Alphonso Rincón serves Ogallala Commons as one of our Board of Directors and in many other capacities. He has a background that is rich and fascinating, and makes him an incredible asset to our organization. To read a small summary of his background and experience, visit his profile on our Board of Directors Page. We recently asked Alphonso to share about his experience and time with OC. He had so much to say that we decided to share it in two parts. In this first post of the series, Alphonso will recount his first experience with OC, his current roles of service to our organization, and a little about his own organization, Fathers Active in Communities & Education.
Alphonso first became connected with OC in 2012-2013 when his son, Alberto “Beto” Rincón, told him about this organization. Beto was interested in the field of sustainable food systems and food justice, and was working on his master’s in food studies. He eventually became an OC intern based in Seguin co-sponsored by the LULAC Council 682 Foundation, which had initiated a community garden.
After learning about Beto’s interest in programs involving sustainable agriculture and communities, plus that LULAC 682 had started a community garden and was collaborating with OC, Alphonso became very excited about Beto’s career interests. Beto’s partnership with both organizations allowed Alphonso to reconnect with the LULAC 682 leadership (some of whose current officers had been his colleagues in the 1990s) and to see a growing ray of hope that small farms, micro-farms, rooftop farms, urban farmettes, corner gardens, and even farms-in-a-can can play a major role in the food and environmental sustainability of our communities. Alphonso knew right away that he wanted to learn more about OC and its mission.
Alphonso then attended an OC orientation with Beto in Talon’s Point early in 2013. The training sessions helped to reframe his experience of West Texas — where several of my family members had settled out of the annual migrant stream during the 1950s — as an ecosystem in peril that required the kind of attention inspired and lead by OC.
This initial experience led to a deep connection between Alphonso and OC. He has served our organization in several different roles and capacities. Some of these include:
- Interested observer and or participant of a variety of OC activities
- Meeting, encouraging and learning from interns representing the various OC communities
- “Unofficial” or “volunteer” photographer of OC orientation (2013) and of OC intern/internship activities in South Central Texas: Beto in Seguin and Katie Tritsch in Gonzales.
- Social media: LULAC Community Garden and personal/FACE administrator who posts, as time permits, photos and content either directly or indirectly promoting the role/mission of OC in South Central Texas, which is beyond the borders of the Ogallala Aquifer. To a much lesser degree, promoting OC through Twitter.
- OC board secretary and related activities and duties
- Ambassador of OC’s work/mission
- Becoming a better student of the Ogallala Acquifer and the issues it addresses and/or raises into a community’s or individual’s awareness
- Cooperating with OC staff who request documentation
- Graphics/publicity design and coordinating with printer for OC-related activity
- Deepening his knowledge and appreciation of the culture of the “commons” to reframe and impact current norteamericano society and agriculture as well as the human footprint, globally and surrounding solar system.
When we asked Alphonso what he most enjoys about his work with OC, this is what he had to say:
“The work I most enjoy about Ogallala Commons is, first of all, is not work at all. It’s a fascinating journey of discovery about how man’s relationship and place in the cosmos can be reframed by the principles of a commons that will yield leadership visions and practices that promote and realize sustainable communities and ecosystems.”
A regional FACE event consisting of fathers and middle school students from several South TX districts engaged in the construction and testing of classroom-size wind turbines.
One of the greatest pieces of Alphonso’s involvement with Ogallala Commons is the overlap it has had with his organization, Fathers Active in Communities & Education (FACE). Alphonso founded FACE in 2003 with a mission to “build communities of fathers to transform education and civic life.” FACE believes that fathers, as a group, represent a layer of potential social capital, that is essential to the healthy development of all children and youth in a community or society. FACE works to design activities that are both playful/fun but also full of character and academic-building skills (college and career readiness). These activities serve to bond children with their own and other dads, bond dads with other dads and their children, acclimate and connect the culture of grown men to the turf of children/youth, and very often impacts dads enough to where they reframe their vital role in the healthy development and education of children and youth and their loyalty to such things as work-related obligations.
Just as OC promotes the commons, such as air and water as being a common resource for society and sustainable communities, FACE promotes the commons as children being a common asset, joy, and necessity for all fathers in the community — and for the sustainability of the community itself — and not just of the father who co-created them.
We’re grateful for Alphonso’s involvement with OC and the work that he does with FACE. We look forward to sharing more about Alphonso’s efforts with OC in our next post!