$2,500 winner

School: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Master’s candidate in Environmental Studies

The practice of agriculture is vital for the maintenance of northern New Mexico’s unique culture and ecology. Agriculture IS culture, especially for those with long family histories in the region. Just as important is what culture does for agriculture: the continuous farming heritage of the region has created a situated ecological knowledge, which ensures the appropriate management of land and water. If farming is no longer practiced, farmland will be developed or lose its water rights and fall fallow. My primary concerns are the ecology and culture of northern New Mexico, but small-scale agriculture also affects the local economy, community health, and reduces the overall environmental impact of supplying food to the region. It is thus imperative that we look for ways to support it.

…A happy and healthy world is one in which everyone who wants to is empowered to grow food; where land and water are preserved for future generations; where communities have access to locally grown produce, especially culturally-specific foods; where farmers are valued and respected; and where everyone feels a love for and a connction to the land. Preserving small-scale agriculture in northern New Mexico will guarantee that this is the case, if only in one small corner of the world.”