Several weeks before we left, I had contacted Growing Awareness Urban Farms
in Albuquerque to arrange for a visit. So the next day, we started our way north to the big city to find the place. Scattered across a street is a group of buildings that comprise the East Christian Ministries and the GAU Farm. They acquired the rundown and almost condemned buildings to restore and turn into a community center for people in the area.
Morgan, the manager for the farm, took us on a tour and I videoed an interview. Behind one building is a garden for produce and herbs, a large composting area (both bin and worm (vermi-)composting), several greenhouses, a chicken coop and run, and a bee apiary.
Particularly off interest for me was the ollas; unglazed clay jugs that are used for irrigation. The jugs are buried in the garden soil with only the top of the neck exposed, filled with water, and capped with a stone. Water then diffuses out of the clay jug and into the surrounding soil, thus irrigating the plant roots. This technique has been used by many indigenous peoples in the southwest and Mexico for eons.
At the Urban Farm, they make ollas and sell them, teaching people how to use them. We bought four of their rejects (slight blemishes) that we will try out in our own desert garden. When I have time, I will coordinate the video clips into a final video of the Farm.
Since we had time and we were already in Albuquerque, I suggested we visit the Acoma pueblo, which I had read about. So off we went, west on I-40, gratefully fleeing the city (which is like any other city). Shortly after we turned south, we were on Acoma reservation land. And every vehicle that passed us -from truck, car and even buses- waved to us. It was refreshing to see how friendly people are there.
We arrived at the visitor center and museum in time to take the last tour of the day to the Acoma ancient pueblo; the Sky City
. The pueblo is about 600 or more years old and is built on top of a mesa, 375 feet above the floor of the desert. One road, which was built in the late 1950's, winds up to the top. Before that, a foot stair way carved into the side of the mesa was the only access to and from the pueblo. All their water and food had to be carried up.