[Market-farming] The rules don't apply; more than you might want to know about Northern New Mexico

Jennifer Albert jalbert at cybermesa.com
Tue May 3 21:25:08 EDT 2005

At 04:24 PM 5/3/2005 -0400, you wrote:
>Message: 11
>Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 15:23:45 -0400
>From: "Brigette Leach" <avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net>
>Subject: RE: [Market-farming] Thanks, everyone! Plus, my berry
>         packaging
>To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>,
>         market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
>Message-ID: <410-22005523192345750 at earthlink.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
>The overkill of regulations, permits and insurance costs isn't specific to
>New Mexico or to agriculture of any size. Far too many legislators,
>regulators, bureaucrats, etc., think that regulation and permitting will
>solve problems. Wish that were the case.IMHO it just adds cost to the
>businesses impacted and increases taxes to implement. In Michigan, we've
>worked very hard to move away from *permits* to voluntary, incentive driven
>programs and projects for agricultural producers of all sizes, and it is
>working. This approach doesn't generate inflammatory newspaper articles,
>but it does actually help producers protect soil and water resources.
>Sometimes money to implement practices is involved, sometimes protection
>from liability, sometimes a tax exemption, all around this approach helps
>to provide a more stable business environment and that benefits everyone.

Ah, Michigan! My daughter lives there and likes it a lot. It's a very 
civilized place compared to this.

Northern New Mexico is a bit different world from the rest of the US. 
Progress would mean starting from a hundreds-of-years old political 
establishment and entrenchment (and pride) in ignorance and tradition and 
racism (but probably not in the way most people would imagine).

A lot of the lobbying here comes from developers who would kill, literally, 
for the water that farmers use. We have a centuries old acequia system 
(irrigation ditches that distribute mountain runoff and river water) that 
those in power would sell out (and are trying to) if they could. Three 
cultures grappling for power here (Indians, here from the get-go; Hispanics 
(here since the 16th and 17th century); and Anglos (almost everyone 
else---including Asians and blacks---who have only been here legally since 
the mid-1800s) and the big bucks are in real-estate development (mostly 
Anglos). Then the pueblos are putting in golf courses to ensure their water 
rights, and using all the water they can pump to claim it.  We have NO 
tradition of voluntary action or self-policing incentive programs. I can't 
imagine how you'd even get started here. As a former student of theology, I 
use the metaphor that we don't do anything here on the Congregational 
model. Instead, we have popes and bishops.

I moved back here (why? Don't ask, but I am committed to being here as long 
as my parents are alive) four years ago after spending 8 years in 
Cambridge, Mass (A WORLD of difference), and there's just not the ability 
to change things here that there is in other parts of the country. I think 
it's in the water . . .

I've come to realize that the only way to go is to not pay attention to any 
regulations and hope you don't get caught. It seems to be what everyone is 
doing and expects to continue doing. If you're not willing to risk the 
consequences, you just have to hang back and do what you can legally, and 
that's where I'm more comfortable (but not necessarily financially successful).

I have a city job description from what passes for our local newspaper on 
my refrigerator. The job title is "Community Prevention Specialist."*  That 
about sums it up.

Anyhow, it's beautiful here and the climate is ideal.

Jenny in Northern New Mexico

*Actually, the job turns out to be a drug-prevention position. This is the 
black-tar heroin capital of the US.

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