Pueblo de San Ildefonso Farm Program
P’o Who Ge Owingeh Nava Toe in’
The San Ildefonso Farm Project was designed to bring fresh, affordable produce from our fields directly into Pueblo homes. Prior to the coming of the Europeans, the Pueblo people were skilled and successful farmers. The history, tradition, and culture are tied to the land, as our people are agricultural than nomadic or herdsman. From our Elders we learned many traditional practices that were used when they were kids. We intend for the San I Farm to be self supporting and self sustaining as we continue to develop new sites and markets.
During the time of the Europeans coming, the Pueblo supplied produce to the small Spanish villages, such as the area of what we now know as Los Alamos. Our ancestors originally grew corns, beans, and squash, known as the Three Sisters. Later, they added melons, cilantro, and chili. The people practiced traditional row farming using horses and hand pushing plows. Also dry farming, a water conserving technique, called a “waffle garden”. This has been practiced and documented historically dating back to as early as ca. A.D. 125 and to as late ca. 1730.
The people of San Ildefonso migrated from Mesa Verde and the Pajarito Plateau to their present home along the Rio Grande which they have occupied for hundreds of years. Our tradition, history and culture are joined with the land and rather than being traveling herdsman. Sadly a lack of access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, with the closest market being 15+ miles away, has negatively affected the health of many residents. When asked, 95% of our people said they would increase healthy foods into their diets if they were easily accessible and affordable.
The Elders within the Pueblo were interviewed in Tewa about farming back from when they were kids and we learned various customs. From one elder, Ramos Sanchez, we learned that the people tracked the cycles of the moon, the migrations of the birds and animals, patterns in the stars and how to prepare, plant, tend, and harvest the crops. We are replicating this traditional practice with our Farm Calendar.
Starting a couple years ago with one acre, we have expanded to eight acres and assisted 17 families with plating their own fields or kitchen gardens. We also have a hoop house which was constructed as a community event. The hoop house contains starter plants for the family farms and cold weather crops which can be available year round. We have winter wheat growing, followed by alfalfa which will be baled and sold at the Farm site. When the crops are harvested, the farm workers and mentors have a Farmers Market to sell their produce to the community. It is accessible and affordable.
The crops that are available in the season are:
Corn- sweet, white and blue, Hopi Sweet Corn, San Ildefonso Melons, Pinto Beans, Zuni Gold Beans, Squash, Lemon Cucumbers, Chili- ground and whole, Radishes, Lettuce, Onions, Carrots, Green Beans, Lima Beans, Okra, Spaghetti Squash, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Gourds, Tobacco and Fresh Eggs.
The San Ildefonso Farm Project is supported by grants from:
Administration for Native Americans, ENIPC CC&D, LANL Foundation, Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Foundation, San Ildefonso Education Department
Land donated by:
Lupita Martinez, James Mountain, and the Stuart Christensen Family