On October 12, 2021 thirty-five people braved the cold weather to attend the Chispas Farm Field Day in conjunction with the 2021 REGENERATE Conference. Certified Educator and rangeland consultant Kirk Gadzia, Chispas Farm Owner and all around badass, Casey Holland and a stellar lineup of other practitioners and speakers explored regenerative and Holistic Management practices to create a successful and scalable urban farm business.
The day began with a short overview of Holistic Management led by Kirk Gadzia followed by a brief history of Chispas Farm by Farm Owner Casey Holland and Farmer Reyna Banteah. Chispas Farm is a 4 acre farm located in Albuquerque’s South Valley on occupied Tiwa land. They grow over 120 varieties of heirloom vegetables and fruits, have 100 laying hens for eggs, and also keep sheep, goats, and ducks. They are currently transitioning the farm to no-till agricultural practices and strive for a regenerative and sustainable closed loop cycle. They save a variety of seeds, have perennial pasture for their livestock to graze and be happy, their primary method of pest management is adequate crop rotation and planting lots of flowers for beneficial insects, and soil health is their number one priority. Chispas Farm was founded in 2001 and since then has grown and evolved much over the last two decades. Casey Holland has been running Chispas since 2017.
Kirk presented on Holistic Goal setting and how it is useful when managing land. Folx were walked through the Holistic Goal Worksheet and were given the opportunity to start working on their own Holistic Goal while others shared their goals with the group. Melanie Kirby of Zia Queen Bees presented on beneficial pollinators and how to support them. She brought a number of props to share with the group including a portable viewing hive with real bees!
The group enjoyed a lunch catered by Three Sisters Kitchen, an incredible local non-profit community food space in the heart of downtown Albuquerque where delicious, affordable, and locally produced foods come together to nourish the community from the ground up. The lunch featured produce from Chispas Farm!
After lunch Casey and Kirk lead a tour around the farm, pointing out and discussing different enterprises, land management techniques, cover cropping practices, water management trials and errors, and how they all impact soil health.
The day concluded with a Local Young Producer Panel of Reyna Banteah, Sage Hogan (owner and farmer at Tierra Sagrada Farm), and Casey Holland.
Thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their support of this event!
Attendees reported the most useful things they learned at the event:
- “The importance of cover crops and other techniques for restoring and maintaining soil health”
- “Learning about the many different organizations & local groups involved in sustainable/restorative ag.”
- “Integrating animals, esp. for me bees!! More variety of cover crops. Relaxed seasonality; over planting and enjoying everything that appears. Also getting ideas for planting succession pairings e.g. garlic then sweet potatoes.”
- “Goats escape, plant perennials, check your flood areas”
- “Making use of diversified space, Integrating multi-use function approaches”
- “That it’s possible to have diverse operation that can pay it’s farmers and still regenerate the land even on smaller acreage”
- “Regional specific market garden advice”
- “Increasing organic matter of soil”
- “More info about pollinators and BIPOC farming community”
- “Ideas to help set Holistic Goals for our farm space. Using nature to help determine courses of action.”
|Did you expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available?||100%|
|Overall satisfaction of the field day:||100%|
|Would you recommend this field day to others?||100%|
|Do you intend to change management practices or apply ideas you learned during this field day?||100%|