approved by USDA and encouraged to be used.
Albuquerque Public School (APS) students are experiencing new tastes and flavors and learning a new way of eating, thanks in part to the Agri-Cultura Network. ACN is a group of New Mexico farmers providing food for students in APS schools.
Public News Service talked to AFSC’s Don Bustos about the farmers and to the schools about students’ reactions to the new tastes.
From 2009-2012, the New Mexico program of AFSC partnered with three community groups in the South Valley of Albuquerque: La Plazita Institute, e-merging communities, and Valle Encantado. AFSC provided year long training to beginning farmers selected by these community partner in organic food production for institutional buyers such as the public schools.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.