By COURTENEY HANDY
One of the major programs at IAIA, the land grant programs, was established through the 1994 Land Grant & Equity Act. The land grant programs provide education, teaching, and technical assistance regarding farming for students, faculty, staff, and farmers.
The mission of this group is to inform others about Western medicine and traditional teaching methods, said Charlene Carr, director of the land grant programs.
The Land Grant wants to help individuals grow food economically, grow food for profit, and help individuals develop skills to produce crops.
Carr has worked on and off the IAIA campus to help promote their three methods of having a healthy Native community: teaching, research, and outreach.
Carr said, “The land grant outreach programs provides workshops, training, tours of successful lands, farm demonstrations, any education to anyone who wants to learn how to grow plants.”
Goals and Services
The IAIA land grant programs have many priorities and set out to accomplish five things.
- Strengthen IAIA land grant programs operations to effectively provide extension and outreach services to meet the agricultural needs of New Mexico’s tribal communities
- Strengthen crop production programs and services
- Strengthen youth programming
- Develop small agricultural business programs
- Develop health and wellness programs
The Land Grant promotes teaching students on campus to grow and harvest their own food that could be found back home and help with cultural needs.
In the winter season, there are productions of food on campus. The campus gardener, Teresa Quintana, provides cool season plants and seeds that can withstand cold temperatures like lettuce, greens, and carrots to produce food in winter.
The community garden and the Land Grant use raised beds and hoop houses (which keep the cold air out and moisture in) to help with the gardening.
IAIA offers two different four-credit courses designed towards agriculture taught by professors Thomas Antonio and Louis Ellis.
Antonio teaches an ethnobotany course that specializes in teaching about local plants, their properties, and how they may be used either traditionally or with Western styles.
Ellis focuses on nutrition. The indigenous foods course teaches about nutrition and how one can eat healthily. Both classes are offered every spring and fall semester.
THE RESEARCH PROGRAM
“Since 2014 we’ve had over fourteen students successfully complete the research program,” Carr said. “It’s a dedicated project that teaches students how to present their work via powerpoint, and to propose a research proposal on agriculture.
The greenhouse facility on campus provides the education and research needed for the students as the greenhouse is dedicated to production, agricultural education for students, and for the use of Bon Appetit’s food service, Carr said.
The outreach program encourages and educates students on how to grow produce that could be found in New Mexico tribal communities and demonstrates how students could use them back in their tribal community.
The program also works with farmers and ranchers to inform them on how to better their crops, land, and soil.
“We coordinate with New Mexico State University to provide outreach to New Mexico farmers and ranchers,” Carr said. If a farmer needs to test their soil, we collect a sample, and analyzed results indicate if the soil is healthy or not.”
The Land Grant is here to stay and to help the IAIA campus.
For Native American Heritage month, the Land Grant promoted events and cultural activities for students on campus such as Rock your Mocs Walk, in which individuals walked in the dance circle in respect to the November-December Hopi cycle, which is a time of quiet, and Pueblo belt weaving that taught individuals how to make belts.
The land grant programs office is upstairs in the Center for Lifelong Education.
(Featured photo courtesy of Charlene Carr)
Updated with corrections Dec. 13.