Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 138-acre farm is owned by the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division. The City acquired the land in 1995 after a two-year campaign to preserve this last remaining parcel of farmland in the North Valley. Recognizing the value to the community of maintaining this agricultural space, the City passed a two-year ¼ cent sales tax to provide funds for its acquisition. RGCF was founded in 1997 and undertook management of the farm.
The Farm holds a special place in the history of Albuquerque. It occupies the original site of Los Poblanos, one of the earliest Spanish Colonial settlements in the Rio Grande Valley. It is, in fact, a living link in an agricultural heritage that extends over 1700 years, making it among the oldest parcels of continually farmed land in the United States. Years of hard work have transformed the neglected land into community gardens, wildlife habitat, and certified organic croplands. These provide educational experiences, community service projects, recreation and entertainment to a broad segment of our population while honoring our history and protecting the environment. Recent studies have shown that agricultural lands contribute significantly to recharging Albuquerque’s aquifer. As our population grows and as water becomes more scarce, it becomes increasingly important to preserve agricultural lands in order to safeguard our quality of life.
RGCF is an agricultural jewel in the center of our city. Open to all, the Farm provides city dwellers with rural experiences: growing food for their families or for needy members of the community, learning about agriculture and the area’s history, observing wildlife, walking the historic acequias, and participating in annual events such as the Maize Maze and Harvest Festivals. The organic farm is a model for teaching methods of sustainable, organic agriculture.
Service learning programs bring over 1,000 visitors to RGCF each year. School, social, church, and corporate groups gain an educational experience and contribute service to the community. There are activities for all age groups. Many children have never been on a farm. They enjoy listening to the sounds of birdsong and flowing water while learning how food is produced. Some even grow a garden of their own. Teenagers and adults contribute to the community by growing and harvesting food that is distributed to food banks or shelters.
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