As I write this blog, I am currently at the tail end of a major road trip that, over the course of 18 days, has taken me to the American Southwest, the Midwest and the plains of South Dakota. So, I decided that this blog will focus not on mapping the assets of my community but on assets which I found to be integral to the various communities I visited. Obviously, I have selected only a few highlights of the great magnitude of community assets I observed over the course of this trip. I also want to thank Pati Martinson and Terri Badhand from Taos County Economic Development Corporation, OC intern Tiana Suazo and family, Steve Hernandez and staff at Oyate Teca, Sandy Hicks at Arnold Economic Development Corp., Tom and Sheryl Giessel of Larned, Kansas and especially Darryl Birkenfeld for making this trip a memorable one. Though this trip included several stops, I will focus the blog on my trip to Taos, New Mexico.
The American Southwest
Taos, New Mexico
In Taos, I saw amazing work being done to ensure that a vibrant food shed is being maintained in this city. I was truly inspired by the farm stand program that the Taos Economic Development Corporation has created in which items are purchased from mostly native producers on consignment and then sold at reduced rates to the general public. Though I did not get a chance to see it in action, the USDA certified mobile “matanza”, a Spanish word meaning slaughterhouse allows for small scale producers to have their livestock slaughtered more conveniently. Both of these examples show a strong support system for maintaining adequate food access in the Taos community. Upon looking around Taos, I also observed that other assets of the commonwealth were also present; the mountains of Taos create a sense of place not only in the native community but also in those who take part in the ski tourism industry of Taos. Interestingly, despite the city of Taos’ commitment to providing visitors with ample opportunities for leisure and recreation through the ski resorts and art galleries, it was interesting to know that local food systems and community development work dealing with food can also take place in the same city.
One of many galleries near the plaza in Taos, New Mexico
Looking at my own city, seeing what is currently happening in Taos gives me hope in that despite a major push for more industry and job description, hard work and dedication can still also be put towards successfully establishing a community food system that is just in Seguin. If you are interested in reading more about other community assets I observed while in the other cities, please keep a look out on my facebook site soon.