Mission Statement: To continue, revive, and protect our native seeds, crops, heritage fruits, animals, wild plants, traditions, and knowledge of our indigenous, land- and acequia- based communities in New Mexico for the purpose of maintaining and continuing our culture and resisting the global, industrialized food system that can corrupt our health, freedom, and culture through inappropriate food production and genetic engineering. Overview On March 10 and 11, 2006 a Traditional Agriculture Conference was held in Alcalde, New Mexico. Dozens of people from the greater region of many backgrounds were in attendance to participate in a seed exchange ceremony and signing of a Seed Sovereignty Declaration (click here to open). This Declaration was drafted by members of the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association (TNAFA) and the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) who are the core of the New Mexico Food & Seed Sovereignty Alliance. The Alliance was then strengthened by the participation of Tewa Women United and Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE). After the signing of the original Declaration, supporting Resolutions have been passed by Tesuque Pueblo, Pojoaque Pueblo, the All Indian Pueblo Council, and Eight Northern Pueblos. The Pueblos supported the Declaration recognizing the importance of protecting their ancestral and spiritual connection to maize free from genetic engineering (GE) corruption. To honor these accomplishments and educate the greater community, a Symposium for Sustainable Food & Seed Sovereignty was held at Tesuque Pueblo in October 2006. This effort was collaboratively organized and produced by the Tesuque Pueblo/Agricultural Resources Department, the Community Food Project of the Pueblo of Pojoaque, and several supporting organizations. The Counties of Santa Fe and Rio Arriba have also passed Resolutions supporting the original Declaration.
In addition, the Alliance was successful in passing Senate Joint Memorial 38 and House Memorial 84 in the 2007 State of New Mexico Legislature, a Memorial that recognizes the importance of indigenous agricultural and native seeds to the food security of New Mexico as well as recognizing farmers’ rights to keep their seeds free from GE contamination. Shortly thereafter, members of the New Mexico Food & Seed Sovereignty Alliance were invited to the Slow Food Conference in Turin, Italy as part of the North American Native American Delegation to present on their efforts and collaborate internationally on this issue. The Alliance is currently collaborating with the Anishinabe and Winona LaDuke in the protection of their Wild Rice from GE, as well as the Association for Hawaiian ‘Awa in the protection of their Taro from GE. In May 2008 language from the Declaration was included at the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany as Louie Hena from Tesuque Pueblo was invited to represent the International Indigenous and Local Communities. The Alliance was surprised at the introduction and passing of Senate Bill 60 of the 2008 Legislature, which calls for funding ($1 million over four years) to NMSU for research into the mechanization and genetic engineering of chile production. The Alliance has repeatedly tried to engage the entities of NMSU for dialogue around our concerns for this issue but to date there has been no response. The Alliance is currently exploring ways to increase the amount of agriculture in cultivation with native seeds. This goal includes finding resources to support farmers’ efforts to increase their production, creating opportunities for direct marketing of native foods (from native seed) from local farmer to local institution, and protecting native seeds from contamination by genetic engineering.