The Rural Coalitions 2015 Rural Gathering in Taos, NM

Hello Readers this week in my travels I came to Taos, NM for the Rural Coalition’s 2015 Rural Gathering. I started my journey on Wednesday night on a flight from Richmond, VA to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX and then stayed in a hotel until my flight the next morning and then I flew into ABQ and caught the end of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association’s 10th Anniversary meeting. One thing I did learn about during the NLFRTA was about the amazing work that one of their member groups was doing with veterans and their amazing work through schools and universities. Then once his meeting was over we went to a farm and had lunch before driving 3 hrs. to Taos.
Once we got to Taos, we checked into the hostel me and some of the other participants were staying at and then went out to dinner at a local dinner.

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The next morning the conference started and we had it at the Taos County Economic Development Center. TCEDC was founded in 1987, by Pattie Martinson & Terrie Bad-Hand as an economic development center for First Nations, Latinos and land based workers. The first thing we did when we got to the center, we ate breakfast while everyone signed in and got settled and then we had a beautiful opening from Terrie’s daughter who said a Native American prayer. After words we heard a few words from a USDA agency before we went into our workshops of making bread and salsa. I helped make the salsa and had to wear a hairnet and an apparent. We helped Joseph who makes this salsa every week to sale at the Saturday morning Farmers Market and grew up eating this with his family with cutting up the onions, chives, cilantro and other veggies before boiling the tomatoes and putting all the other veggies together. Then the folks who were making the bread brought it outside and put it inside the outdoor clay oven. During our workshops we also found these really amazing peaches from this tree next to the oven as well as got to taste some of the salsa Joseph had pre-packaged which was delicious. Once the bread was done people took turns taking the bread out of the oven with a long stick.

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After all the morning workshops where finished we ate lunch which included the bread that we made. During lunch we heard more from some of the USDA and then did a super fun workshop with Linda Velarde and Guillermo Chavez on the history of gourds and we even got to make one. This was the best part of the whole gathering. The next was a roundtable discussion on people to people trade with the women from La Majuro Brea from El Paso, TX. The next activity was we watched Linda and Guillermo with a grandmother and her grandkids do an Aztec dance which was beautiful. Then we all got up and did a dance with the dancers before going to eat dinner.

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The next day we had the last day of the conference at the hotel some of the participants were staying in called Hotel Don Fernando. Before we went to the hotel to start the conference Saturday a group of us decided to take a side trip to the Taos Farmers Market to check it out. They had some amazing things there like breakfast burritos, people selling canned goods as well as sage, flowers and fresh fruit from various farms. We even saw Joseph from the day before who taught us how to make salsa and this old couple who were also at the conference the day before selling baked goods.

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After we finally got to the hotel the conference was in section and some veterans’ where up speaking on the work they were doing now that they were out of the service. The next person who spoke was this guy who came from a ranching community in southern Colorado and his daughter who were very nice to me the day before and I even go to talk to the daughter Esperanza who was super cool and very pretty. Her dad so I’ve been told though I missed it had some pretty uncool things to say about Native Americans and such which rubbed a few people in the room the wrong way especially Terri who after words came up and gave a speech about the hurt. Then Rudy gave a little into National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Associations and after Mily Trevino came up and gave a little speech about her work with women farmworkers. The next activity was a round table.

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The last thing we did before we all went our separate ways was have a blessing by the Rural Coalition’s founding mother’s daughter Lisa. Rural Coalitions founding mother Pat was a part of the American Indian Movement and played an important role in the creation of RC. Lisa came down to honor her mother and was asked to do a blessing. So Lisa did a traditional Ojibway water blessing where she said some prayers and then gave everyone cups and came around with some water and we each said a prayer for a person or thing. I said for all my relations and after we all drank our water. We originally were going to do this ceremony outside but were stopped by the much need rain.

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On the way back to ABQ we stopped along the way to take photos of the beauty and even found a local winery that was having wine tastings which was so fun.

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Over all this was a great conference and it was great to be able to see a different part of New Mexico and learn some cool history and great information.
Well Till Next Time Stay Informed…

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